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How do you remember changes?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by bullshark, Sep 27, 2008.

  1. Say, as example, you've got a 2 bars pattern to play for twelve bars, how do you know the 12 bars is done and it's time for the change?

    I tried counting, not good as it remove all feel from my playing.

    So I rely on the singer, but sometime we practice and the singer's not there. So I end up messing up.

    Tried singing the song (as in lyrics)in my head, not good as I can't do 2 things at once and my bass playing suffers when I do that.

    So, I have the music sheet hidden somewhere, but reading really diminishes my interaction with the other musicians, not too mention that if I'm distracted for half a second, I loose where I'm at on the sheet and then I'm done for.

    So, how do you do it?
  2. seriously I just FEEL it out... I should probably count more when I play, but honestly I find it easy to just develop a natural sense of "time" i suppose... just try to feel it out.. I cannot explain it. just KEEP practicing the song.
  3. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    There's no magic.
    Whatever works.
    Try practicing with the lyrics or counting a few hundred times.
    You'll get it.
    What does the drummer do? Maybe you can work with him/her.

    edit: Play the same note on the "1" and count.
  4. KPAX

    KPAX Banned

    Mar 22, 2005
    Get a sense of the song's structure. Learn the song and its sequence/layout mentally - before/as you learn it on your instrument. Don't cue off other guys - you should know. That's not to say if your singer comes in early you don't go with him - you should, to save the song - but you should know where the band is at in the song. Be certain but also flexible and aware.

  5. My "feel" must be messed up because I mess up every other song when I rely on feel only. Wouldn't be such a problem if I was playing something other than bass, I've noticed the others are messing up here and there also and they just get back on on the next bar, but when I mess up the whole thing suddenly grind to a halt, no time to recover.
  6. It's worth noting that when we say "rely on feel" that we're NOT saying "turn your brain completely off". You're going to have to learn to count and play and sound natural at the same time.

    Do this: you mentioned 12 bars, so I'm going to assume you're used to playing blues progressions. Listen to a recording of a good simple blues tune and count bars as they go by. Make sure you get to 12 every time they turn the song around. Yes, this seems mind-numbingly simple, but you would be shocked at how many people can't do this as well as they think.

    The point here is to get you used to counting when you DON'T have your bass in your hands. When this seems natural, grab your bass and see if it has had a positive effect.
  7. atauntaun


    Sep 14, 2008
    Alameda, CA
    Endorser Jule Amps Monique
    + 1 for feel and listen. The more you listen to all of your band mates the more you will notice things that tend to happen before a change. The singer is the easiest to listen too, but you notice things other players in the band tend to do at certain parts of a song.
    I'm not sure how long you have been playing, but I found at a certain point, it becomes second nature. Some how my brain knows when a change is coming, like it's keeping count with out me. On songs that I am having a hard time with I mentally break my lines into 1 bar sections and pay attention to what I am playing and that seems help, but most importantly listen.
  8. repetition. Until you get it down from playing it 10,100,1000 times use whatever method you can. Usually vocals will clue us in but in instrumental parts we've used a good technique in the past. While learning the song, the singer (me) will count the number of times the part has been played over the PA. For instance, i would say "one" after the riff was played once, "two" after two times, etc. On the last one you can even say "ok change coming up" or something. That way you can concentrate on the riff and not trying to count. Obviously once we learn it we stop the counting. This works well for us because a lot of our riffs are off time and played 2, 3, or 5 times instead of 4 and often alternating between another riff being played an odd number of times.
  9. I've asked the drummer(she's new), have only played once with her so far and she gets all the changes right on the songs we do. She says she sings the song in her head, which made me try but it doesn't work for me. Tried taking cues from her so if I come in early or late I recover withing the same bar, unfortunately even that's too much, when that happens they all stop and look at me like as if I'd let go a fat stinker. Kind of embarrassing.

    Some good suggestions in this thread, thanks guys.
  10. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I build and modify basses
    Use the right side of your brain.

    The left side is the side that counts and reads music.

    The right side is the creative side that feels the music.

    So use the right side of your brain.
  11. Jornan


    Jun 30, 2008
    Second that! I hate to count myself, so I think I've developed some kind of feeling :p I just play sometimes, and tries to listen to the other instruments (not only the singer). Then I just know when to change.
  12. gregh


    Sep 15, 2008
    If it is a fairly regular song then once you know it you won't have to count. Until then there are the methods everyone is recommending. But also this is a place where reading music helps - but you can make up your own notation system. if all you want to do is keep track of how many bars or beats then that is all you have to notate. I have used systems where a vertical line is made for every beat and the first beat of the bar I put a round circle on top of the vertical line, - very handy for changing odd meters - or maybe a dash for the bar division. try making something up that suits you.
  13. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    Practice with singing the lyrics at home a few hundred (thousand) times. Then tell TB "it doesn't work for me".

    Same with counting....1234, 2234,3234,4234,5234, etc.

    Again, there's no magic to this. Sure, some guys "feel" it more than others but you have to do something that you can get to "work" now. I mean, how many choices are there: lyrics, counting, sheet music, feel? You've tried them all and they haven't worked. Maybe designing a visual metronome that can be activated with a foot switch that will count measures for you might be the way to go.

    Here's a metronome that may help.
    You can limit the beats to the number of measures you need. Set it to 12 measures at the tempo you want. Practice with it until you get it down.

    Or maybe become a guitar player so you can solo until the rest of the band makes that change for you.
  14. Jornan


    Jun 30, 2008
    I would say that to listen to other players are as good or even better than the choices above. Of course, this requires that some of the other instruments play anything different at some point. Anyway, for instance if you play something 12 times, but the guitar changes after 8 times, then you only need to hear that change, and then count 4 instead of all the 12.
  15. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    Maybe the drummer can do a simple fill before the change. And do it that way each time.
  16. Hey, that works :hyper:
    I could count the beat, but was always losing track of the bars unless I concentrated enough on counting that I lost the feel, but counting that way is easy. Thanks.
  17. you can always try and ask the drummer to synch up some kind of roll or deviation to let you guys know its the 12th time or not.

    What I usually do (since our drummer is a bit of a rookie), is do a variation every other time I play the bar or maybe every 4th time i play the bar depending on how many times we repeat. Instead of counting 12 times over, do a variation every 4 times you play the same bar, you'll be counting to 3 instead of to 12 which is much easier =)

    I wouldn't feel too bad about not staying together well when there isn't a singer, the point of a band is holding each other up and helping each other stay constant and fluid through the song. It's nothing to be ashamed of, if you ask me.

    If you were trying to be a session artist and had the same problem, that'd be a bit different lol
  18. dr_love2112


    May 28, 2005
    baytown texas
    if you have to just "feel it out" thats what i do
  19. I think that what they are saying is that most players sort of feel the changes and when they should come. If you don't feel it yet then you have to count. In time you'll feel it and counting won't be necessary. But, one way or another you've got to change in the right places.
  20. Practice feeling it.

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