How Do You Study Grooves?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by YFCBanana, Apr 16, 2014.

  1. YFCBanana


    Jun 14, 2013
    Hello everyone.

    I am going through some groove books right now and Id like to hear how do you approach this books and how do you study them.

    For example I try for every groove to see how its build around its chord and then I play the groove on every key (I start from the key that is on book and then i go on following the circle of 5ths until i get back to the starting key)
  2. I did the same with Ed's Bass Grooves and then realized I missed the point. The groove does not come from the notes -- the groove comes from the rhythm. Yes, the notes can be specific to certain styles of music. But the thing that makes you groove is locking with the kick drum and playing those notes to the drum's rhythm. If he goes boom, boom, de boom. You play your groove notes boom, boom. de boom.

    After you know that the tramp groove R-5-8-5-8 will fit with this specific song to groove it you gotta lock those notes to the drummer's beat. The actual notes are just half of the story.

    That was a very large WOW for me and I now practice with a drum track in my ear. That is not exactly what I do, I practice the song's chord progressions listening to an Internet video of the song. Working out what bass line I'll use and where. I then put the songs I'm working on aside and dial in my handy dandy drum track and practice different rhythm tacks. Why? I have no idea what the drummer will do on this specific song till we get together. He may not go boom, boom, de boom and I have to be ready for what ever comes.

    With drum track practice it's coming together and new doors are opening.

    Good luck.
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2014
  3. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    You can't learn groove from a book. I developed different grooves by playing along with music that has a groove. That's the best way.
  4. lyla1953


    Jul 18, 2012
    I have this book as well but not started it yet...In reading through it, Ed (Friedland) provides drum machine programing patterns to play along with. I have a little DR 880 but programing it is kind of a pain and takes time. Since the machine has about a billion preprogramed drum patterns (with a catalog of the programs in the manual) I was thinking about skipping Eds patterns and just using the preprogramed stuff already in the machine. Malcolm, how did you handle the drum machine part when you went through this book?
    p.s. I've not listened to the CD yet - are the drum patters on the CD?
  5. YFCBanana


    Jun 14, 2013
    Hmmm so I have to focus more on the way the groove approach the drums than the chords
  6. First time through it I concentrated on the notes, R-3-5-3, etc. and really did not get involved with the CD. My first mistake. In fact I put the book aside as it did not help me with what I thought I needed.

    Several months went by and I saw a video that said I was to lock in with the kick drum - yes I knew that, but, this time the video told me how to lock in. I was locked in with the bpm, but not with the "de boom" part. I did not get the point of how to groove until I saw that video. Going back over Ed's book the second time focusing on both the notes and the groove it all fell into place. Sorry I can not find that video, I've looked for it and it's just not coming up.

    My drummer and I are working together now. In talking to him he said it is not necessary that I hit every de boom, but, being aware of the feel of the groove does help.

    Good luck.
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2014
  7. Kmrumedy


    May 12, 2004
    Montreal, Canada
    I take a drum track and play the same groove without variation for 20 minutes. You would be amazed at what happens to your playing.
  8. tangentmusic

    tangentmusic A figment of our exaggeration

    Aug 17, 2007
    Agreed. Groove is something you feel. The vibe of the tune. Listen, learn, feel, do. No book learnin'.
  9. Rockin Mike

    Rockin Mike

    May 27, 2011
    IMO there is a "macro" groove and a "micro" groove. You need both.

    Practice with headphones and a drum machine, also with recordings because human grooves aren't the same as machines. Concentrate on landing each note -exactly- with the drums until you learn what "perfect" sync sounds like. This is your micro groove. Accurate timing on the tenth-of-a-second level or better.

    Now take off your bass and just listen to the song, tapping the 1 of every measure on the table or whatever. Mute the song for a few seconds and keep tapping. If you're still in sync when you unmute, you are getting the macro groove. Accurate timing on the multiple-second level or better.

    Both are important. If you can get the macro groove in your bones by experience (dancing while playing helps) then you can learn to focus on the micro-timing without losing your macro groove.

    When playing with a band learn to place your attention where it's needed. Sometimes you keep both ears on your own bass. More often you keep one ear on yourself and one ear on the drums. Sometimes open it up and listen to the band as a whole.

    I sometimes visualize a big slow wheel and a little fast wheel turning as I'm playing. I don't know if that would help anybody else.
  10. Rev J

    Rev J

    Jun 14, 2012
    Berkeley, Ca.
    It depends on the type of groove. I got a copy of The Collectives "Afro Carribean Brazilian Bass Grooves" book and programmed all of the drum parts into my drum machine. But I also programmed in all of the clave types. Before I try to lock in with the full drum track I play the groove with just the clave and try to figure out how the bass line relates to the clave.

    Rev J
  11. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny

    Nov 20, 2000
    Here's one very good explanation as to why it doesn't live in a book. If you have too short an attention span to watch the whole thing jump in at around 12:40. You really should check out the whole thing though.
  12. LedReign


    Feb 17, 2014
    Seattle, WA
    not with a book. that's for sure

    play music. make your own grooves
    Lownote38 likes this.
  13. Gonna take a leaf out of Jeff Berlin's book here (dont shoot me!). We can not 'develop' groove per se. We can possibly better express it through the bass guitar once we are confident in how we play it. Groove, as in the rhythm of the line, not necessarily the note choices, is something that we all can express.

    Best way to practice? A drum machine or a backing track. Gives you the freedom which might be restricted by exercises or other peoples lines.
  14. The key for me is to always start out slow - at a tempo that allows me to manage the notes properly while still maintaining a good sense of timing and gradually increase the speed. I used to be in the bad habit of rushing through a line (grooves, phrases, riffs...whatever) purely for the sake of the notes without paying attention to how they would fit into a musical context. Once I've done enough work to be comfortably up to speed, then I try to play along with the CD and do it over and over.

    I'm also fortunate enough to have a couple of solid drummers to play with in church, which also helps me develop a good sense of timing and groove.
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2014
  15. AndrewFord


    Aug 11, 2012
    Los Angeles area
    Endorsing Artist: Line 6, TC Electronics, Yamaha, Elixir Strings
    One way that has helped me tackle so many different grooves is first, with focused listening. Give your undivided attention to the subtleties of the bass lines, this will most likely take a lot of listening to do it right. You have to be honest and not tell yourself that "I've got it" if you only have most of the notes or the basic feel. Then the next step once you really do feel like you have it is either programming a drum pattern like the groove you are practicing, this can also take some work to get the drums to feel the correct way, you may be better off with a loop played by a live drummer. The other thing you can do is take the mp3 you have been listening and practicing to and remove the bass frequencies so that you now become the bass player with the rhythm section from the mp3
  16. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    I don't think Jeff would agree with practicing grooves with a drum machine. He would most likely say that practicing with a real drummer would be better (and I would say I agree).
  17. BassChuck

    BassChuck Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    While I agree that you can't 'learn' groove from a book, I'll have to say you can't groove if your technique is faulty or you don't know what notes make up the style you're playing, or you have to think about what you are doing to play the line. So..... yea, a book will show you what's needed, what's possible and where to go to play a certain style. Once you've got that in you mind and under your fingers, then the energy that makes music can take over...AKA groove. In other words, the most soulful non-bass playing musician (whomever that might be) isn't going to groove for s^#t the first day they pick up a bass.
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