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How does it work without a drummer in the band?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Yuulie, Nov 22, 2012.

  1. Yuulie


    Nov 21, 2012
    Hi everyone,

    so how useful is it anyways to play bass (for a song or in a set) if there is no drummer? No percussionist?

    Other instruments are keyboard, sometimes electric guitar and always acoustic guitar.

    I usually think it's pointless to play, because the keys can fill in the low end. Without the percussion sounds of the drums, bass sounds so soft and ... naked ...

    Or if you would play, how does the technique / style change? How would I need to adapt to the situation?

    Thanks very much!
  2. Playing together is always useful IMHO

    Maybe you could try to fill some parts of drums or percussion with some pop and slap
    Let the bass parts being taken care of by the keyboard

    But that is just my thought: your music, your choice!
  3. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    When playing with no drummer the bass becomes the entire rhythm section.
  4. xpraise


    Mar 12, 2009
    I use to play without drummer occasionaly as our drummer goes to other city for work sometimes. In this case I just put more attention to rhytmical aspect of my bass playing rather than harmonical, so trying to compensate drums absense.

    It's a bit more harder to get that groove feeling without drums but Your metronome home excersises will show up )))
  5. kevteop


    Feb 12, 2008
    York, UK
    I would take a double bass to a gig like that, and probably play more off the vocal than anything else. Assuming there is a voice.
  6. 4dog


    Aug 18, 2012
    Thats when that tap to the strings to get that thud you do in practice comes into play,, little bit of a snare pop,, the one with the right hand over the pups ,, did it for three full years twice a week ,, was very effective.
  7. davidjackson


    Sep 10, 2011
    This is how slap bass was born. Search for some YouTube interviews with Larry Graham. You might not decide to go for the full on funky thumping but you do need to start thinking about the instrument as the full rhythm section as lowfreq33 has pointed out.
  8. Clef_de_fa


    Dec 25, 2011
    I played a lot without a drummer and I find it liberating, you don't have to lock with the drummer or feel any pressur to do it so I play more melodic. And in your case you have an acoustic guitar whom may play a lot of rythm with chords and a keyboard player who seems to play low a lot so I would sweat it and play more melodic.
  9. Like this

  10. And it's a great challenge!
  11. Art Araya

    Art Araya

    May 29, 2006
    Palm Coast, FL
    that was horrible! lol
  12. Watch some YouTube videos on folk, old time, and bluegrass. They may not be your kind of music but you can learn a lot from how they play with out a drummer.
  13. sensei_steve

    sensei_steve Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2009
    Reisterstown, MD
    I've done it for years. I understand the OP "feeling naked". There is no place to hide. Playing without a drummer has helped my "notes." Now i have more usuable arpeggios, melodies and touch.
  14. Jhengsman


    Oct 17, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    You may as well ask why a band at all and not just a piano bar.

    Last week in another tread there was a discussion about the untrained drummers and the need for shields. This may transform into classically trained pianist who don't know how to play with a band. It is more a band dynamics question and leaving space for everybody's unique contribution.

    Holly Cole Trio, I Can See Clearly Now
  15. Januszak


    Oct 31, 2012
    There's a good Tal Farlow album called the Swinging Guitar of Tal Farlow. Check that out.
  16. Itzayana


    Aug 15, 2012
    Oakland Ca
    True but maybe not the entire rhythm section.

    I often play duo gigs with just the guitar player from my band.
    I see both guitar and bass as being percussion instruments.
    The guitarists picking technique takes the place of the snare and hi-hat and the bass guitar takes the place of the bass drum.
    The vocals on top provide the melody.
    We can create an amazingly complete sound due to the fact that the mind/imagination of the listener fills in the rest.
  17. Schmorgy


    Jul 2, 2012
    I've seen some coffee-shop esque singer/songwriter duets work with just an acoustic guitar and bass, or add in a piano. The bassist would either occupy the bottom end, or he would play more percussive notes in a more rhythmic fashion.
  18. mpdd

    mpdd neoconceptualist

    Mar 24, 2010
    i've had good luck with harmonics and dead notes in those situations
  19. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    When I jam on bass at home, just me, I can get a groove going that includes more than just the note. The feel of the groove comes through in all the other things I do, muffling, stopping or not stopping the note, flopping my hand on the strings (not slap), spaces, etc. Basically, it's me just feeling the song. Maybe it's because I spent some years as a pro guitarist. Guitar is good for feeling rhythms. So is bass. I don't mean that my bass playing sounds busy, I just mean that there are lots of little things going on as far as how the player articulates. Articulation is everything.
  20. conqr


    Feb 16, 2009
    ditto ditto ditto ditto - did it for years at church - you learn to 'Wootenize' up your playing a bit.