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How To Keep In Time And Relax?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Funk$tar, Oct 3, 2013.

  1. Funk$tar

    Funk$tar Guest

    Jun 8, 2013
    It seems like I can never keep good time when I'm thinking and playing bass, I noticed when I don't think my timing is great but it's hard to not think when your thinking about not thinking!!! Haha sorry if anyone's confused but I just wanted to know is there anyway how to keep time and stay relaxed when playing bass? I don't know how professional bass players do it, it's like how do they record on an album without messing up once, its hard for me! Can anyone offer any advice?
  2. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    Maybe get a metronome and play, play, play until you quit thinking about it?
  3. Dance, move your body in time in any way it's comfortable to you. Stomp your feet, move your head, whatever. Just tune in with the rhythm.
  4. wolffire99

    wolffire99 Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2013
    St. Louis
    Music is generally recorded with a click track. Try practicing with a metronome constantly.
  5. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    How long have you been playing? It gets easier with time. Until such time as you relax naturally, practice the crap out of your music so you don't HAVE to think about it.
  6. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    Trust me we never mess up once...it is normaly more than that LOL..albums are a product of editing takes amd mastering......i don't think i have ever met a bass player that has not had a "punch in' on a recording at some point (punching in is a repair to an error by just recording over the error, so you punch in the repair rather than record rhe whole part) or gave a producer multiple takes to choose.
    Some producers will use a number of players and ask for multiple takes so they get a different feel from players playing the same idea, then choose the one that fits the track.

    But timing comes from knowing what is correct, by honing your sense of timing with a click of sorts, then learning to refrence that click to feel, tempo and timing when you play. It is a skill that is developed as much by listening to good music as opposed to just practice.
    You will learn to play what you feel, but you have to have a reference for that feel, in the same way as your timing needs a reference from from a metronome, you have to hear and feel it first in your head before you can translate it under your fingers.:)
  7. Funk$tar

    Funk$tar Guest

    Jun 8, 2013
    Wow, I didn't know that at all! Im 17 and have been playing since I was 12 so its been quite a hassle but I didn't know anything about how to keep timing, thanks or the help, Im definately going to take everyone's word and yours, hopefully this will help! I appreciate it and God Bless...
  8. maxiegrant

    maxiegrant Bassist in Transition

    Nov 26, 2007
    Sellersburg, IN
    In rehearsal, use a metronome, AND tap your foot.

    In performance, that foot tapping will help tremendously. I've noticed me and my rhythm player both foot-tap (he's actually a bass player expanding onto guitar, so of course we get along famously and I actually just give him my bass for one song and I only sing), but the point is, we tap and we keep great time and the drummer sees it and then we're all following that foot-tapping.
  9. Whousedtoplay


    May 18, 2013
    1. In rehearsal, you use a metronome.
    Is it a click for the drummer's headphones?
    Any issues?

    2. From your words, "the drummer sees your foot-tapping and follows it".
    What if the drummer, due to some "smoke effects", cannot see your foot?
    Is your drummer the "weakest timing link" in your band?

    From my experience.
    Let's say we rehearsed with the metronome one song at 104BMP.
    During the performance (without the metronome click), the drummer (emotional after an effective drum solo), gives us a new tempo - 112BMP for the same song.
    What to do?

    Or, the drummer is right and gives us the right tempo - 104BMP, but the emotionally charged bass player thinks that the drummer's tempo is too slow.
    What to do?
  10. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    How To Keep In Time And Relax?

    I think it's the other way around really, when you can relax your timing is better. It comes with practice, knowing the song well and playing the song with the band a lot of times ...
  11. nashman


    Feb 11, 2011
    It's OK to think - as long as you are focussed on playing the bass. Focussing on what you are doing will also help you relax, since you aren't thinking of, or worried about anything else. Once your mind wanders, it's easy to lose the rhythm as well. Refocus when your mind wanders. Amongst other reasons, I play the bass TO relax - an "escape" from everyday worries.
  12. topo morto

    topo morto

    Mar 22, 2010
    For me, the answer is to use a fingering (or picking... or slapping... etc.) technique that's appropriate to the part I'm playing. A lot of the time, this involves being 'percussive' with the strings to some degree, so that I'm playing the beat just like the drummer is.
  13. Read "The Inner Game of Music".
  14. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg , Conquest Sound
    The only way to do it is to learn the material to the point where you can literally play the songs without thinking about them. Once you can rely on your ear, feel and muscle memory you will be fine.
  15. Whousedtoplay


    May 18, 2013
    My generic answer:
    If you have enough technique, experience, knowledge, and necessary skills to play comfortably your bassline, you could relax, but what if the bass player needs to play something that puts him/her on the verge of the "almost messed-up-that-bass-part".
    I remember once our main vocalist needed a break to relax his voice and the keyboard player - the band leader - decided that it would be a very good idea to perform Bach's Prelude In C Minor on the bass with hi-hat and kick on the drums and background harmony on the keyboard.
    What's more, played at fast tempo.
    It was difficult to relax for me. The whole show was divided into "before-Prelude" and "after-Prelude" sections.
  16. bggeezer

    bggeezer Guest

    May 25, 2001
    It depends on what you're thinking about: Whether you left the oven on or if that girl at the bar would be up for it will definitely put you off.

    1) Focus on timing using a part of your brain as a metronome, although the drummer should be doing all that, but I cant help it these days, having worked with so many dodgy drummers over the years, who rely on ME to keep time. But that's part of a bass players job: to pull it all together.

    2) Think about what's coming up: about 3 bars ahead, and also the next part (chorus/ bridge/ verse).

    It's like driving a car: you look far down the road, middle distance, and close up, all at the same time. Well it's not, but the brain flits between the lot v quickly.

    KNOW YOUR STUFF though. Do not go to gigs under rehearsed.
  17. topo morto

    topo morto

    Mar 22, 2010
    YEAH MATE SHE IS GAGGING FOR IT :ninja::bassist:

    ...er... what were we talking about again?
  18. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    Surely throwing something like that at the band without warning is a dirty trick by the BL and not good for your relaxation. :)
  19. Drewski9


    Sep 10, 2010
    When in doubt Breathe.
    In through your nose out through your mouth.
    9 times out of 10 this will bring your focus where it belongs.
  20. huckleberry1


    Jul 1, 2013
    Mesquite, Texas
    metronome, if this is an issue never play without one when practicing. My foot is always moving when I play for some reason.

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