1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

How would you play in a band with NO DRUM?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by sucho2000, Apr 21, 2010.

  1. sucho2000


    Nov 19, 2009
    Hi all
    I am not sure if this is a right folder to ask this but
    How would you play bass in a band with no drum?

    At the moment,
    we got 2 Acoustics, 2 vox, 1 key and me on bass

    I just had a small service in my church, and ...

    it always is a bit awkward when I play with no drum..
    How would you play?

    Please let me know of your tips and experience in such a situation..

    Both acoustics are doing rhythms, and key plays organ..

    Getting a drum or drum machine is not an option for us...


    Thanks in Advance !!!
  2. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    It can be fine if the other players understand that you are the timekeeper. If they don't, well... :rollno:
  3. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    ^ This

    Also tap your foot, and be aware of the beat. After all, you are the timekeeper.
  4. You be the drum.

    Having done this in an acoustic blues trio, I learned to tap my foot through every song, practiced with a metronome, and come down hard on the "one." This is where playing with high-tension flats like LaBella's helps add a percussive attack. The number one thing to focus on is keeping time for everyone else, which means sometimes having to pull the rhythm guitars along or hold them back.
  5. cb56


    Jul 2, 2000
    Central Illinois
    What they said. It's your job to keep the time and make sure everyone knows where one is.
    Sometimes I feel like I have to simplify my playing a bit to make sure of this.
  6. lazyone2


    Jul 27, 2006
    new jersey shore
    +1 to what everyone else has said. You are now the timekeeper.
  7. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    There are allot of great bands and musicians who play like this and enjoy allot of them. check out John Prines current band, Over the Rhine who i just saw live last week.. keys,guitars,upright and electric bass, pedal steel. These groups sound great without drums.
  8. sucho2000


    Nov 19, 2009
    Thank for the tips guys!!!
    I guess I was all over the place on time keeping today..
    I will keep that in mind...
  9. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I Grow Organic Carrots
    Around 2000 in Michigan there was a band fronted by a guy who looked liked he came from zztop. He would have his whole band play for $200 or less. He had trouble keeping drummers at that price. So he went to using a drum machine. The whole act was kinda cheesy. Have you ever seen someone do a Led Zepplin cover with a drum machine? It is not pretty.
  10. FromTheBassMent

    FromTheBassMent Those who can, play bass. Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2010
    Providence, RI

    I play in bands without a drummer more often than with. Keep your bass playing simple and very rhythmic, and dial in the punchiest tone you can get with your gear. You count all of the songs in, and you keep everyone on the tempo. Imagine your instrument to be a combination bass and kick drum. Once you've established your role as the "rhythm section," all should be well.

    One thing I recommend to my fellow bassists with great enthusiasm is buying an inexpensive hand drum (like a Remo Djembe) and joining a drum circle. Learning African and Latin rhythms in that environment (you're just hammering away without having to worry about notes) helps you develop a really strong mentronome sense. I think it works better than trying to play with a metronome, because you're working with other humans, so you get more of that real world ebb-and-flow communication. The best rhythmic workout you'll ever have as a bassist will be when you put down your bass! Plus, it's crazy fun.
  11. somegeezer


    Oct 1, 2009
    Well you and they rhythm guitars are keeping the beat instead. Just know where the beats are and you will be fine. If you can't keep time, go back and practise how to. It should be one of the first things you learn when learning any instrument.
  12. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I Grow Organic Carrots
    you gotta have drums ...

  13. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    I wouldn't. :rollno:

  14. I used to do it all the time. it was a bit awkward since the singer never kept time w/ me - he would go off on his own and I followed him (bass akwards) but it's definitely do-able, and can be fun . . .
  15. JazznFunk


    Mar 26, 2000
    Asheville, NC
    Lakland Basses Artist
    Very early on in my bass playing career I was told that with or without drums, a bassist should be able to define a feel/style and function as a solid timekeeper that the band can lean on, even without drums or percussion. I play in jazz duos and trios all the time on double bass without a drummer and it's really quite comfortable. I personally can take or leave having drums on some gigs. It depends on the band in question, the venue, the setlist, etc. though. Point being, don't rely on drums. Be the best timekeeper you can be and you will never be at a loss for work.
  16. kingbee


    Apr 18, 2006
    I totally agree that you need to be the timekeeper, but if you consider that the main role of the drum kit is to subdivide the measure, you can spread that role out to other musicians as well. You can hear, for instance, how Django Reinhardt's groups use two rhythm guitars and a bass to approximate the same feel you'd get from a drum kit. Next time you practice, see if you can get the whole band to work on the feel. You can have the bass play on the downbeats, and then have one instrument chugging along with 8ths or 16ths, while another instrument plays in a different register only on the offbeats. Just make sure that the bass leaves a hole where the snare should be so that offbeat stab is really prominent.
  17. N.F.A.


    Jun 25, 2009
    In a blue funk
    My church gig was like yours too. A pianist, fiddler and me on rhythm guitar. I kept the time. (Music director wouldn't allow me to play bass.) I also play in an acoustic duo with no drummer. In the duo, we share timekeeping, usually it falls to me on rhythm guitar or bass. Sometimes he keeps the beat with a banjo or mandolin and I follow his lead. Timing isn't usually problem. At this point I can take or leave drummers for most applications.
  18. Exploiter8

    Exploiter8 Demons run when a good man goes to war

    Jan 18, 2010
    Commercial FREE!
    Interesting answers. I play the same with or without drums. It sounds like most play with guitarists that can't keep time on their own. Maybe I've been fortunate to have played with musicians that play guitar, not just guys playing guitar. I don't know.

  19. Oh, and, I actually prefer to play without a drummer. Once you add drums, everybody's volume has to double. And that starts an arms race. Most music heard live these days is WAY TOO DAMN LOUD.
  20. pbd

    pbd Commercial User

    Jul 17, 2003
    Metro Detroit
    owner Procables N Sound
    how about an inear metronome?

    Todd :)

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.