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I ain't got no groove

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by mothmonsterman, Mar 17, 2006.

  1. mothmonsterman


    Feb 8, 2006
    here's my problem

    i've been playing for about 7 years, i can play nearly everything shoved down my gullet. but i can't seem to improvise or write a decent bass line. i beleive my technique is fine and i can add little things but thats about it. when the band says "play something" or "get funky" i can't seem to do it, or play anything that really stands out. any tips?

    oh you can hear my bands new recording at http://www.myspace.com/triedinabsentia
  2. Poop-Loops

    Poop-Loops Banned

    Mar 3, 2006
    Auburn, Washington
  3. mothmonsterman


    Feb 8, 2006
    tanks for the insult and the guitar link.
  4. seebee


    Dec 17, 2004
    :bassist: :bassist:
    Try to use some of the things you hear from your influences.. Stanley, Marcus,Victor you don't have to do it note for note take something they do chop it in half and use it in your music. Keep listening to bands that play the kind of music that you play and what those Bass players do that catch your ear use that as a start then try make up your own lines your ear will tell you if it's right or wrong:bassist:
  5. Poop-Loops

    Poop-Loops Banned

    Mar 3, 2006
    Auburn, Washington
    Look over some of those pages. Especially the 'creativity and expression" ones. Music goes beyond an instrument.
  6. sjleland


    Nov 12, 2005
    Well, I've only been playing for a couple months, and I used to have the same condition as you.

    I wouldn't be able to make the groove sound exiting at all. Now this may seem like a joke, but my guitarist simply said to act "more black" when I play. Needless to say, it worked, and everyones noticing the change. :p
  7. The Clap

    The Clap

    Jan 5, 2004
    Scottsdale, AZ
    Well, it doesn't sound like a joke, it sounds like prejudice, albeit in a slightly positive form.

    Based on what I think you're trying to say, you could go with 'acting confident and relaxed' rather than 'acting more black.' All Black/Asian/Hispanic/White/Indian etc etc people simply do not behave according to strict stereotypes, and it's much more helpful to communicate with descriptive words that describe what you mean rather than stereotypes that merely infer culturally biased notions.
  8. sjleland


    Nov 12, 2005
    Yeah, he's always made comments kinda like that. To be honest it was more to get a feel of the music, you can't play music you don't enjoy.
  9. Oh hush up, he was obviously was just joking and didn't intend it to be racist.
  10. seventhson

    seventhson Supporting Member

    Aug 12, 2005
    Seattle, WA
    One of the best things to help me learn to groove was to learn hip hop bass lines. Although hip hop is not my favorite form of music, the bass lines can be awesome and funky and, most importantly, fun to play. Hip hop rhythm is basically swing 16ths. The thing about swing 16th rhythms is that if you're not phrasing it exactly right, your own ear, no matter how rhythmically challenged, can hear it clank. Unlike doing straight eighth or 16th note rhythms where it's much harder to tell when you're timing is going off. Basically, swing 16th rhythms are unforgiving so they give you immediate feedback about how well you're holding it together. So it ultimately helped my playing and sense of timing immensely.
  11. seventhson,

    Any particular pieces that would be good starting points?

  12. mothmonsterman


    Feb 8, 2006
    thanks everyone, i will try you suggestions, i think the main thing is i worry about what other people are going to think about what i play, but thats a personal problem that i have to work out.
  13. I think you should recommend some songs or artists

    I also think the exact opposite where if you're off on a strait beat it's more obvious then vs. swing.

    I noticed you started another thread on scales. Scales to me are criticle when improvising a tune. I don't think this scale that scale when playing, but once you practice enough it becomes embedded and you'll know what a third will do here and a forth there more so then I don't know what notes to hit when ur trying to improvise.
  14. DrewBud


    Jun 8, 2005
    Listen, Listen, Listen!!! I'd recommend listening to music that grooves they way you/they want you too and making sure you can feel it. If you can't feel it you can't play it (at least not well). Not nessicarily the star bass players but where the whole band grooves. If yo're talking funky I would listen to people like George Clinton, Stevie Wonder, Maceo Parker. The bands behind those guys know how to lay it down with the best of 'em!
  15. Standalone


    Jan 17, 2005
    New Haven

    straight quarter notes... even if you're playing open "E" for two bars- _this can groove._ Things don't have to be fancy or improvisational to be funky. Check the repetative synth bass lines in p-funk stuff. Check Rocco Prestia chugging eighth notes along.

    You can give your band what it needs just by listening to your drummer's kick pedal and locking yer right hand to it. If I'm not feeling the 'pocket' in my jazz quintet, I literally *watch* the drummer's pedal strike the bass drum. It' like practicing with a metronome. An extra note an octave or a fifth up here and there-- in the right places-- is enough to funkify. Your band will hear the groove -- let them fill in the funky stuff.

    But if you want to get fancy, learn a little thumb pop. People are easily impressed with that. It's all about playing octaves. Use your thumb, paralell to the E and A string, and hook your pointer fniger under the D and G strings. Rock back and forth Boom-bip Boom-bip, on the cotave. Now move that up and down the pentatonic blues scale and you're good to go.

    Then go to Guitar Center and play Flea's rendition of "Higher Ground" for like an hour straight.

    Actually, don't do that last thing...
  16. seventhson

    seventhson Supporting Member

    Aug 12, 2005
    Seattle, WA
    Ah, there are so many...


    That's not my experience at all. I should know...God punished me by making me love bass but making me rhythmically challenged as well. :D I constantly have to work at it.

    Only recently, because of studying hip hop swing rhythms, can I confidently place an "ee-ah" or an "and-uh" set of 16th notes (from a one-ee-and-uh count) or an individual "ee" or "uh" note by itself within the beat...everytime and in the pocket.

    i'm sure that your ear is much more rhythmically refined to hear it not groove with straight rhythms, but the penny didn't drop for me until i started studying hip hop bass lines. i dunno...maybe it's just the individual?
  17. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    Smoke a lot of chronic for a few days and see what happens.
  18. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    Seriously though. What it sounds like is intellectually you are a talented and capable player.

    You may need to dig into your emotions and start learning to project them through your playing. Think with your heart before your head for a while.
  19. mothmonsterman


    Feb 8, 2006
    :eek: oh no! when i do that i stare at the tile and i'm incapable of playing hardly at all!
  20. Grooving is a Zen thing. It's not something that can be "studied" by emmersing yourself in theory or "mastered" through the practice and application of various techniques, though those things are important to be able to express "the groove".

    To me, it's a "comfort zone" or a "happy place". To get there, it's important to be able to tap into the emotional rythm of a piece of music, then just let go and see what happens.

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