I can't for the life of me come up with a unique rhythm.

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Tupac, Aug 9, 2013.

  1. Tupac


    May 5, 2011
    Notes are one thing. I find I can come up with something remotely unique by looking for fret patterns I'm not used to seeing, but I can't for the life of my come up with a unique rhythm. It's like trying to envision a new color. Anything that I think is unique I later realize I just heard it somewhere. Any tips on creating creative basslines that aren't someone else's with different notes?
  2. f.c.geil


    May 12, 2011
    There are no unique rhythms. I'm amazed that you've invented new notes, though. I'd love to hear them. What do you call them?

    The point is that you take part of a line from one guy, blend it with part from another. None of the parts is new, but the entirety may be.
  3. Clef_de_fa

    Clef_de_fa Guest

    Dec 25, 2011
    Write rythm for one beat or one bar on a shet of paper, cut them, and put them in one bag.

    In another bag, put some note like max 4 notes name and cut them, put them in a bag.

    Draw max 3 of each or 4 ( or whatever ) and put them together.
  4. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism

    Try polyrhythms, like 2 against 3. (Think blues shuffle for 2 against 3)
  5. Transcribe (read: blatantly copy) stuff from different guys who play with what you would consider unique rhythms. Eventually something will rub off on you.

    You are not making this stuff up, no matter what musicians think, any more than you are making up new words when you have a conversation. You are just rearranging the same words that everyone uses from Winston Churchill, to Martin Luther King Jr., to Larry the Cable Guy.

    Music is exactly the same process. Everyone has the same 12 notes to work with, from Jaco, to Patticucci, to the guy in the cover band down the street. No bassist is so great that they give him extra notes, and no bassist is so bad that they take notes away from him...
  6. dannoman


    Feb 3, 2004
    You must have never heard the bass player from COMPLETE...
  7. Bainbridge


    Oct 28, 2012
    Polyrhythm requires two instruments playing different divisions of beat, or at least two diffent voices. And 2:3 does not sound like a blues shuffle. The composite rhythm of a duplet and a triplet is like "1 2 & 3". Think Carol of the Bells. Not very blues shuffley.

    OP, why do you want to write a unique rhythm? Or unique anything, for that matter? Worry about making it sound good. If it's unique, then it's unique. If not, at least it won't suck.
  8. phillybass101


    Jan 12, 2011
    Artist, Trickfish Amplification Bartolini Emerging Artist, MTD Kingston Emerging Artist. Artist, Tsunami Cables
    get yourself some rhythm cards and put them together and play that rhythm. Shuffle the cards around and put them together and play that combined rhythm. Eventually something will happen for you. Also try listening to other types of music than you ordinarily listen to. Again something will happen. when you listen to music, concentrate on the drummer. Make up something to play based on what you hear from the drums. That is play something that goes with the beat he creates, playing off and on with that rhythm. On youtube search for modes of rhythm. Victor Wooten and Anthony Welliington have a great video showing you the permutations of just one slap bass line that was created. You play the same line again and again but starting from different points in that bassline. Thus modes of rhythm.
  9. Bainbridge


    Oct 28, 2012
    To be perfectly clear, this does not describe rhythmic modes. These links explain what rhythmic modes actually are:


    Basically, modes of rhythm is an ancient theoretical concept that was used to codify rhythm in polyphony, based on feet in poetry. What phillybass is describing above is more accurately described as rotation, displacement, or simply syncopation. Somehow, "modes" has become a blanket term for anything involving rotation in modern music (even though that approach does not reflect how we sonically hear modal pitch collections).
  10. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    listen for rhythmic patterns you're not used to hearing?

    there's 88 or more possible places to finger a note, you are fine mixing and matching those.

    if you consciously learn 88 unique rhythms, you will probably be able to do the same.

    also, practice reading and writing rhythmic notation. It will reveal much.
  11. Bainbridge


    Oct 28, 2012
    ^ Cool tool. Too bad it doesn't do ties or dotted rhythms.
  12. Whousedtoplay


    May 18, 2013
    You can do it by using two-hand tapping on the bass.

    Your left hand plays one rhythm, your right tapping hand plays a different rhythm.
  13. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    It's interesting that you said, "Anything that I think is unique I later realize I just heard it somewhere." That suggests to me that what you most need to do might be to listen to some different kinds of music than you're accustomed to. If you mostly listen to one style of music -- say blues-based rock, or country, or some particular genre of metal -- you've probably got a catalog of rhythmic patterns common to that particular musical style in your head. So whenever you try to invent a new rhythmic pattern, you naturally draw upon that catalog -- and therefore keep re-discovering the same ideas.

    Just listening to any genre that you're not accustomed to is likely to give you a bunch of new ideas (new to you, that is). If you ordinarily listen to metal, try some James Brown, for example. But if you really want to expose your brain to new rhythmic ideas, I'd especially suggest some classic prog rock (e.g., King Crimson) or experimental prog (e.g., Julie Slick) -- which tend to make liberal use of odd and changing time signatures. Or if you want to go all-in on rhythmic craziness, try some Zappa.
  14. SactoBass

    SactoBass A retired civil engineer who likes all-tube amps! Supporting Member

    Jul 8, 2009
    Lake Havasu City, AZ
    LOL! That reminds me of when someone asked me to describe to them what happened "in my own words". I looked at them and said, "my own words??...I'm using words that everybody else uses!":meh:
  15. Roscoe East

    Roscoe East

    Aug 22, 2011
    Actually, the implied meter underlying any given phrase can be considered one of the voices in a polyrhythm.

    So, for example, if you were playing a 5:4 quintuplet you wouldn't need another instrument articulating the "4" subdivisions; as long as you've established the existance of the "4" subdivision, when you play a "5" within the same time period the 5:4 is heard as a polyrhythm.
  16. Bainbridge


    Oct 28, 2012
    So two voices on the same instrument, yes? And if it's only one voice, then it's not a polyrhythm - just fancy syncopation.

    No, then it's heard as a quintuplet.

    Polyrhythm = many rhythms. One rhythm is not many.
  17. Whousedtoplay


    May 18, 2013
    If you are interested in polyrhythmic phrasing, here is a link to "A Pedagogical and Analytical Study of Dušan Bogdanović’s Polyrhythmic and Polymetric Studies for Guitar"

    You could find some examples. Just go through the pages.
  18. Roscoe East

    Roscoe East

    Aug 22, 2011
    A quintuplet is a polyrhythm. And the implied meter is the other rhythm, even though it's not explicitly heard.