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I cant play in time. I really really need help with this

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Disgruntledbass, Dec 18, 2012.

  1. Disgruntledbass


    Dec 18, 2012
    Well I've played guitar for about a year and a half and recently took up bass. The problem is that I can't play in time when I do finger style. I always end up rushing it alot. I can clap hit a drumstick in time but not on bass. When i play with a metronome the bass isnt loud enogh to drown out the clicks so i never know when im in time. I need to fix this problem rather quickly and any suggestions on how to fix this would be appreciated. any ideas about what to do?
  2. Rigel42


    Mar 24, 2009
    Naples, FL
    You could try this practice technique.
  3. Your problem is one of technique. Once you really get your technique together, time will follow. You need to be able to hear yourself, so get an amp or something.
    There is no quick solution. Keep at it, you'll get there!
  4. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    I have for years let the tune's lyric words keep time for me.

    Sing the song along with the vocalist. Yes it's not exact, if the vocalist slows down or speeds up this throws the timing off, but, if everyone is keeping time with the vocalist things work out.
  5. Groove Master

    Groove Master

    Apr 22, 2011
    Author of Groove 101, Slap 101 and Technique 101
    This book is the best remedy for this kind of problem. Totally designed and engineered to improve the weakness of many of us. Have a look and listen.

    You can thank me later ;)
  6. 1. Metronome,
    2. practice
    3. practice
    4. practice
    5. you'll be just fine
  7. Rick Robins

    Rick Robins

    Jan 13, 2010
    First off lose the click/metronome! Focus on what your doing & not the click, at this stage it's a distraction & not helping you any. Secondly though you require this quickly, instant gratification is not part of the process. Buckle down & get your fingers doing what you need them to be doing before you try to run a race. Third I'm not sure what material you are playing but these day there are tons of software out there to slow things down & not change the pitch any, I suggest try that and use your ears. Work out each part until you can execute it then move forward. When you reach the end walk away for a bit then come back & give it a go without any aid to see what you retained. Hope that helps.
  8. hgiles


    Nov 8, 2012
    1 Relax
    2 Dance (not necessarily literally, but the groove has to be danceable)

    When I am having this problem then I am usually worrying too much about the 'notes' and too little about the rhythm/groove.
  9. Swipter


    Sep 7, 2009
    I also dance some and don't even realize it sometimes but it really helps with timing. I guess it is more of a swaying than a dance. I also tap my heal sometimes double the beat. I don't know why but it helps, I also do it subconsciously.
  10. the best thing about that video is it shows him making mistakes and him saying "this is something I have trouble with"

    I'm not sure why but it really helps a lot to see an amazing bassist have trouble with something. it's not like a schadenfreude sort of thing, it's more of a "see they have to constantly practice too"
  11. BassChuck


    Nov 15, 2005
    This. Unless you don't walk in a steady tempo. It not a matter of being unable to move part of your body in time. The problem is being sure of when and where the next note is and how to get there.

    Its like the different between walking on a flat surface and walking on a rocky creek bed. When you don't have to worry about where your foot is going, you just move.
  12. Are you plugged in?

    Load up monkey machine on your PC, plug the bass into your amp...
  13. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Interesting. That's the sign of a good accompanist and works provided the vocalist is not all over the map like a few solo artists I've encountered.

  14. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    This is just a normal problem, you are learning to sync what you hear, with what you think, with what you play. This is not nessesarly any problem with time, it is a physical problem of matching the movement of the fingers to music you are hearing, not what you are feeling. Remember music flows so you have to flow with it.
    Put 5 guys in a room and ask them to play, a particular rhythm to a set time, if four of them hear it different and all play the same way, but one hears it correct and plays it correct, then he is deemed to be out, but who is truely out of time if the difference is neglegible to the song, but is not to the performance?

    Try this exercise, it identifies the aspect of what time and tempo is, one is what you feel, the other is how you interprete that to the physical act of playing.

    Please note the tempo does not get faster, each note has the exact same value, but your brain will get rushed into think it does.....that is where the sub division comes in......like the Victor video earlier its about developing your playing to your own body clock. Some people are fast and furious by nature, some are slow and easy going, that is their body rhythm and one they should embrace rather than fight.

    Once you have it done, you should not really need any timing aids in the future, you should be able to calibrate and keep in time with a majority of what you hear. If you do need to work with a metronome then do so, remember a metronome is there to teach you, not for you to follow, so as soon as you are able to do so, turn it off, carry on and let your body internalise what you learned from the Metronome.

    Some people learn to ride a bike with stabilisers, some learn to swim with water wings, some learn to read by following the words with their fingers, or moving their mouths with the words etc....all learning aids, once you can cycle or swim you have no need for the aids...in fact the aid becomes a hinderance to development.
  15. bassix67


    Apr 5, 2010
    Concord, CA
    Put your metronome on the slowest speed and play quarter notes to it. Tap eighth notes with your foot or sing eighth notes and bob your head in quarters to internalize the groove. Play only one note and alternate your 1st and 2nd finger
    On your plucking hand. Playing with the metronome this slow forces you to focus on
    Where the beat is. Good Luck!!
  16. bassbully

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

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    I agree plus Malcom gives great lessions. Try playing to Cds and songs you know and develop timing the old way..with your ears.
  17. Melamel


    Apr 25, 2011
    I have watched this video before, and attempted moving the click up and down by and 1/8 or 1/16 and found it very difficult and gave up. I will have to try this again. I definitely have the problem of playing ahead of the beat, rushing just a bit and when I hear myself, I feel like it takes away some of the groove.
  18. alfoders


    Nov 14, 2012
    Orlando, FL
    Now you're "talking"! I (a noobie) am having the same problem as the OP. I can't wait to get home from work, plug in my bass and try this drill! Thanks for the suggestion! I REALLY think the metronome is a MUST USE tool.
  19. Mister_argentum


    Aug 30, 2011
    Play with the metronome at very slow tempos (50 bpm) it requires a lot of concentration and definitely will help to solve the issue. When you master 50 go to 55, 60, 120.

    Good luck, I hope this helps.
  20. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    Play it around 74bpm and hit every note to the beat. This is considered in the range of the average heart beat of a human being. Work on this till you have it down, till you not only can hear the beat but play it.
    Then play only on every other beat, and again work on this till you can hear it and play it. Then work only on the first beat, again play it till you hear it and have it down. Then work on only the second beat, same practice as before, then work on the third beat, same as before, then on the last beat, same as all the rest.

    Once you have that down then change the tempo, then slow it down and double your playing, then sub divide, but you have to have the basic calabration of time within yourself before you can sub-divide or start to use it correctly to put you in the ball park area.

    Consider this, you look at someone and you can guess there height close....why? Answer..you base it on what you know, what you can relate to, you deal with that sort of height because you know what height you are, so it is close. If I give you something that is about 12ft. as a rule you will not get close, because you cannot relate to 12 ft, because you have little or no experience of 12 ft.
    You calibrate things around you to what you know are relevant sizes, so if I ask for all that info again in metres, unless you know metres you will not give a correct answer, and of course visa versa if you deal in metres and I asked for it in ft.

    The same thing with time, if you were asked how long someone was gone, you can give a close answer up to about five minutes, after that the longer they were gone the more likely you are to be out because you loss the relation to time. We see this in when you do a new journey in a car, it seems long, but after a few trips it seems to get shorter as you relate the time and distance. Sometimes you feel it is faster coming back, this is because you recognise a landmark or place close to your home, but your brain tells you nearly there even though you maybe 30mins away. You look at your watch and think ' it took two hrs to get there, but nearly back in an hour and a half.....good going'. Then that last bit will seem to drag or go past quick....it depends on your state of mind. But the more you do the journey the more it becomes even, the more your brain calibrates the time to the distance.

    And so it is with timing issues, work on exercises to calibrate your own internal clock, do not fight it, work on what is the right tempo to calibrate yourself to, then apply that. Everyone is slightly different, some people as I have said will be quick, some slow, some average, so make sure you calibrate to your own body clock.

    How do you do it? Well look at how you move and work..are you fast or slow..or average? Check you pulse when rested and set the metronome to that, you will be around that 72 mark if average, over it towards the 80s if fast, under it in the mid 60s if slow.

    Out of a matter of interest I worked with some Golfers with a metronome to improve their swings by letting them feel and hear different tempos...the results were quite varied in their consistency when the came out of their own tempo either threw the demands of play, or as some tried to do, slow it down. They found their swing became worse when working on slowing it down, they did not realise the timing and tempo had gone because they were not that type of person. You can have a quick tempo but still have rhythm,...... rhythm is within a tempo as much as tempo is within a rhythm. ;)