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I have rhythm, just not enough...

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Freaky Fender, Nov 29, 2004.

  1. Alrighty, I feel like the notes of my basslines are fine (for now, I'm taking lessons) but the note values and rhythms are boring. I can't play syncopation, and I when I try to make my own basslines to an original song, I always end up having the bassline sound like the rhythm going on through the song. I already play drums, have been for around 2 years, but are their any exercises that could help me?
  2. My teacher in college got me to work through the rythyms in a book called 'progressive steps to syncopation for the modern drummer'. It's basically a pad exercise book for drummers, there are two lines on the staff for left and right hand. I go through the rhythms just tapping out both parts in time away from the bass, then I play the more syncopated parts on my bass. This is a great way to internalize rhythmic figures.
  3. canopener


    Sep 15, 2003
    Isle of Lucy
    Check out Simplified Sight Reading for Bass even if you already know how to read. The first portion of the book goes through most rythmic patterns you can think of in 4/4. It helped me out a lot with my rythm, that's for sure.
  4. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    You can use that a couple ways-
    RH plays the 'top' staff(Thumb)
    LH plays the 'bottom' staff(Left-Hand Slap)
    Then reverse.
    ...good for slap rhythms.

    Or rather than using BOTH hands, limit it to 2 fingers.
    Index finger plays the 'top' staff(on the "E"-string)
    Middle finger plays the 'bottom' staff(on the "A" or "D" or "G").
    Mix it up.

    Freak-a-Zoid Fender...
    Since you play drums, think about note placement & what makes a syncopated drum beat. Play the spaces.
    Example: If you know a funky/syncopated beat(I'm thinking Clyde Stubblefield or David Garibaldi or Mike Clark)...maybe play ONLY the snare drum pattern with your bass. This will force you to lay off the "1" & possibly the "3".

    Another thing to try is displacement. Move certain notes to the 'left' or to the 'right'
    Instead of l1___2_&_3___4_&_l

    Try l1__a__&__e_a_e___l

    Or take a bass figure you know & move it/displace by an 1/8th note
    Instead of l1_&_2_&_3_&_4_&_l

    Try l__&_2_&_3_&_4_&_l1_ etc
    Everything is now played an 1/8th note 'late' & actually carries over into Bar 2.

    Or for 1/16th note syncopation/funk-
    Play that rhythm using strict alteration with your plaucking fingers.
    Eventually add some notes
    Eventually, add some MUTING(ghosting)...with either your fretting hand or even the plucking fingers.
    So, the above may become-

    BOLD = played notes...the others are ghosted/muted.

    A good Latin (bass) book will also do wonders.
  5. Good advice so far

    Another thing to add when you're reading rhythms off a book it is important to not only count and read them but to listen to what it sounds like ( when I read rhythms I hum them in my head instead of say like tapping with your foot this was suggested by my teacher ) then listen to each different rhythm that you can possibily think've or find and listen to the sound it makes in your head or whatever method that you use to count it this is internalizing the sound in your mind so when you come to play you can sort've hear the rhythms in your head

    ie: Lets take the example that the bro gave ya

    1_ _ a _ & _ _ e _ a _ e _ _ ......etc

    So instead of just reading it listen to the sound that this rhythm makes so your not only reading it but your locking the sound of it in your mind when you do this often it becomes a part of you ( just don't blame me when your mind is full of rhythms banging away and someone is talking to you to get your attention :D )

    Hope this helps you out
  6. Dynna


    Oct 23, 2004
    I'd go grab Planet X's "Universe" or the Dixie Dregs "Bring 'Em Back Alive" and learn a bunch of rhythms of off those. Go back to basics and tap the rhythms out on your leg.

    I'm likely to play a counter-type rhythm by playing straight 4's when everything else is syncopated. Occasionally I'll play all of the other 16ths when the gtr and drums are playing a certain figure. THAT'S good for learning and internalizing syncopation. You could always sit back for a second and try to give the tune a very traditional vibe accurate to the style it is. Or maybe even a vibe in another style against what the rest of the band is playing. Heck, you could even play a reggae bassline with a country feel.

    Don't be afraid to draw from different styles, or to mathematically map out different rhythmic things.
  7. chardin


    Sep 18, 2000
    Ed Friedland has a new book based on his recent Bass Player articles called "Bass Grooves."

    Here is a brief description of the book from Ed's web site:
    "Groove development activities, drum machine programming tips, 25 different grooves with full drum parts written out and recorded on CD, groove tips from top pros, and groove metaphysics."