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Is "pushing" the tempo common with bass playing?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by RicPlaya, May 27, 2004.


  1. RicPlaya

    RicPlaya

    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    From what I hear my two biggest beefs from my bandmates are

    1. Sometimes I get to busy with basslines

    2. I at times push the tempo


    Well as far as im concerned problem #1 is an oxymoron. But is it common to push as a bassist and besides a metronome what are some things I can do to or be cautious of? I don't know if I'm pushing all the time or my drummer is eratic? But I do slightly push occationally.
     
  2. tim99

    tim99 Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2003
    You sould be able to push the tempo while the drummer continues to play at a fixed pace. Just because you are landing before the beat does not mean that the drummer needs to speed up.

    Hey, I play simple stuff and behind the beat, maybe I could be the rhythm bass player in your band and you can be the lead bass player. I have a 1200 Watts of Ampeg power.

    HEY, THOSE TWO BASS PLAYERS ARE REALLY GREAT!

    WHAT?

    I SAID, THOSE TWO BASS PLAYERS ARE REALLY GREAT!

    Tim99.
     
  3. RicPlaya

    RicPlaya

    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    But isn't that defeating the whole locking in, or being in the pocket thing we strive for?

    I'm lead bass man!
     
  4. tim99

    tim99 Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2003
    No. You and the drummer play at the same speed. The same beats per minute. You play ahead or behind. But he has to have the chops to keep playing at the same pace.

    Tim99.
     
  5. RicPlaya

    RicPlaya

    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    I am a drummer too, I totally understand what you are saying. I know I'm in time with him, just not hitting exactly with him all the time, but prolly 80% of the time. I'm just not sure if that's right or wrong or if there is a right or wrong way?
     
  6. tim99

    tim99 Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2003
    The only right and wrong would be based on the music. Different styles of music have different ahead or behind the beat requirements. Reagee music is way way behind the beat.

    Tim99.
     
  7. tim99

    tim99 Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2003
    So I watch my drummer, and his hands go down at the same time, but his high hat is higher than his snare, so he plays his high hat on the beat, and his snare slightly behind the beat, and yeah, I am there or just behind that. Rock.

    Tim99.
     
  8. tim99

    tim99 Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2003
    There was a thread here where someone said that they knew they were doing things right when there band complained that they were playing stuff that was too complicated.
     
  9. RicPlaya

    RicPlaya

    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    yeah I remeber that, the singer was an egofreak. We play mostly rock, I know for example blues the real beat is on 2 and 4 and the drummer usually plays behind the beat the rest of the measure. It's crazy, I dunno just want some outside opinions. I can do it all ways, stretch to pocket, push a little or play on the beat. I guess I need to be consious of whats going on and play accordingly. But thanks for the reassurance that I'm not an idiot and I can still play in time but not on the exact beat. I guess they would prefer me to play on the beat, but then again they are not the bassist :eyebrow:
     
  10. Blueszilla

    Blueszilla Bassist ordinaire

    Apr 2, 2003
    The Duke City
    The band I'm in plays blues and roots rock. The GP is very much into creating a real old school vibe and lots of our tempos are 'behind the beat' for the bass. It has been 15 months of instruction for me. He used to get upset at my 'pushing', which I had a real hard time with. I was thinking I was a pretty good player for blues, so it was a bit of ego busting for me to try and do what he wanted. It's a pretty subtle thing that he was trying to get me to do. He gave me lots of things to listen to as examples (T-birds, Jimmy Reed, T-bone Walker etc...) and I studied and played along with as much as I could. My focus became doing the best possible groove and making sure that the tempo at the end was the same as when he counted it off. It got to the point where it wasn't fun to play because I was always worried about tempos. I thought I was listening to the other guys in the band, but it took more concentration than I had experienced before. Now I think we have the best rhythm section in town (no ego here LOL) but it took a long time. I may not have the chops of some of the other fellows here, but I think my groove can stand on its own.

    The GP describes the behind-the-beat tempo as the 'flat tire' beat. Its got a camber to it that gives it that in-the-pocket, greasy feel.

    Sorry for the ramble... :rolleyes:
     
  11. Hi, I'm a drummer just starting on the bass. Any piece of music can be played on, before, or after the beat, and each different way is going to give it a totally different feel and sound. The feel and sound are what's important. All that matters - as I'm sure you know - is that the band sounds good as a whole. Any technique used to make the band sound good is a good technique. Listen, and play accordingly.

    Good luck with your band,
    Chris
     
  12. josh_m

    josh_m

    May 5, 2004
    Davie, Fl
    Both of those things that you mentioned are really subjective to the feel. If the song is slow and laid back I normally play a bit behind the beat. If it is upbeat i'll push a little, but not enough to try and force the tempo to change. In either case I am not always pushing or pulling, I do play on the beat just maybe for one section of song I will push or pull.

    As far as overplaying, I think a lot of people think the bass should have as many notes as possible, again this has to do with the feel. Some songs I will just play whole notes under the guitar. If I am playing a lot of notes I turn the volume down a bit, I don't want to over power.
     
  13. tim99

    tim99 Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2003
    So...you are a drummer...does that mean you think drummers know more about the beat than bass players do? I think the problem in the original posters band is that he knows more about the beat than his drummer does.
    I know what you mean, but I also think you know what I mean when I say that particular types of music come with a particular ahead/behind historical expectation.

    Tim99.
     
  14. tim99

    tim99 Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2003
    Are you playing more than that Stone Temple Pilots bass player does? He rocks. Play some of that for your band...
     
  15. josh_m

    josh_m

    May 5, 2004
    Davie, Fl
    If your drummer can't do double stops because things are a differant height he really has to practice.
     
  16. tim99

    tim99 Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2003
    You totally missed my point. He is fantastic. This is not a problem. This is what I see.

    Tim99.
     
  17. RicPlaya

    RicPlaya

    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI

    We play a lot of STP. Wicked Garden, Dead and Bloated, Sex type thing. Our covers are very busy on the bass but our originals are very basic and they complain that I am too busy at times......Hmmmmmm. I know right from wrong so I am not too concerned about that.

    With the pocket issue as long as I'm not forcing the tempo and increasing it I'm fine, I know this. I just wanted reinforcement to may show my bandmates....It's crazy maybe the bassist knows a little about this stuff.

    I do consult with the drum parts a lot, but he plays with a nome now since he really just started playing a year and a half ago. So if I screw with the pocket he gets off because of that. Maybe I'll just keep it on the beat untill he feels comfortable enough to be consistant without it and then we can infuse more "feel" in the playing.
     
  18. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    I ride the tempo
     
  19. BlacksHole

    BlacksHole

    Mar 22, 2000
    Rockville, MD
    My current band is a classic rock band. We changed drummers a while back and our new drummer is much better, but also much different than our last drummer. The new drummer tends to play on or slightly ahead of the beat, i.e., he propels the band forward, which is good for most rock tunes. Our rhythm guitarist (for lack of a better term) also tends to be a front of the beat player. If I also play on the front edge of the beat with this configuration, the song may increase in tempo. With our previous drummer, who was a back of the beat player, I needed to push a bit to keep us from dragging. The pocket develops best when the players are cognizant of what the others are doing and work together, IMHO. So while it took me a while to adjust between the two drummers, we now have a tighter rhythm section, but we do encounter some speeding up issues still. One case in point, we do one tune by KISS, and a feature of KISS is that the bass is at the front of the beat and Simmons seems to propel the band. So for this tune, I do still play at the leading edge, but I also have to be careful because neither the drummer nor r. guitarist are now used to me doing that and care needs to be taken that the tempo doesn't rise as we go through the song. The point I'm trying to make is that if you are working with other players who are used to a particular style (ahead, on, back) from their bass player, you may have to alter your approach to fit the situation.
     
  20. baba

    baba Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2002
    3rd stone from the sun
    I disagree. As a bass player I think you need to know when to show restraint and play for the song, not your bass line. Bass players, and any other musician, can definitely cross the line and be "too busy." I think accepting this and playing accordingly are signs of musical maturity.