Jeff Berlin asks - Post Bass Lines that Got You to Practice with a Metronome

Discussion in 'Ask Jeff Berlin [Closed]' started by JeffBerlin, Feb 3, 2018.

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  1. JeffBerlin

    JeffBerlin Guest

    Jan 10, 2009
    This is a lit-up James Brown rhythm section, another version of top players playing in time together but never using a metronome to acquire their in-synch time skills. It is such a tight performance that it got me to thinking; so many bass players must regard using a metronome as helping to improve their sense of time due to hearing bass parts of bass players playing to a click. Seems logical, right?

    Post links of click track bass performances that influenced your decision to practice with a metronome. This can help to examine more closely what you have heard to see if the metronome added to the feel of the bass parts that influenced your decision to use one.
    Anticipation comments from some who will refer to the metronome as a tool, I confess to disliking this word associating it with a click. I don’t see the metronome as a tool because for me, a tool has a need. You can barely screw in a screw without a screwdriver but you can develop good time without a metronome. This makes a screwdriver more of a useful a tool than a metronome is.

    What were the bass parts that got you to come to the conclusion that practicing with a click would help your sense of time. Post those bass links and we can chat about them.
    Meanwhile, listen to a James Brown tune where the metronome did not influence the musicians to create the time and feel demonstrated in their playing.

     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2018
  2. iTzPrime

    iTzPrime

    May 30, 2016

    The only Bassline where I practiced with a metronome. Couldn't get the 16th on time with a drummer, so I practiced at home with the metronome after learning all the parts.
     
  3. Clark Dark

    Clark Dark

    Mar 3, 2005
    earth
    Hi Jeff, James was the metronome...ever see him camel walk?:cool:
     
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  4. tlc1976

    tlc1976

    Aug 2, 2016
    Michigan
    IMO the metronome is the next best thing to having an experienced drummer or timekeeper to work with. Not everybody has that. To improve you need feedback. When your playing and internal feel matches the click (or whoever you're working with) then you know you're getting somewhere. Otherwise it's like target practice without ever getting to check your targets to see how you did.

    A screwdriver which has a proper hardened tip and matches the screw recess that's being driven (surprising how many don't) is the best tool. Not everybody has that. In which case you use a cheap junk screwdriver or a butter knife. Which is still way better than having nothing but your bare fingertips.
     
  5. inanimate_carb

    inanimate_carb

    Aug 11, 2016
    I don’t have any. As a younger player encountering stuff like James Brown material, music was still a new form of communication to me. I wanted to know what the notes were - not my interpretation of what they were, or what I thought the notes were - but what the notes actually were.

    To do this, I had to assemble that information without the expectation or demands that a time source brings. Once I had the notes, phrases, and patterns correct, it wasn’t hard to play the figures in time and up to speed because I knew them internally and could hum them as well. I think this reduces down to repetition and deep listening.

    As I got older, I went to auditions for many kinds of bands, including Soul and R+B groups, and got the jobs. I was always told that the reasons I got them was because my time was solid and I played the material exactly as it was recorded. I used no other method to learn the tunes other than what I’ve listed.
     
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  6. gjohnson441496

    gjohnson441496

    Dec 14, 2014
    Mother Popcorn/Make It Funky. I sampled parts and played along with it and for me, it was a lesson in playing in a he pocket.

     
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  7. JeffBerlin

    JeffBerlin Guest

    Jan 10, 2009
    Thanks for sharing. But, in my post, I was asking people to post links of click track bass performances that influenced their decision to practice with a metronome. You posted a live track of 10 guys playing in time without ever using one. This bodes my question about why most bass players cannot imagine a life without a metronome as with one. I have the view that no one will ever acquire an improved sense of time with a click as it isn't possible to play in time unless one can play. But since so many bass players can't imagine a life without a click, they either were told by rather ill-informed (yet well meaning) bass instructors to use one, or they listened to bass tracks that influenced their decision to use one.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2018
  8. JeffBerlin

    JeffBerlin Guest

    Jan 10, 2009
    The problem with this is that as soon as a drummer starts to play, you are required to "agree' with their 16th note subdivision. So, if you can play 16th notes without a click or with one, you have to accommodate the drummer (and other musicians) which can't be learned by playing to a click that has no relationship to the time that your live playing colleagues are producing.
     
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  9. JeffBerlin

    JeffBerlin Guest

    Jan 10, 2009
    Nice job with the bass part. Thanks for sharing. But, in my post, I was asking people to post links of click track bass performances that influenced their decision to practice with a metronome.

    Here are a couple of thoughts: You are imitating a bass part that you learned really well. You never needed a metronome to "tighten" up the performance. In most cases, this is a musical myth because even here I can hear you not sitting perfectly with the drum track. But, I can guarantee you that I wouldn't hear this from you if you played this line with a band. Breathing in the time gives a slight "covering" to the tiny imperfections of synched-up time. In short, if you and the drummer (and the band) can play and know your musical parts, you will sound GREAT together. The metronome part is a myth.

    P.S. Have you thought about raising up your bass a little bit? It might make for a more comfortable playing experience for you.
     
  10. JeffBerlin

    JeffBerlin Guest

    Jan 10, 2009
    Thanks for sharing this. But you could internalize any piece of music without a metronome because pitch and rhythm aren't contingent upon having a quarter notes in its midst. Using a metronome to internalize music is a signal that you don't yet know how to play well enough to internalize music without one. But, this, too, is fixable. But you really have to want to improve in time to find out what I am talking about
     
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  11. CentralCoastBass

    CentralCoastBass Guest

    Feb 4, 2004
    I respect Jeff, but lots of people NEED to work with a metronome. Time IS important.
     
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  12. inanimate_carb

    inanimate_carb

    Aug 11, 2016
    Who said it wasn’t?
     
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  13. CentralCoastBass

    CentralCoastBass Guest

    Feb 4, 2004
    Huh? I don’t get it. Obviously Jeff if he thinks metronomes aren’t necessary.
     
  14. inanimate_carb

    inanimate_carb

    Aug 11, 2016
    And you think metronomes are
    a requirement for a musician to develop a good time feel. They’re not.

    Jeff has written many articles in the past about how important time is and how much he appreciates it.
     
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  15. CentralCoastBass

    CentralCoastBass Guest

    Feb 4, 2004
    Nope. But plenty of “musicians” don’t have good time. So, why not try a metronome to practice? Cuz Jeff says learning “music” is more important than timing? I disagree. Its probably more important than theory in many types of music. And, one method of learning isn’t correct for everyone. I’ve never used a metronome, but plenty of folks I’ve seen could probably benefit from some sort of click or metronome.
     
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  16. CentralCoastBass

    CentralCoastBass Guest

    Feb 4, 2004


    I haven’t seen them, but I have read his opinions on not using a metronome. No worries, just don’t believe that time comes from practicing without time.
     
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  17. CentralCoastBass

    CentralCoastBass Guest

    Feb 4, 2004
    And to answer Jeff op, I can’t name a bassline that got me to practice with a metronome....I’ve never owned one. I learned by pressing rewind on my favorite cassette tapes....listening back and figuring out the notes while keeping with the beat(drums, which were probably recorded to a click). But I HAVE seen plenty of musicians and bands that made me want to suggest playing WITH a click or metronome.
     
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  18. gjohnson441496

    gjohnson441496

    Dec 14, 2014
    Thanks for commenting on the video. I appreciate the feedback and your insights. If I understand you correctly (please correct me if I misunderstood), if I purchased a metronome and practiced the bass line that I played in the video, it would noticeably make my playing tighter. If this is what you are suggesting, I’d be willing to work on it, for sure.

    As for raising my bass, I’ve tried it. I prefer and I’m very comfortable playing my basses low as it allows my right hand to feel more relaxed. I’m uncomfortable bending my elbow and hand. It feels very odd to me although I know most bass players play with the bass on their stomach or even chest high. I can’t play bass sitting down either.

    Btw, just want to thank you for participating your time and giving your insights.
     
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  19. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    How long is a quarter note?
     
  20. twinjet

    twinjet Powered by GE90s; fueled with coffee. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Sep 23, 2008
    49
    Michel Camilo's Not Yet. I'm using the metronome to become accustomed to playing certain runs at low speeds to build muscle memory before going full-speed. Noticed a marked improvement in a mere 15-minute session.
     
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