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Learning drums to help with bassplaying

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by The Mock Turtle Regulator, May 15, 2001.

  1. who plays drums here?

    I tried drums for a few months before taking up bass (I got frustrated that I didn't have enough independence between my hands and feet eg. quarter notes on high hat, sixteenth note bass drum pattern- as in Living Colour's "Desperate People"), and I find I tend to tap my right foot to the bass drum pattern when listening to CDs or playing bass, so I've been thinking about learning drums again, but properly.

    what's the verdict on how it can help with bassplaying?
  2. cschenk78


    Mar 12, 2000
    Watertown, NY
    You basically said it...by understanding how drums work, you will be able tro pick up drum parts much more quickly and you will become very good at locking in with a drummer. This is very important as a bass player, because it lays a solid foundation for the rest of the band.
  3. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Disregarding the drummer's feet(for now)-

    Drummers are more comfortable with multiple timelines; that is, they won't get so locked into a certain rhythm that their playing becomes "robotic".
    Learning some paradiddles AND how to tap out(here I go again)cross rhythms...the "3 against 4", "5 against 4", "6 against 4", etc will help a bassist cope "better" when confronted with these issues(like sitting in with a well versed drummer)...;)

    Tapping out cross rhythms, IMO, also opens up a whole new territory of exploration for the bassist who's into slapping/popping "patterns"/figures. When comfortable enough with, say, the "4 over 3" "pattern", the bassist can then assign notes to the rhythm...popping some, plucking others, fretting hand slap on others...or omitting others.
    When comfortable, a "player" will be able to do this at will & hopefully get even more creative with the concept(more so than me, that's for sure).
    Same goes for "tapping"...one hand can Rhythm "A" while the other hand does Rhythm "B". Very similiar to what a pianist does(piano is also a "percussion" instrument). ;)

    Thinking like a drummer should also aid a bassist in discerning rhythms more quickly. Example: You're jamming with a guy & BOOM, he shifts the beat on ya by an 1/8th note...whadda ya do? Or he places the kick in the backbeat; or he goes from a Swing/Funk("Swunk") into a Samba/Funk...whadda ya do? IF you're at a point where you hear what the Hell he's doing('cause you're "thinkin' like him"), you'll be one step ahead. ;)

    It's also cool(IMO)to study certain rhythmic figures/patterns/tendencies & stick them in yer hat...make an Ago-Go pattern or Bongo Bell phrase part of your rhythmic vocabulary.
    Know the various claves...;)

    Something I do all the time-
    ...I'll "take" a drum part(like, say, a Clyde Stubblefield beat)& make a bassline/figure out of it.
    I assign certain notes to play the kick part, other notes do the snare &/or hi-hat/ride part. Whenever I'm in a rut(like always)...I'll do s*** like this. Really, I wish I could sit around all day doing stuff like this...

    Every bassist I know who once played drums has been a killer...(blahblah-blahblah, eh?)
  4. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    I'm kind of a hack drummer...I bought a small kit and tried to get proficient in just basic grooves, etc. and it helped my bass playing quite a bit. I've been playing with the same drummer for about 10 yrs now and we think just alike, so it's no surprise that I play a bit like him. This really helps when writing original tunes...if you know what your drummer would do, it's kind of automatic to write parts that he'd feel comfy with and everything just locks right away.
  5. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    you should try to learn some sticking patterns like 5 and 6 stroke roughs and do them on picking hand, you wont believe at what it can help ya do. its actually increased my speed tremendously..and helped me to get better chops.
  6. jasonbraatz


    Oct 18, 2000
    Oakland, CA
    playing drumset DID help my bass playing ability, as it made me able to think of different rhythms at the same time.

    but you know, the thing that helped me more than that was playing 4TH BASS DRUM in marching band last summer. i mean, talk about an excersize in counting. i can sight read almost any rhythm now.

    and playing snare also helped, all those patterns give you ideas for bass stuff.

  7. i also wanna pick up drums eventually, maybe if i ever get any money!!
  8. thanks folks, some interesting stuff there.

    yeah, maybe I made the mistake of trying to run before I could walk with drums and then deciding I didn't have the ability to do independent rhythms.

    I've since learnt how to do it on bass (I had a go at the 2 handed tapping thing in my MTR solo on mp3.com :D ) and also in singing and playing bass, so I might be able to play that stuff on drums I always wanted to.....

    one thing I got into doing with the drummer of my originals band was tying in triplet fills (three finger plucking on bass), which got a bit much when we played in a covers band a few years ago- ending nearly every song with a triplet fill....:oops:
  9. bertbassplayer

    bertbassplayer Supporting Member

    Jul 7, 2000
    DFW, TX
    I'm a fairly good drummer, I started playing drums because in my old band, our drummer didn't have his own car so he coulden't always get to practice, so I'd play when he wasn't there to keep beat and stuff.
  10. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    What studying drums did for me (besides showing me that I should never apsire to be a drummer) was that it really showed me what to listen for with a drummer and have a far clearer understand of what a drummer is doing.

    Billy Sheehan says in his bass instruction video that it does help bass players to have a passing familiarity with how to play drums. That was the reason I took drumming classes. The independence thing was really hard for me, I mean having the bass drum pedal foot doing one thing, the high hat another and snares or other drums doing other things all at once.

    Nonetheless. I feel my efforts paid off in having a far more complete grasp of rhythm and the drummer's role in a band.
  11. Acacia


    Apr 26, 2000
    Austin, TX
    I drummed intensively ni many bands and many styles of music from 1994 to 2000.

    that experience has made a HUGE positive impact on my bassing.
  12. Lovebown


    Jan 6, 2001
    Actually, even toying around with a drummachine or a synth with drums setting , can actually improve your playing. That's what I did.. I listened to records and played my own drum patterns on my KORG M1. When my friend moved his drum kit over here I picked up on it pretty fast, much thanks to the synth, I already knew how to play on the bassdrum/snare etc. even though I had never sat down at a drum kit! Well, theoretically atleast but it took awhile to get down the technique :p


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