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Locking in with a drummer's feel and tempo

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by ShanePPA, Jul 25, 2019.

  1. ShanePPA


    Jul 25, 2019
    Vancouver, BC
    This is something I'm having issues with so I'm looking for tips.

    My band's drummer is rock solid and has a great energetic feel. We're a pretty straightforward uptempo rock band and a lot of the time I'm building lines around 8th note phrases with syncopation for flavor.

    When I record my parts at home to practice, they have distinct groove and time feel and hold up on their own. When I play with the band and listen back to our rehearsal recordings, I always seem to be rushing and not quite in sync with his feel. I'm not necessarily out of time but we're just not locked in.

    Sometimes I have trouble hearing his kick because we're a fairly loud band. Would locking into his snare on the 2 and 4 cause this? If I could hear a distinct 1-beat maybe I'd lock in more?

    What are some practice tools to combat this? I generally practice with a metronome and I have no problems with that at all.
  2. Cheez

    Cheez Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2009
    Texas/Louisiana border
    Put your foot against one of his bass drum feet. Make contact so you can feel it.
    Tad and Spin Doctor like this.
  3. SteveCS


    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    Does your home practice involve a drum machine, or recordings of the drummer, or are you playing 'al fresco'? How does your distinct groove and time feel stack up against the clock?
    HalfStep and Tad like this.
  4. I once played with a drummer that had something called a butt kicker. Basically it was a powered sub that sent the sound waves through the floor. He slaved it to his kick drum and man, you could feel it in your feet. That was nice...
  5. ShanePPA


    Jul 25, 2019
    Vancouver, BC
    A bit of everything actually. I'm generally playing TO something though, generally a metronome when I'm still ironing out my parts then to our practice recordings to get my feel in line with the drums. It seems to be mainly a problem when playing with the band. I'm happy with my ability to play to a recording.
    SteveCS likes this.
  6. SteveCS


    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    So maybe the band is inconsistent between runs. Recordings, even flawed ones, are easy to play to, practice with or learn because they play back the same every time. How do different recordings of the same track stack up against each other?
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2019
    Tad and bolophonic like this.
  7. Malcolm35


    Aug 7, 2018
    I like to be able to see his kick pedal and will look over to see if we are together, i.e. see as well as hear.

    Right, wrong, or whatever - I ignore his fills and keep the steady beat going.

    I also, like you mentioned, sometime rely on the snare with some songs.

    Thank goodness for good drummers.
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2019
    Tad likes this.
  8. You're prolly not listening to the drummer enough and sort of listening to the whole band too much. If you're not listening to the snare, you will miss the groove. You don't really want to play all over the snare hits, but you need to be aware of where they are.
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2019
    jthisdell and John6 like this.
  9. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    If you have trouble hearing the kick, yes, the band is too loud.
  10. I never thought of it as locking in to the drummer, except early on, when I needed to. It’s more like you lock into the style, and the drummer locks into the style, so you are both locked into it together.

    I’m not sure where you are in your musical journey, but if you feel the drums have to dictate your rhythms, or you have trouble keeping time with him, you may still be early in your journey, and I promise you that all improves, the more ensemble playing you do.

    To be honest, I don’t understand where the whole dependency, and mimicking the kick came from. I know of plenty of instances where the bass sustains while drums are busy, or when drums sustain while bass is busy.

    If I had to recommend a course for improving, it would be to listen and play your favorite styles, till your toolbox is full and you can begin to create in those styles. Also, ensemble tempo must be developed. Try having your entire band play to a metronome click. In fact, at a slower tempo than normal—that’s where fluctuations are really exposed.
  11. dax21


    Nov 26, 2011
    Mic the kick drum with whatever spare mic you got around, it doesn't have to be studio quality. Try standing next to the hi-hat.
  12. Paulabass


    Sep 18, 2017
    At rehearsal I like to sit slightly behind my drummer, so I can see his feet.
    On stage it doesn't matter cause I can hear his kick loud and clear in my wedge, or in ears.
  13. Lance Bunyon

    Lance Bunyon

    Jul 17, 2018
    I watch the kick and snare.
  14. Whousedtoplay


    May 18, 2013
    I've found a video.

    How to Play Bass with a Drummer (Foolproof Beginner Blueprint)

  15. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    Learn the drum part. Sit down at the kit,, have him show you what he is doing. When you know exactly what the drum part is, your bass line will be much tighter.
    Spin Doctor and Whousedtoplay like this.
  16. Malcolm35


    Aug 7, 2018
    Ditto ^ spend some time with any of the how to play drums sites will be time well spent. We do not need to know how to play the drums, but, we do need to understand what and why the drummer is doing what he does.
    HalfStep likes this.
  17. HalfStep


    Jun 23, 2019
    +1 on this!. Getting and practicing with a drum macine helped me immensely. Also, I then went and learned the basic drum patterns on line.YouTube was fantastic for this.
  18. ShanePPA


    Jul 25, 2019
    Vancouver, BC
    Thanks for the suggestions, everyone.
    Learning the drum parts has been the biggest help by far. I'm finding it easier to settle into a similar groove by doing this.
    HalfStep likes this.
  19. Locking in is something you hear and feel, not something you 'see by watching'...

    Try closing your eyes and feeling the notes hit just the right spot, by not thinking about it (did that make sense?)
    HalfStep likes this.
  20. These things are awesome.

    I’ll often have kick as well as my bass going through one.

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