locking in with the drummer

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Blunk, Feb 24, 2003.

  1. Blunk


    Aug 14, 2002

    We've gotten a new drummer in our band, and myself and he are finding it hard to get tight when we play - i mean getting the drums and the bass to gel...cos a good rhythm section will make our good band better (fingers crossed and all that ;) but because of where we live we can only meet up once
    a week (we're both at different colleges) to practice:(

    Does anyone have a tips on how i could work on getting tighter with the drums, i was thinking of getting the drummer to record some drum beats for me to jam with by myself, and record some bass lines for him, but apart from that would anyone have any other recommendations - bass players i should listen to? Chi Cheng IMHO is a real tight bass player.

    Thanks for any tips and advice!
  2. G'day Blunk,

    perhaps you could describe what seems to be going wrong from your perspective, it may make it easier to answer your question more specifically..

    having said that I know I've been mystified by this very thing in the past.

    I've recently spent a long time in one band ( five years ) wondering for ages if I was at fault because the rhythm section didnt quite sound like I thought it should.
    In the last three months I've got involved in a side project ( a three piece..bass ,guitar and drums ) and have been surprised by how good it sounds with a different drummer... we seem to be on a similar wavelength.

    Anyway, outside of an imbalance between you in terms of experience, talent etc my two cents worth is that it can be a matter of communication and hearing how each other is interpretting the pulse of the song. Taping stuff for one another could be a viable way of learning where you're each coming from in that respect if oyu're not able to meet all that regularly...however once a week is as good as it gets where I live.


  3. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Stand beside him so that you can easily communicate with each other and pick up the same cues from the rest of the band. Simple things, like being able to see the drummer's foot on the bass drum pedal can sometimes help a lot and help you reach the blissful state of being two minds joined in the service of one groove :D

  4. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Something to try-

    If you have a drum machine, enter this in(or maybe have your drummer learn it)-
    Each "-" represents a 1/16th note/rest.

    Ride(Quarter notes on the ride...acts a the metronome)-



    First off, learn the KICK drum 'pattern'-
    In Bar 1, play ONLY the "1", "& of 1", "& of 3"
    In Bar 2, play ONLY the "& of 1", "3", "& of 4"
    That's SIX notes(you pick the actual pitches)...lock it in...don't deviate, the kick & bass should sound as one.

    Learn the snare 'pattern'-
    In Bar 1, play ONLY the "& of 2", "e of 3", "& of 4"
    In Bar 2, play ONLY the "e of 1", "2", "e of 2", "a of 2", "e of 3", "a of 3", "4", "e of 4", "a of 4".
    Bar 2 is pretty busy!

    Again, play ONLY what the snare is suppoed to ber playing; in other words, fight your natural urge to land on the DOWNBEATs...the snare is mostly in the BACKBEAT(takes some concentration to make it stick, too!). ;)

    Once you feel you can lock in both parts...begin experimenting. Play 'what you feel'; this may be playing SOME of both parts...& it may be NOT playing! That is, you may 'feel' like playing the spaces(you let the drummer do the busy stuff whilst you lay back).

    Eventually, I would experiment with displacing, say the KICK drum 'pattern'...maybe play the KICK 'pattern' a 1/4 note "late" or even an 1/8th note "late".

    Since I've probably cofoozed you-
    Ask yer drummer!

  5. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Something that has worked for me - using my Korg Pandora PX-3B (there is a PX-4B out there now, too; which means the PX-3B's are selling for less money).

    It has about 50 different beat styles, "Motown", "6/8", "Thrash", ad nauseaum, all of which can be slowed/speeded-up/volume-adjusted. It's merciless.

    The only downside, compared to "real life" is that it doesn't make mistakes like a "real drummer" or a "real bassist."

    But that little gizmo has surely improved my groove.
  6. I took note of the comment to keep an eye on the drummer. We use a Roland V electronic drumset and I many times can't hear the drummer in the monitor. He wears a headset monitor so this isn't a problem for him, but for some reason, the exact postion I'm located the monitors cancel out (???). Many times I can hear him hitting the pads, but nothing from the monitors. Everyone else hears the drummer just fine so they can't figure why I don't. I believe its just my placement on stage, but anyway, I keep a close eye on him just off my left shoulder and I find it easy to keep in sync that way. Actually, he can keep in sync with me just fine because what we use for a bass monitor is a 4x10 cab that sits right behind his back, driven by an Ampeg B5R. I'm a very visual person and can keep rhythm easily with motion. I can say the same thing about metronomes. Electronic metronomes that just blink and click drive me crazy, so I prefer the old ones with arms that swing back and forth. I love motion, I can anticipate the top of the beat better. See if keeping a watch on the drummer helps you by visually picking up his movements (most likely the kick drum).
  7. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    It's not fun when you can't hear the drums. Wow. Reminds me of the one time we opened for Lone Star; our drummer hadda use their guy's kit...the kit was in one of those 'glass houses'. What made that worse...Lone Star used in-ear monitors so the local sound reinforcement company/flunkees neglected to bring any real monitors for the sap opening band. Talk about s-u-c-k_age to the nth power.

    ...bassists oughta think about anchoring themselves right next to the hi-hat.
    Generally, the hi-hat is the most consistent thing goin' on.
    Just my quarter...
  8. Ziggy


    May 9, 2001
    Orange County, CA
    Okay, I'll throw my nickle into the pot...
    I'm currently rehearsing for a 'Rock n' Roll' stage show. Of the 56 tunes, I'm playing about 40. Of that, a small number of them are from the "Motown" / 'Apollo' years. The drummer, apparantly an 'old timer' that spent much of his playing time doing basic 50's rock, can't seem to get the 'soul' syncopation! Doesn't make for a very convincing rendition of the era...

    For your situation, however, whether you're mixed through the P.A. or not, you should be locked with the kick. Following that, would be the snare. Those two parts of the kit and your bass notes are the backbone that keeps the song/s sounding tight and solid.

    In the event this drummer just doesn't have the 'timing' to lock into, you might consider auditioning for another drummer...

    michael s.
  9. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    Some musicians don't communicate very well. Some players are so involved with what they are playing that they don't listen to anyone else. Let's use a social situation as an example. Take 5-6 mates sitting around a table talking about football. Some are talking, some are listening and others are sitting there thinking about their girlfriend.

    Look at your drummer and if he's looking around, smiling at your mistakes, or crazy fill ins then he's listening and taking part. If he's staring at his snare drum and the kick is all over the place better start looking in the bassist wanted ads.