playing in the pocket ?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by lowendisthebest, Jun 23, 2008.

  1. lowendisthebest

    lowendisthebest Aspiring BasStard

    ive been here for a little while and ive seen this term come up. i believe i know what it means but ill just throw it out anyway.

    What is "playing in the pocket"
  2. Misterpogo


    Sep 8, 2005
    I'll just throw out my personal perception of this saying;

    Playing in the pocket: playing tight with the band and keeping the groove going.

    Right or wrong?:bag:
  3. Turock


    Apr 30, 2000
    It means that you're really excited, but you don't dare take it out.
  4. xk49w


    Apr 13, 2008
    IMO it is tough to put into words by other than saying that your time is solid and that your lines don't call attention to themselves by anything other than their simplicity and groove. Other players dig playing with you because it makes them play better.

  5. Works for me. Lock with your drummer and put a grin on everyone's face! :D
  6. Johnny Crab

    Johnny Crab HELIX user & BOSE Abuser

    Feb 11, 2004
    Two thoughts:

    If you look at the audience and see happy feet keeping time and smiles on faces, you ARE playing in the pocket.

    If the dancefloor is full of happy folks having a good time and bouncing to the groove you and the drummer are putting out, you ARE playing in the pocket.
  7. That's indeed the ultimate test.

    If the drummer is tight, here's another odd technique. If the kick has an opening somewhere, put your leg close to that one so you feel the kick (unless it's heavily amplified), then try to play along with the kick with improvisations here and there and you could get the groove thing.

  8. The pocket occurs when the drummer and the bassist share the same mind. They both know when and where to put the beats to connect the rhythm to the melody, along with accents and tags. When this happens people's heads start to bob without even trying.
  9. Lowtonejoe

    Lowtonejoe Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2004
    Pasco, WA
    Click on my sig.


  10. bottomzone

    bottomzone Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2005
    Here is a previous post demonstrating how it's done:

    Check out Al Turner absolutely KILLING IN THE POCKET on his Ken Smith with the great Earl Klugh:

    I know that Marcus killed on the original recording of "Mount Airy Road", but I really how Al and his Smith sound!!! Also, Al is one of the masters of using and not abusing space in his lines. The man on the sax is off the hook!!!!

    A Groove is a Terrible Thing to Waste! :cool:
  11. I know I will be flamed, but I listened to this track, and it was so sterile. Groove is for me more than perfection, it's imperfection that makes it human, like cavemen drumming somewhat out of sync but still it's human. --Kent
  12. Scot


    Mar 20, 2004
    Pacifica, CA, USA
    Two truer thoughts have never been spoken.

  13. bassfrenzie


    May 26, 2008
    The groove in Masquerade by George Benson defines the "pocket".

    Youtube it.
  14. T-MOST


    Dec 10, 2004
    NJ via NYC
    We used to call it "pocket pool".
  15. MrBorisSpider

    MrBorisSpider Inactive

    May 8, 2008
    A pocket is a comfortable sonic space where everyone can shake their arses, bang their heads and generally play well over. You'll know it's a pocket if you catch yourself moving with the music without think of it.
  16. T. Brookins

    T. Brookins Supporting Member

  17. +100
  18. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    To me, playing in the pocket is a metaphor for the sense of cohesiveness that occurs when the rhythm section are all listening to each other and playing and reacting to one another almost as a single organism; when that happens, soloists and vocalists can be conveyed is if by a musical magic carpet.

    When we're in the pocket, playing can feel almost effortless, with the exchange of worldess ideas, call & response, picking up on each others' phrasing, dynamics, and lines, and "musical inside jokes" happening fluidly.

    And, of course, there's the enjoyment that results when we can change the way rumps shake on the dance floor when we're in the pocket - being in the pocket is almost like a form of understated collective genius ;)
  19. +10