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Playing in Time (or as close to as possible)

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Wadge, Aug 8, 2005.

  1. First the disclaimer: I've done a search and haven't come up with much. So please point me to the right direction if there exists.

    Ok, that out of the way - Over the past months I've been asked very frequently to record bass for a variety of artists and the studio being the magnifying glass it is, I've discovered a big problem with my playing.

    When the bass line is shown as a wave on the screen, i notice that I am not playing very well in time. Actually, I do not need to see the wave on the screen itself as I can hear in on the playback. I hear that I am not playing bang on with the bass drum for instance. Now that my attention has been drawn to it, I can here that my playing is 'sloppy' time wise. Please note that my timing isn't that bad that it is audible to anyone else who is not hearing with a really critical ear. But the mere difference in sound produced when a note is played where it actually should be played (time wise) makes me want to achieve as good time as possible.

    The recording engineer assures me that my timing isn't that bad but obviously this irks me, particularly when the session guitarist walks in and plays all his riffs in very good time.

    Ok, now for the question. What is the best way I should go about to improve my timing. All comments will be greatly appretiated.
  2. ladros2


    Jun 2, 2005
    three words:



  3. Those are three very good words!

    Developing a critical ear also has to do with disconnecting yourself so you can listen to the sound of your playing as if it was someone else's.
  4. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    Recording yourself so that you can see the wave form in relation to a click track/grid is also a fantastic way to help improve your time. Since I've been recording so much in the past year or so, I've had to seriously hone in on refining my time, thing is, it's one of those things that you don't necessarily 'hear', but, it all comes together in final mix and if the cut has wonky time, it weakens everything else.

    That said, obtaining very precise time control is probably the most challenging thing to accomplish, so don't be too flustered if you don't get it right away.
  5. DrewBud


    Jun 8, 2005
    One Excellet excercise is setting the metronome as slow as it can go (40 or 60 BPM) then playing a scale making sure to hit each note right on the beat. Once you can do that without missing beat, start playing 8th notes, the Triplets, then 16th notes.

    It's much harder than it sounds and will get your time really solid.
  6. Pcocobass


    Jun 16, 2005
    New York
    I've also found that this is the BEST technique for me, personally. When I first started doing this, I noticed a difference in my time playing within a couplea weeks...

    Drewbud - Just checked out your profile. Did you get that from Harvie? He's the man!
  7. seanlava


    Apr 14, 2005
    i've found that subdividing the beat into it's smallest basic rhythmic component helps me keep better time. For instance, if i'm playing a slow blues in 12/8 (something i have to do a LOT of in my band) I might be playing dotted quarter notes, but in my head I'm counting three eighth notes per beat.
  8. That sounds like solid advice. I'm on to it. Thanks guys.
  9. Joe Garage

    Joe Garage

    Mar 13, 2005

    I 100& agree!! Recording my bass lines, analysing it, and comparing it to the grid has been extremely helpful, altough a human drummer does not always play right on the grid.