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Playing over jazzy, off time drum fills?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by jmattbassplaya, Dec 2, 2012.

  1. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    Tampa, FL.
    Hey guys,

    So I've been paying super close attention to my drummer over the past several months and I've begun to notice that my ability to lock in with my drummer when he does fills could be better; more specifically when he does jazzy styled fills.

    He's told me that what he likes to do when he does fills is give his beat a different time signature on top of what our band is playing. So if we're playing in 4/4, he'll change his beat around and do the fill in something like 3/4, 5/4, 7/8, etc... He always maintains his ability to come back into the original beat no problem, so I know he's not BSing :D

    Now what I've found is that his change in rhythm will often affect how my part sounds on top of it. Sometimes it works, but sometimes if I am trying to do my own fill in 4/4 it comes out sounding awkward as we both are trying to emphasis different beats in the bar.

    I'm just curious if this is something jazz cats deal with on a regular basis and if there is a good method to dealing with this sort of thing. Hopefully my question makes sense, as I know my ability to explain it is hard to ask without specific examples. And for the record, whenever we play in the same time signature as each other we never have issues. This really only happens when he does these jazzy sorts of fills.

  2. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings
    I played with a drummer who used to do this. At first, I found that the best thing to do was to just stay in the time signature that I was playing in. I eventually started recording rehearsals. I would listen to them on my own and developed bass parts that would fit in better with the drummers time signature changes.
  3. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    Tampa, FL.
    Probably a good idea. We really should try to get some more recorded rehearsals done so I can analyze what he does a bit more.
  4. This question made me think of this video:

    Really like what Foley does here, keeping it down while Chris Dave stretches. Obviously there are more options, but I love how the 2 of them always come back to that strong 1 together.
  5. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    Tampa, FL.
    That was sick! I didn't quite dig it at first, but every time they'd all come back in with the main groove on the 1 I would lose it! So cool! It has definitely given me some ideas to consider with this "issue" :)
  6. Nice!

    This is another good one:

    I'm sure you'll recognize what Foley is playing. :)
  7. Sloop John D

    Sloop John D

    Jun 29, 2012
    If you want to follow your drummer better when he plays around with the time signature, you might want to start studying rhythm in more depth.

    I think one of the best ways to start is to look at drum rudiments. Drum rudiments are basically the various types of drum patterns a drummer can select from. I think there's about 40, and each one can be played over different time signatures.

    There's an incredible number of resources online for learning drum rudiments. If you start working through them on your bass, you should start to develop a better understanding of how your drummer is putting his fills together.
  8. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    I try to keep up with my own count when the drummer is like that. Frankly, I find jazz drumming to be awkward to play along with, even without a fill.
  9. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    I went the other route...initially, I tried to copy his thing...then he explained that it was his thing & I should keep to what I was doing. He wanted that contrast where something sounded askew...similar to a bit of what Coltrane21 posted in his Foley links.