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Discussion in 'Ask Michael Dimin' started by lydina, Dec 12, 2000.

  1. lydina


    Dec 12, 2000
    Hi Mike!

    1. i've been asked this question many times, and i don't really have an answer to it-- How to "groove"?

    i know that it's something u gotta feel in the music, but, help me out here...is there any technique to playing better...more GROOVY basslines?is it something to do with watching out for the drum beat?

    2. also, right now my playing has reached a plateau.;P
    i'm trying to listen to jazz cds and read books...but i do not know how to start playing jazz on the bass...it just sounds too difficult! all the while i'm playing contemporary, a bit of R&B but that's it.

    i want to improve, i want to take any simple song and jazz it up, but i'm not sure how to. Any comments?

    3. Lastly, i've been told that to get the oomph in yr sound, i should get a double soapbar pickup bass. I'm wondering if a P/J bass would lose out to the former if they r both active? hmmm...?!

    i'm searching for a bass, do you have any recommendations if i want one with oomph yet retain a bright sound?
    do u know what are the good pts for Ibanez basses?

    Thanks Mike, sorry to ask so much! but i really appreciate as much help as possible as i'm learning on my own now.


  2. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Groove is the sense of "locking in" with the band and most importantly the drummer. It is, as you say, "something u gotta feel." The one thing about playing a good groove is that it can be a very simple bass line. In order to develop a "groove" try rehearsing with just a drummer, have them set up a simple, R&B type pattern. Play with it, focus on the bass drum. Play a very simple line. Allow the bass line and the kick drum to become one. Give yourself plenty of room for mistakes and development. Once you can establish the bass - kick drum thing, start listening to the other drums. Try to embellish your line with lines that enhance the other drums. Take it slow. Try to absorb as much as possible through these steps. Give your self permission to screw up without getting frustrated

    Try listening without being intimidated or trying to figure out what is going on -just listen for pure enjoyment. Allow yourself to really become intimate with the music. Sing some of the things you hear - melodies, bass lines, solos, etc. (no one need hear your singing). Then try to play - a bit. Find yourself some of these simple songs and sing the jazzed up version. An old teacher of mine once said - "if you can sing it, you can play it."

    Sometimes, you need a kick in the butt to get off of a plateau (I've been there many times). Here are some ideas:
    Try jamming with players much better than you or for that matter some people just starting out.
    Try learning some of the songs on keyboard, learn to hear the harmonies.
    Try some unusual musical settings (i.e. bass and vocal duet).
    Stretch yourself. most importantly, allow yourself to fail.
    Read "Effortless Mastery" by Kenny Werner.
    Get some play along records from Jamey Abersold,
    Take a few lessons,
    get my book, "The Chordal Approach",
    Get Ed Friedland's "walking bass books" or Ron Carter's book or Rufus Reid's books
    check out http://www.bassbooks.com

    I don't know what your budget is. I find that a bass is a very personal thing. Finding a dealer that is sensitive to that is important. You can find nice custom, hand made basses for around 1,000 if you know where to look. If you have less money some of the custom bass builders like Spector, MTD and Brian Moore have Czech or Korean made copies of their basses which have many of the features of their MUCH more expensive cousins. Two of the best and most reliable dealers are Bass Northwest and Bass Alone. Both offer mail order.
    Bass Northwest - http://www.bassnw.com
    Bass Alone - http://www.bassalone.com (tell John that I sent you)

    Hope this helps

  3. lydina


    Dec 12, 2000
    Thanks a lot Mike!

    I'll try what you have suggested, and see where it goes!