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Relationships with drummers

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Youngspanion, Nov 14, 2010.

  1. Youngspanion

    Youngspanion Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2003
    Staten Island, NY
    I'm just wondering about bassist relationships to drummers. Like to be a tight rhythm section, what is the best way to develop that?

    Some times I want to Play with him and he's either looking at the computer on his left or looking out into the crowd and I want to like dance or something.

    I dont' know if this is weird. I'm just trying to get tighter.
  2. Gearhead17

    Gearhead17 Supporting Member

    May 4, 2006
    Roselle, IL
    The easiest way to get a good relationship with a drummer is to TALK TO HIM. I know that may seem too obvious, but here is an example.

    My current drummer used to do nothing, but stare at his drums and count the entire show. In one way, this was awesome because he rarely messed up and was amazingly consistent tempo and structure wise. On the flip side, it made him seem a little cold and distant to all of us. If our eyes met on stage he thought I was looking at him funny for screwing up the song, when in fact I just wanted to strike a few dumb rock poses with him. So I brought it up to him several days following the show and made sure I said it nicely. Actually, the whole band joked with him because he is so serious on stage. We all made sure he knew that he was making the band sound great and just told him to relax on stage because he is a joy to play with. Over time, he began to let loose and now he laughs at his mistakes, makes eye contact with us and has a lot more VISIBLE fun with us.

    The other part of our relationship came from practicing together a lot. He made sure I was right with him on the beat. Since he was so consistent, this made me a MUCH better bassist. We constantly talked about our timing and made sure that are playing was not contradicting the other.

    So to answer your question, talk to your drummer while drinking a few beers. Do it casually at first and go from there.
  3. In my experience, it depends on the drummer. You do not have to even look at each other to play together.
    I've been playing with Steve on and off since 1994, and I have noticed now that I am singing more lead, I might go most of a set without even turning around to look at him. This is actually not a problem!

    Listen as you play. You will find certain habits and fills that are consistent with most drummers. I let my drummers "write" some of my bass parts. This develops over time, but you can eventually anticipate each other, and play more together.

    Another thing that helps me is to make recordings of shows, and listen to them in the car, at work, etc. You will see certain "signature" lines he/she will play.
  4. MrFred


    Mar 25, 2007
    Honolulu, HI
    great topic. i've had problems in the past, but i started my current band with the drummer so that connection between us has always been there. like MrDOS said, listen as you play. i have a tendency to be the "lead bassist" which puts me out front with the frontman, so listening is key to my playing.
  5. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    Nothing develops a greater level of trust than shaving your drummers back in the shower. He really has to have the utmost trust in you to ask in the first place, and you really have to be cool with him to go ahead and do it. Just sayin.....

    As an added bonus, the shirtless drum solo seems to get a lot better crowd reaction.
  6. MNAirHead

    MNAirHead Supporting Member



    Listen to the drummer.. play back

    THEN when the time is right.. come up to some discussion of when/why fills are used..

    IF you guys have both been around a bit, you'll quickly learn eachother's core 6 or 7 signatures and cues.
  7. kenlacam


    Nov 8, 2005
    akron, ohio
    back in the day, in a church band far, far away, me and the drummer were really great friends, so we developed a vibe. We didn't even have to look at each other, unless we wanted to do a special break down. But if the chemistry is there, the tightness will come, trust me.
  8. My biggest complaint with my drummer is that he won't take the sunglasses off. Een at practice. I realize that he is quite a few years behind the rest of my band musically, but I can't seem to get through to him the importance of eye contact. I can't tell if he's looking at me or the Freakin wall!!!
  9. Qvist


    Jul 20, 2007
    It's important, at least to me, to have a good relationship with the drummer. Me and my drummer share a lot of the same humour, musical taste and we respect one another. It really makes for an AWESOME foundation in our band because we can sorta predict what the other one is gonna do next, which makes it easier for everyone else as well, having a rhythm section that knows what it's doing. And we all DIG IT, thats most important ;-)
  10. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    The main reason why I ever picked up drums is so that someday I can flap my sweaty man-boobs in public.
  11. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    One drummer I worked with used to ask me to look at him, or turn my bass towards him every once in a while. Especially for the songs he wasn't familiar with, or if we played a stage that didn't let him hear the bass as well. He was great in that he could watch my fingers, and get a pulse for the song from it.
  12. puddin tame

    puddin tame

    Aug 14, 2010
    You're supposed to have a good relationship with everyone you play with
  13. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    The only thing worse than being treated as "only the bass player" is being treated as "only the drummer," like you don't have a thought in your head and are just there to be a human metronome. Our band started out as the drummer and guitarist jamming, I joined later, but I realized in a recent conversation that he and I were now the tightest pair in the band (currently of four) - most confidence in each other, thinking along the same lines, all that. I think part of it is just talking and an important side of that is asking the drummer's opinion on things like how things sound, what songs should or shouldn't make the set list, whether he wants to contribute some vocals, all that.
  14. MegaSwing

    MegaSwing Your Obedient Bassist® Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 26, 2002
    Baltimore, MD USA
    Drummers seem to like me, but I don't understand why. With rare exceptions, I don't usually like THEM.
  15. ive hated my last 2. i respected one because of his playing, but i didnt care for the guy when the music stopped.
  16. Qvist


    Jul 20, 2007
    Never really given that a thought, you're right :| nice post
  17. bassguitar808


    Jul 9, 2010
    Question to the original post,
    Why do you have a computer on stage?
    Why is the drummer checking his email?
    Why is he reading TalkDrum.com?
    Is the modern disaffected causality of the Internet reinforcing his already raging anti-social anti-society sociopathic tendencies to check distant aquaintances Facebook status updates in the middle of a live performance?
  18. MegaSwing

    MegaSwing Your Obedient Bassist® Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 26, 2002
    Baltimore, MD USA
    I've been in several bands where the drummer was the best, most talented, and most musically educated player in the band. It would be foolish to shortchange his musical ideas. Enjoying his company is an entirely different thing.
  19. somegeezer


    Oct 1, 2009
    Live sequencer for backing track maybe? I know plenty of bands that do. Means you don't have to take up more room on the stage or split your pay with more members.
  20. Ski3223


    Mar 27, 2010
    Norman, Oklahoma
    My drummer and I are ingrained into each others skulls. We've been best friends since we were 6 and we've been rocking since we both could play. We don't even have to look at each other to get our cues. It's all a feel thing for us now, but for unfamiliar tunes we have certain looks and movements we give each other.

    Just keep playing with your drummer and be conscious of each other. It'll come with time and familiarity.

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