Rhythm problems

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by swell9, Sep 8, 2010.

  1. swell9


    Sep 8, 2010

    I have been playing bass for about 1.5 Years now. But I think there is a problem with my rhythm. My "feel of rhythm", I would say is pretty good, however. I usually hit the right notes at the right time without having to count if I know the song. But for new songs, and especially those that have notes half a beat off, I struggle a lot. In the end, I get it. But I feel it is taking too much time and preventing me from focusing on other things.

    I have tried counting but I usually mess up. Either my foot taps too fast or just stops tapping after a while without me being conscious of it.

    The bigger problem is that I am not new to this. I was playing the keyboard/piano in the same way. I never counted and just let my "feel" guide me. It works quite a lot of the time but I do not like how this is going.

    Any suggestions?
    Thank you.
  2. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    You may want to clarify a bit what you're talking about, I (and probably others) don't completely understand. Are you having a problem reading rhythems, playing with a drummer, keeping steady time?
  3. M0ses


    Sep 11, 2009
    Los Angeles
    Sounds like he's just having problems playing the more difficult rhythms like off-beats, or maybe sixteenths that aren't on the beat?

    The best advice I know is, slow it WAAAY down, tap your foot, count with the greatest necessary subdivision, and practice it until you get it, then speed it up a bit until you're there. Eventually it will get easier and easier.
  4. +1

    Only trouble is to grasp the idea of subdivision, so some music reading could also help.
  5. spankyc52


    Jul 16, 2009
    OKC, Oklahoma
  6. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
  7. swell9


    Sep 8, 2010
    Yes it is basically messing up on off-beats particularly on new songs or improvisations. And thanks a lot for the advice. Could you elaborate a bit more on "count with the greatest subdivision". I think I know what you mean, but just want to make sure :)

    Thank to everyone else for the help, videos and links. I really appreciate it and will take a look at them surely.
  8. I think he means if you're struggling to play an off time note in the correct rhythm, sometimes you have to really slow it down and alter your counting to get that note in the right place. For example, instead of counting in quarters or eights, maybe you need to slow it way down and count in sixteenths to get it right.

    one, two, three, four
    one and two and three and four
    one ee and uh two ee and uh three ee and uh four ee and uh
  9. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    Learn to read rhythm!

    The single greatest improvement to my sense of rhythm came from practicing reading notation.

    Believe me there is an order of magnitude of difference between playign a a rhythm by feel or memory and knowing exactly where the notes fall.

    The problem is rhythm reading is counterintuitive and difficult, plus the beginner level rhythms are rather boring at first.
    But the payoff is wonderful. I'm still a novice reader , but my level of Rhythmic awareness has improved to the point where I can confidently notate most rhythms I hear.

    some starting places:



    Some tips:
    -use a Metronome.
    -Don't worry about pitch. focus on counting and rhythm
    - reading rests, ties, and dotted notes is as important as(or more than) the notes themselves.
    -Get comfortable Half notes (and rests) before Quarter notes (and rests) , and then move on to eight notes (and rests), and finally Sixteenth notes.
    -Latin Music is awesome for reading practice: It has off beats, dotted notes, ties, and syncopation; yet the pitches are fairly simple and it usually gets no more complicated than eight notes.

    You don't have to confine yourself to bass music either -any sheet music you see can be used to practice rhythm reading.

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