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Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Fishbone304, Jun 9, 2005.

  1. Fishbone304


    Jun 9, 2005
    Thanks for taking a look everyone. I figure what better way to join a community then starting a thread without prying and trying the old posts that might potentially point me in the right direction. :p Good to be here.

    My question is rhythm. I believe its a hugely overlooked part of the bass, maybe because everyone that plays is naturally very good at it (sarcasm). Sure, we all learn to play quarter, half, thirds, fulls, etc, etc, etc and play them well. However, thats not my problem...not at all.

    I'm not bad at seeking a great lick in which the the notes all sound very good together. However, I noticed that theres not alot of good rhythm in the lines...not funky, jazzy, nothing. Sure that'd be fine for alot of bands, but even a remote band to me like System of a Down, BYOB...the chorus lick showed a great rhythm.

    What do you guys practice to get good, funky sounding (although not necessarily funk), non-generic bass lines with those right notes you find that fit so well together?

    Greatly appreciated.

  2. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    You practice a lot of generic bass lines and dissect them until you figure out why people use them so much.

    Seriously. You can learn a lot about creating original lines that sound good from listening to lines that are used a lot. You start to understand why these lines work so well, then you listen to the more original stuff and you can see where even the most original bass players out there use a lot of these generic patterns.
  3. SamHD


    Nov 22, 2004
    Good question. I'll be soaking-up the replies in this thread.
  4. Sometimes I find it easier to start with the rythm and forget about the notes.
    I just play the root note and try to find an interesting rythm that fits the drums perfectly, almost as if you were playing a cowbell or something ... (concentrate on the drums, especially the kick drum)
    Then I'll fill in the notes afterwards.
  5. thewanderer24


    Apr 29, 2002
    SJ, CA

    My teacher drills this into my head constantly. If you don't have the rhythm great notes will sound terrible. If you have spot on rhythm, you can get away with lots of questionable notes.

    Start by putting your bass down and tapping or clapping out a bass line before you put notes into it. You'll have no choice but to focus on the rhythm. When you get that drilled in your head, pick up your bass again and try to add notes, but the rhythm is the FIRST responsibility. Much better to play a "bad" note in time, than a "good" note out of time, IME.


    Of course, I am not saying the notes don't matter, but Rhythm always comes first.
  6. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Practice with drum/percussion books...learn to think/feel like a drummer/perscussionist.

    I have yapped about this many times prior-
    Example: Take a Clyde Stubblefield 2-bar beat/transcription.
    1)Play only the kick drum notes on the bass.
    2)Now play only the snare hits...this should move you & your bass into the backbeat(i.e. you won't be playing on either the "1" or "3").

    Take a bongo or ago-go rhythm outta a Latin perscussion book. Play it solid without varitiation...then play it backwards(while keeping to the same drum beat).

    Another thing is to take one of your favouirite bass figures(for now, use a 1-bar figure)& move it by an 1/8th note...in other words, do not begin playing on "1", begin on the "& of 1". Note: The drums will be begin playing on "1". This simple little exercise will test your concentration(you may find yourself graviationg towards the "1" along with the drum beat. Don't allow that to happen!).

    Displaced by an 1/8th note becomes-

    Practice in 1/2 time over a drum beat that is playing 'the time'
    Practice in doubletime over the drum beat that is playing 'the time'

    Practice playing in 4/4 over a drum beat that is in 6/8.
    Practive playing in 6/8 over a drum beat that is in 4/4.

    Take one of your favourite bass figues & make it into something ODD(that still grooves). Practice that to a drum beat that is in 4/4.

  7. rllefebv


    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    Excellent post!! There is enough rhythmic practice in this single post to keep a guy going for weeks! It deserves a bump...

  8. Recording yourself to a drum beat or metronome is a great way to work on rhythm, because what may seem tight to you could be pretty sloppy when you listen back to it, sorry to say.

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