Sense of GROOVE?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by progplayer, Nov 12, 2001.

  1. progplayer


    Nov 7, 2001
    Curious... How do you all practice? I never had a lesson in my life, play only by ear and sense. Seeing I've played in a lot of "METAL" bands I am not as good as "groovin" and playing good bass fills. Do any of you guys have any kind of advice for just practicing "groove/lockin in the pocket"?????

    I have been playing for 7 years and it has mainly been in the "metal" genre. In that time I listen to a few jazz players that struck my fancy. But damn, I could never play like those guys. Too smart for me!!!!

    Anywho, any suggestions of practice on this subject?
  2. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    I'd recommend what you've already suspected....a change of genre. Metal doesn't place as much of an emphasis on groove as other things. My advice would be to check out some old funk like the Meters. Go buy the 2 cd set "Funkify Your Life" and work on copping George Porter's feel. The bass lines are pretty simple, but just learning the lines isn't what you're after....try to determine just what makes the stuff groove like that, how his timing works against what the drummer is doing and how they all work in relation to the general meter of the tune (hint: play WAY behind the beat). Many of the pioneering funk bands would be good choices for this...James Brown, Funkadelic, Earth Wind & Fire, etc. Forget the super-slappers for now. Concentrate on the hard groovers.

    Also, believe it or not, playing some old country music will help your groove a lot. Again, it's simple if you only examine the note choices, but try to absorb how the guys that play simply have to place those notes in just exactly the right place.
  3. progplayer


    Nov 7, 2001
    I guess the best thing for me is to start listening to lots of jazz cds and the cds you suggested. I wouldn't say I'm terrible at "groovin" but its not my main deal. I played in a prog metal band for quite some time and learned to do odd time sigs from just feel from the drummer and a lot of bass runs (almost doin guitar stuff :D ) BUT I've always lacked groove. I bought this new fretless and I want to start practicing simple "groove" lines with it. We'll see how it goes.

    any other suggestions?
  4. Sure, practice with a metronome, BUT - have it click half notes, and play as if they're on 2 and 4. The trick is that it makes you play the downbeat on your own, and also helps you to emphasize the backbeat (the 2 and 4), which will make your lines swing a bit more after you get comfortable with it.

    Mike hit the big thing though, LISTEN to a lot of stuff that grooves. Dig a bit, listen to some old Motown, stuff with Jamerson on it, that's some serious groovin'! Maybe even track down the "Standing In The Shadows Of Motown" book/CD, some transcriptions and renditions of his lines, great study material.
  5. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    It'll change your life.
  6. beermonkey


    Sep 26, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    Yeah man. These cats are preaching the gospel to you. You need to buy a bunch of good old funk and listen. A lot. Listening is as important as picking up your bass and practicing.

    The "Tower of Power Anthology" is another good place to start. Rocco Prestia was a person that Jaco sited as a major influence on his funk-style playing. Let the slappy/poppy players do their thing for now and ignore it. You'll NEVER get good at that if you don't get yourself heavily emmersed in the big ol' phat cosmic groove first. You can't imagine how many players I've heard that can slap/pop 17 billion notes a second and it just sounds so cool and impressive... then you ask them to play with a drummer and make the funk so thick that you have to shower afterwards and they can't do it so save their lives. Sad little monkeys. All of 'em. Don't be a sad little monkey. :D

    My List Of Suggested Funk-ification, it's like college but much more hip.

    Tower of Power Anthology
    The Funk Box (4 cd funk boxed set)
    James Brown Star Time (JB 4cd boxed set)
    Sly Stone (anything by him)
    Earth, Wind, & Fire "I Am"
    Stevie Wonder "Songs in the key of Life"
    Ohio Players "Gold"

    Buy them. Lock the rest of your music in the closet for 6 months and only listen to that. You will see the light, and it will be good.
  7. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    saturate yourself with groove orientated music, funk, jazz, pop, motown, anything that makes you want to get up and dance.

    Id also recomend you get some method books, instructional videos, and take some lessons as well.
  8. Excellent list and advice. Also, there's a book/CD set similar to the Jamerson one for the James Brown rhythm sections.

    Find a drummer that's good at this kind of stuff, and play with him a lot, just the two of you. Avoid guys that play a lot of busy stuff, listen to the guys on the stuff mentioned, and you'll hear simple but groovin' stuff, that's the chit! Find a pocket player, not a chops guy. The groove is the space between the note and the pocket.

    "Can't hold no groove if you ain't got no pocket" - Vic Wooten
  9. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    Great choices for listening, Guys...but maybe we should steer him in a little more friendly direction. I'd advise learning "Sex Machine" before taking on "What Is Hip"...wouldn't you say?
  10. progplayer


    Nov 7, 2001
    I am ignorant when it comes to these players guys ;) I really dig Garry Willis and that cd he plays on with the Wyane Johnson Trio. Lots of groove and runs on that cd.

    Now what is this "special" technique i keep hearing that Mr. Willis has developed? I love his playing.

    Another bassist I dig is Bunny Brunell, anyone know any of his work?????? Thanks guys
  11. Planet Boulder

    Planet Boulder Hey, this is a private

    Nov 10, 2001
    6,482 feet above sea level
    I once had impure thoughts. Oh, and I pluck my ear hair.
    What all of these guys said.

    Also, something I try to do is actually jam with as wide a variety of folks as possible. Right now, I play in a jam-oriented band which plays a lot of Dead, etc., but that's not necessarily what I ultimately want to play.

    I try to jam with guys who play jazz, bluegrass, funk, etc., etc. and stretch my parameters as much as possible.

    It's amazing what you can bring "back" to a style you've been playing once you've you've gotten away from it and gotten into other styles. You can really transform your sound a lot by infusing it with what you've gained from a variety of influences.

    Also, do what these guys suggested and just "listen" intently to a lot of different stuff. Grab a Stanley Clarke CD, for example, put on the headphones, close your eyes and listen to the lines.
  12. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Both Gary Willis and Bunny Brunel have written book/CD sets for bass guitar. If you like their particular approach to playing, either on or both of their books might be worthwhile investments. I have Willis' book and feel it is very good.

    Check Also Brunel's books are sold at Brunel also has a video, "Getting the Right Bass Sound" sold at Carvin.
  13. Somewhere between New Orleans and Motown you'll find the Memphis and Muscle Shoals rhythm sections of the mid to late 60's. It's some of my favorite stuff, mixing a bit of the deep groove of New Orleans with blues, GREAT singers and a little more rock and roll grit than the Motown records of the same era.

    The Memphis sound is probably best found on Otis Redding's albums, with Otis Blue and King and Queen my favorites. Otis' unsung touring band can be heard on In Person At The Whisky A Go Go. To catch Dunn and crew at their best live, you have to get the Rhino box set of the Monterey Pop Fest.

    The Muscle Shoals section can be heard on Aretha Franklin's recordings I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You) and Lady Soul.

    For "best of" Otis and Aretha compilations, check for recommendations.

    Finally, available only on compilations is a great mix of Memphis, Muscle Shoals and other Atco South players with Wilson Pickett. The Very Best of Wilson Pickett is the single cd version.

    Listening to and playing any of this stuff will make you move your hips, let your backbone slip and sing ch-cha-chaaaain in the shower. :D
  14. I always considered Rocco Prestia a fairly busy bass player. What sets him apart is the fact that he can use a lot of notes while still anchoring the pocket and propelling the groove. Take a listen to one of their 'ballad' type songs like Your Still a Young Man. Even though it's a slower song, Rocco is all over the place and yet it still sounds tasty and not over done.;) :)
  15. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    I think CHARRED meant that his bass lines didn't contain a lot of different pitches, just a couple, but they were played with taste.

    This is my guess, I don't know for sure what he meant. That bayou climate can go to your head.
  16. "Make the funk so thick you have to shower ..."

    Oh man! That was one of the best lines I've ever heard! And let me tell you, it ain't easy! But when it works, you can sit back on it and ride ...

  17. SPAZZBLO is kerekt, I was referring to the note selection. Rocco is the king of making alot happen with one or two notes.

    And it's not my upbringing in a humid climate that's giving him difficulty in understanding me. It's his living where the ground won't stand still that's got him all confused, his brain has been rattled too much.
  18. dheat


    Feb 5, 2000
    Hey man, if you want to hear how metal can groove check out Clutch. They do alot of odd time stuff, but you can always keep your head going. That's some groove right there. It sure is.

    Elephant riders to the north!
  19. gweimer


    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    Groove really isn't that hard - you need to move your body when you play. If you ain't dancing, you ain't grooving. Groove just naturally makes someone want to move.
  20. "What Is Hip?"

    Did I hear What Is Hip?

    HIP IT IS!!!!!!!!!!!


    Sorry, had to do it. Yes, check out Tower of Power.

    Earth Wind and Fire was mentioned, check out "In The Stone" by them. I've come to the decision no matter how MUCH I practice the timing on that I won't get it..hehe. The only way I can understand it is by playing it by ear. In Jazz I have the written sheet, and well, it just confuses me more.

    So check out that song, that has MAJOR groove power.

    But especially What Is Hip. When I play that song I can't help but move around. Its impossible to sit down and play that song.