Songs to Help Groove Better

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by namuxtree, Mar 14, 2014.

  1. I think I've been on cruise control with bass technique and focused too much on the gear long enough (welcome to TB). I've noticed my playing is too "free-flowing" and unstructured, and frankly, lacks groove. I've been so interested in the flashy stuff that I fail at being a pocket player that can hold a groove. Please recommend me some songs to listen to learn and play that will help me establish a better feel for groove! I'm also open to instructional videos that can help me. Basically anything you think that will help me! Thank you!

    P.S. I want to be able to create solid grooves on the fly, but for now, until I establish my sense of groove, I'll just have to emulate first.
  2. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    The other guys will have to furnish some song titles. To me a groove is more of a happening, I do not have 5 or 6 grooves waiting for me to call up. IMO a groove happens when everyone is locked in together and you are feeling the music. When my head, and or body, starts moving with the beat I'm grooving.

    Giving this a little thought, it normally happens for me when I'm using a basic bass line. Something simple so I can loose myself and let the music take over. I grew up on Country I-IV-V-I. When I hear that ole dirt simple progression a groove is bound to happen. You speak of free-flowing if this is letting the music take over, you are getting there, but, the flow should have a repetitive beat that everyone locks into.

    Ed Friedland's book Bass Grooves will give you some basic "grooves", for example;
    Tramp groove = R-5-8-5-8
    Shuffle groove = R-4-7-5 or R-3-5-6, etc. Add the 2 to R-3-5-6 and you have the major pentatonic. FWTW.
    Might check out Ed's book it may give you what you are looking for. The book has a CD. Ed writes good stuff.
  3. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    One good place to start would be the entire Creedence Clearwater Revival catalog.
  4. Precision101


    Sep 22, 2013
    The doors- changeling. Great simple groovin bassline.
  5. jamerson stuff
  6. lancimouspitt


    Dec 10, 2008
    dayton Ohio
    The best advice I can give is really,really,listen to the drummer. If you know the chord progression to a song,lets say an original,your ability to listen to a drummer will allow you to really change the whole dynamics of a song. You can even play the same bass line at different times and make it sound completely different if you focus on it.
  7. tonym


    Apr 12, 2011
    I second Amo's suggestion to check out Ed Friedland's Bass Groves.

    It's all about creating a groove in conjunction with the drummer. Great little grooves to practice in a bunch of different styles, and shows how and why they work. It has the preview feature on Amazon so you can check it out. Really fun.
  8. Tony Gray

    Tony Gray

    Mar 6, 2006
    Winfred likes this.
  9. Jeff Elkins

    Jeff Elkins Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2007
    East Tennessee
    I'm about to post something similar, except replace "groove" with "funk." I recently found that the bass lines in Stevie Wonder's Sir Duke (may leave off with the horn line bridge for now, I'm referring to the rest of it, primarily), Superstition (the basic figure), and Signed, Sealed, Delivered TOTALLY groove. I Want You Back is another great groove.
    I agree that knowing where the drummer is a big key--or mandolin player or banjo player, depending on your genre... if you're practicing on your own, though, I found that playing along to those songs (recently) reminds me to groove.
    Also, I think that Stefan Lessard's bass line in Crush (Dave Matthews Band) grooves pretty hard.
    Whipping Post...
    I'll stop now.
  10. AndrewFord


    Aug 11, 2012
    Los Angeles area
    Endorsing Artist: Line 6, TC Electronics, Yamaha, Elixir Strings
    Improving your groove is a multi-layered task, in general, improving your groove requires discipline to focus on the song and react to whats happening around you, including the drums. But grooving is a general term so the question becomes what type of groove you want to improve. Playing like James Jamerson is not going to necessarily improve your rock groove, playing like Larry Graham is not going to help your latin groove, playing like Marcus Miller will not help your country groove, get the picture. Each style has its set of great players, find out who they are and copy their basslines is a great place to start.
  11. stretch80


    Jan 31, 2005
    agree that it's good to pick the style of music, but then I'd say look for songs you like that have simpler basslines, and work on playing them perfectly - keeping the right time the whole way through and NOT playing a lot of extra riffs and turnarounds -see if you can play a "simple" part perfectly through the whole way - so you're paying attention to the rhythm and keeping your focus there.
  12. adamsmatthewj


    May 4, 2013
    Get that Motown in you. Seriously. Being able to play that stuff correctly and convincingly will force you to find the groove sooner or later!

    Start with the Marvin Gaye record "What's Goin On?". That should keep you busy for a while. Heck, it should still be keeping us ALL busy!
  13. bluesdogblues


    Nov 13, 2007
    Learn shuffle. Swing.
    Any shuffle songs. Any swing songs. Play slow first.
  14. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    As this string has a little age on it now, I've changed the way I think of a groove. In the above answer I thought the notes were the important ingredient for a groove as most of the books on the subject give many different examples of note choice.

    I now feel the important ingredient for a groove is the repetitive, dare I say simple, selection of notes that lock in with the drums. What ever pattern the drummer elects to use we use that same pattern for our notes. I now think of it - when the drummer goes boom boom de boom, our notes are played boom boom de boom.

    So it's a combination of the notes and lockin in with the drummer. Locking in was what I did not understand, Locking in is more than beats per minute. It is bpm and boom boom de boom. Think of a click track. Now think of a drum track. Drum track is what we groove with.

    Of course - IMO
    Last edited: May 9, 2014
  15. One song that strikes me as a prime example of grooving is " I belong to you" by Lenny kravitz. Simple chord structure - C and G all through out but boy does Lenny render a groovy nassline
  16. Listen to Fela Kuti. What aren't you listening to Fela Kuti? Go listen to him right now.
    iunno likes this.
  17. lyla1953


    Jul 18, 2012
    I'm currently working through Ed Friedlands Blues book -It's got some pretty cool play along songs from various artists that are worth checking out for sure.
  18. tangentmusic

    tangentmusic A figment of our exaggeration

    Aug 17, 2007
    Listen to the classic James Gang song Funk # 49. Talk about groove.
    It's a pretty straight forward but funky/rocky guitar part played by Joe Walsh, but the bass groove really makes it special. Songs like this have a lot of open space for some fun bass playing.
  19. mandohack


    May 6, 2011
    MI, USA
    A drum machine. The Zoom B3 or Pandora Mini or something like the upcoming BeatBuddy that have built-in drum patterns are great. Simply start a drum pattern, set a tempo, and come up with a groove on-the-fly. Let it ride for a while, get in the zone.
  20. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    Motown, yes; but Jamerson's got a fair bit going on rhythmically, and he tends to vary his lines rather than simply repeat them. If your current temptation is to overplay lines, James Jamerson might not be the best place to start.

    If you're looking for "Pocket Player 101," check out the Stax/Volt catalog and Stax-Atlantic collaborations: Otis Redding, Booker T, Sam & Dave, Eddie Floyd, Rufus Thomas, Don Covay, Wilson Pickett. It's the vocabulary of Southern soul and R&B bass. In contrast to Jamerson's quiet complexity, on the bulk of the important Stax cuts the bassist (often Duck Dunn) tends to lay down a simple steady groove.

    For some additional schooling on how to let a groove breathe with the spaces you *don't* fill, get familiar with the Meters (George Porter helped build the bridge from R&B bass grooves to funk) and with Robbie Shakespeare's reggae playing.