Staying In The Groove

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by scottrolf, Aug 11, 2013.

  1. scottrolf

    scottrolf Supporting Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    Diamond Bar, CA
    I recently (last year) made the transition from guitar to bass. The LAST thing I want to do is sound like I'm just playing lead guitar on a bass. Dead give-away. I have a deep respect for the bass and players who are masters of their craft.
    My question is, would you recommend getting a metronome for helping me stay in the groove and keeping the beat? Or some other method?

  2. FretlessMainly


    Nov 17, 2010
    Yes, most certainly. But do not use the metronome on all beats, it will suck every ounce of musicality out of what you are playing. Use it first on 2 and 4 and then learn to use it once per measure and practice using in on each of the beats once per measure (play through an exercise using it only on 1, then only on 2, then 3, etc.).
  3. Whousedtoplay


    May 18, 2013
    Are you saying that only bass players need and use a metronome?

    Are you saying that other musicians don't need the metronome?
  4. scottrolf

    scottrolf Supporting Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    Diamond Bar, CA
    If I was "saying" that then I would have said that.
  5. scottrolf

    scottrolf Supporting Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    Diamond Bar, CA
    Thanks for the tip. Makes sense.
  6. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    Metrognomes are fine for keeping time, but for me, the orgasmic groove trance is where the magic happens. Find a great drummer, a great song, close your eyes, tilt your head back........ That is where the groove lives IMO.
  7. Winfred


    Oct 21, 2011
    Nail the "1". Wherever the drummer puts it, nail it.
  8. Get ahold of a more "advanced" metronome and set the click to a steady 16th note. Then play a groove over it, while periodically removing random 16th notes from the click, while maintaining the same groove. Do this until you have only 1 16th remaining. This will help you attain an aural and visual idea of the groove as well as improve your independent timing.
    This exercise is very enjoyable, in my opinion.
  9. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    If all drummers played like metronomes, then I would say it's good practice. But they don't. Drummers almost never hit every beat squarely on the beat. Sometimes they'll be a little bit late with the snare, sometimes they'll rush fills slightly, etc. And in playing with different drummers, you'll feel the groove differently every time. So while metronome practice gets you playing with a click better, it doesn't teach you how to read a drummer.
  10. Mktrat

    Mktrat Seriously, are we not doing phrasing anymore? Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2013
    The Mitten

    As always JimmyM for the WIN!!
  11. I also second JimmyM. I played with a drummer who really liked to watch me, because it helped him keep track of what was going on by how my headstock was moving (apparently I'm a conductor with my bass??). When he told me that I was a bit confused, because most of the drummers I had played with before were almost in their own world for most of the songs...and I was still a little green in my understanding of band dynamics :) .

  12. AndrewFord


    Aug 11, 2012
    Los Angeles area
    Endorsing Artist: Line 6, TC Electronics, Yamaha, Elixir Strings
    Staying in the groove and keeping the beat are two different things, as others have said a metronome will help you with playing in time and not rushing or dragging, but playing the groove or staying in the pocket is a whole other thing. Best thing you can do is listen to bass players that play the groove well in the genre of music you are interested in, then mimic them. This can be challenging for an ex guitar player because it is a whole different mentality.
  13. jmverdugo


    Oct 11, 2012
    Katy TX
    Playing with a metronome is good practice for recording, specially if you are following a electronic beat or recording tracks separately. if you want to practice keeping the time of the song I think is better to practice playing with the song playing in the background, I think it is better to get the feeling of it.
  14. phillybass101

    phillybass101 Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2011
    Artist, Trickfish Amplification Bartolini Emerging Artist, MTD Kingston Emerging Artist. Artist, Tsunami Cables
    yes practice with a metronome. yes, listen to some 70's, 80's, 90's funk songs and some good blues shuffles. Play along with them, yes find a drummer to shed with. You have to practice grooving to become a good groove bass player. It takes great concentration and discipline to make it work. The important thingh to remember is that with a metronome, or drum machine, or drum track, or a live drummer is to actually BE AWARE. All thsese things will help you 'pay attention' more. Time keeping, and groove playing are elements of being aware and paying attention. A metronome helps you practice paying attention to the beat. It's that simple.
  15. pbass888

    pbass888 Supporting Member

    Jul 8, 2009
    New York, NY
    Metronomic time is critical. With a good feel of metronomic time you can feel the swing of playing ahead, on or behind the beat. The best bassists I know here in New York in the jazz world work with the nome daily. All kinds of stuff on how to use the nome can be found with mr google and sons
  16. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    I think playing with a metronome is good practice. Even though drummers vary their timing some (and they do) playing with the metronome keeps you paying attention in just the same way that you have to pay attention to drummers. Doesn't matter if drummers aren't as precise as metronomes. It's paying attention that matters.

    As for the groove try mimicking some other players for starters, and try to articulate the part like they do. You can also find your own grooves to jam on by noodling around until you find a thing you'd like to play for awhile, like a one or two-bar lick. Play it over and over, articulating it differently from time to time. If you do it long enough you will begin to feel elements of grooving in it.
  17. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    Not if the bass player is doing his job! ;) (Most of my playing is without a drummer)
  18. nysbob


    Sep 14, 2003
    Cincinnati OH
    This is an old trick - try taping a penny on your tonearm. :D
  19. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    Timing is organic within tempo and that is your responsibility. As it any drummers responsibility, as it is any musicians. Drummers to not provide the beat, you do not provide the groove, you play with each other to create these things.
    The idea that any one player has the job of time and tempo is an excuse not to rely on and develop your own, and one day it will find you lacking if you do not have control your own.
    Working with a metronome will give you a great relationship to tempo, working with a drum machine will give you a sense of rhythm within tempo, and playing live will force you to use it. :)
  20. Whousedtoplay


    May 18, 2013
    I would paraphrase one expression:

    You, as a bass player, are as strong as your weakest link (musician/team player) in the band.