Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Robbie Butler, Oct 7, 2003.

  1. right i've haven't been playing bass very long...and at the moment i've tryin to play all amercian rejects swing swing and i thought atlast the other day i got it :D so i was like "w00t" went to show my brother and he said i got the timin wrong...but im 100% sure i got the timin right any one got any ideas how i can?
  2. Purchase a metronome and practice with it. This will help you develope good time! They cost about 10 bucks!



    ;) Treena
  3. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    Absolutely, buy a metronome, essential, but there's a bit more too it I think, they are painfully irritating at first and it can be difficult to get on with them

    My advice to help with this sort of thnig would be to tap your foot to the beat and sing the line you're trying to play.
    Your ears can hear everything that is going on in the line and you're much more able to replicate the part with your voice than through your fingers.
    If you sing it in time first, then try to play it you can hear where you're going wrong much easier.

    Then, when you buy a metronome you wont need to tap your foot :)
  4. Inthepocket


    Oct 3, 2003
    ....better still;)

    .......Go to kazzaa and DL a program called fruity loops(try and find the newest vers)! Its not the the best of progs, but i find the drum sequencer on it to be quite handy!

    Sequence up a drum beat of some kind, and practice your bassline over that....

    I still use my metronome everyday ....but lately ive been practicing all the boring stuff like 2 octave scales (etc) over funk grooves! It feels asthough you're playing music, instead of just "practicing" ..........It might also help you 'understand' the bassline more, due to the fact you can hear it in context with a "drummer"

    But if you dont wanna do that ....DEFINITELY get yourself a metronome

  5. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    Actually, I have to say I disagree with you there Inthepacket...

    practicing with a drum loop is indeed more musical and so much more fun, but it's not as good a practice for internal timing as playing with a metronome. With a metronome you have to create the groove yourself cause all you have is a click on the beat. Whereas with the drum machine the groove is there for you all ready.

    ...but as you said the machine wil be good practice for playing with an existing beat.. but it still wont compare to a real drummer - the looseness, fills etc
  6. Inthepocket


    Oct 3, 2003
    hmmm....i suppose you have a good point! But it depends how articulate you are with your practice ......I guess some begginners may just hear the drums and jump right into it without really disecting each beat.........But i did years of hardyards on my metronome before i even discovered a sequencer, so i guess its a bit different for me! .....

    I used to sit at home for hours and put the click in all sorts of weird spots ......like, only have a click on 'beat 4', or on the off beat of 2, and stuff like that .......Its pretty tough, but it teaches you to subdivide, real fast

    But at the moment, im loving practicing all my scales and permutations with a pattern......It feels alot more musical, and more importantly, its funner! I also put the tiiniest touch of swing on the loop so its got more of a pocket........its still very "plastic" though.....
  7. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
  8. Sonorous


    Oct 1, 2003
    Denton, TX
    i never even considered all this "mumbo-jumbo"... i've had perfect timing on everything ive tried to play, except for a few "sublime" songs (what i got, doin' time, and santeria)

    all my previous problems i would just practice for an hour or so on that song and it would be fixed
  9. another good thing to learn if you've got disputes about timing is music theory. I'm thinking that if you're solid on the basics, you shouldn't ever have anyone telling you that your timing or rhythm is wrong. That is, unless they're wrong...err..then you can teach them why you're right with confidence :D
  10. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    Hmm, not sure I agree on this?

    A players timing can ALWAYS improve (God knows mine can!).. and there was ALWAYS be someone out there with better timing and feel.

    Also, when playing in a group you might have to adapt your feel to the group. You may well be playing in perfect time, but with an inappropriate feel, too straight, too much swing, etc, etc
  11. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    Cass posted:
    Yeah, a drum machine can lull you into a false sense of security.

    >> Agreed :)

    You think you have a good groove goin on when what you're playin really wouldnt swing from a rope.

    >>> That's not strictly what I meant... I'll try to explain what I mean...

    IMO - If a bass line is grooving with a drum pattern then it is grooving - period. If you take away that drum pattern and it doesnt groove any more it is irrelevant - it was creted to groove with the drums.

    In the studio you record over a drum track - then the engineer removes the drum track to check the recording of just the bass... it can often sound dodgy, right? (well in my exerience anyway!)
    Very often it'll sound like it has slightly sketchy timing and the groove will be noticabley weaker.
    Now I think that is irrelevant because it is being played with a drum track - the groove is not JUST the bass or JUST the drums, it's both.

    What I really meant was that when playing with a drum machine the actual groove you're going to play or enhance is there already.
    Any drum pattern has a feel - it has kick, snare and cymbals all arranged to create a groove.

    Whereas with a click has no groove whatsoever - it is just a count of time. So when playing to a click you have to create your own groove - you have to decide whether to play ahead or behind the beat, to play straight or to swing etc etc

    Making a groove happen with a click is much tougher.. but essentuial if you ever want to get a bass intro or a bass only break in a song!
  12. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    The groove is created by a combination of all the instruments playing - if you took a grooving unit of bass and drums and stuck a weak guitarist into the mix, they could probably kill the groove pretty dead. Likewise, if you put a bassist and drummer together but they fail to listen to each other, they might groove like nobody's business individually but it will sound like a mess when they play together.

    Even if you can get a groove going with a drum machine, working with a live player might turn out to be a little different - not least because a drum machine will never listen to what you play whereas a good drummer might sometimes attempt to follow your lead.

    Good timing isn't purely mechanical - it's as much about listening and using subtle nuances as it is about nailing each beat exactly to the nearest millisecond.

  13. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    On this note, I have a fairly pointless anecdote... maybe you'll see the point, maybe not...

    In an audition (I was auditioning) last weekend the guitarist - an existing band member - said he wanted particular track to "swing more", then he said "actually I dont know what swing is, but I want more of it in this track!".

    To which the drummer (also being auditioned) replied "well a test of drummers, and bassists, depth of knowledge is to ask them to define 'swing'!".

    The lead singer, then looked at me and said "So, Howard, what is swing?".

    To which I replied "f~~~ off" !! :D

    (Myself and the singer met the previous week and got on really well, so it wasnt as harsh as it sounds...) :)

    At the time I wasnt about to go into a lengthy debate to prove that I had an understanding of what swing was, but the question has been bugging me all week.

    In books I've read that swing is a dotted 8th note triplet feel. So take 8th note triplet, dot the first note and remove the middle note. If you tap this on your hands you can hear what it's getting at - you can hear how this is almost swing-like, but overly mechanical.

    To this I add that swing "drives"- it pushes forward and doesnt lag behind the beat.

    BUT that this doesnt describe it, since it's not as mechanical as that.

    Now, I read a while back an article on BBC news where some "science dude" took a digital sample of a top jazz bass players swing bass line and measured the time between each note - in relation to tempo and meter - to have a computer analyse the data and come up with a mathematical answer to "what is swing?"
    Apparently the computer conluded that there was no definite pattern by which swing could be defined.. but it was accepted that the line itself was very much swinging!

    So, after some consideration I've come to the conclusion that swing is a human feel accomplished by playing a natural driving groove based around a dotted 8th triplet feel.
    And that slight variations in tempo and feel, pushing and pulling over the beat - all unnoticable to the human ear - are what creates true swing.

    what wulf was saying made feel like spouting off about it.. sorry if i bored y'all :rolleyes:
  14. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    My, Howard! What a way you have with words ;)

    Swing is a bit like walking with a bounce in your step.

    As far as reading music goes, it relies on you adjusting the way you interpret the dots. When you see a pair of quavers you would normally play each one with an equal time value, subdividing the beat into two equal halves. Swing makes the first portion a bit fatter and, therefore, the second portion a bit leaner.

    I'm not sure about dotted notes combined with triplets - the feel could be written as a quaver + quaver = dotted quaver + semiquaver or as quaver + quaver = tied triplet quavers + single triplet quaver.

    In any case, it's not a strictly mathematical thing - just the first note borrows some of the time belonging to the second note.

    If it bounces, it's swing and, if it limps, it's not :D

  15. I don't think that we're talking about the same "timing". Since this person played it for his brother, i'm assuming that it was just by himself(with no accompaniment) so either his rhythm is wrong, or his brother's rhythm is off. I think we've started to discuss timing in terms of groove, and i don't think that's what the parent poster meant by "timing" :bassist:
  16. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    Yes good point... I was just off on one!

    Well, yes. I've read both descriptions in various books... all kinda make sense, but none really nail it.

    I know, I know, it's a gift ;)
  17. Has anyone noticed that Robbie Butler has not posted back to this thread..........just an observation!

  18. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    What you gettin at?

    You think we scared him off?

    Maybe he's got himself a metronome and is practicing hard?!