Tips for making the leap from two feel to four feel?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Sgroh87, Jan 27, 2014.

  1. Sgroh87


    Dec 4, 2012
    DFW, Texas
    I've been playing bass for around six months now after six months of guitar and a couple years of saxophone. I like to think that my understanding of chord shapes and functions is pretty decent, but I'm having a hard time with walking four to a bar. I've been working on Autumn Leaves and I can do the changes somewhat comfortably with a two feel (with roots, thirds, and chromatic approaches) but when I move to trying to do it in four, my brain and hands seem to forget what they're supposed to be doing.

    Should I take the tempo down? Learn to play it perfectly by memory in two and then move on to four?
  2. wrench45us


    Aug 26, 2011
    Here's a suggestion for what it's worth.
    Buy the Todd Johnson DVD volume 1 and 2. Volume 1 is chords, volume 2 is scalars. In the back of volume 2 is 4 pages of Autumn Leaves exercise (among others) That covers and expands on what's was covered. I think it's a brilliant exposition for beginning walking bass. (at least it was and is for me.)
    Don't rush on any of this. Let all these exercises sink in. Todd talks about playing each 100 times. I don't think he's kidding. 6 months isn't very far along. Be patient.
  3. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    Chord tone exercises IMO are as important as scale exercises. Why? When we get to the point that we can see a chord and our fingers already know what specific chord tones are needed for that chord, then we are ready to take that to songs and play walking bass lines.

    4/4 time is used quite a lot in the songs I play so the "4 feel" would have a place in what I do. Certainly start with just the root, then your "2 feel" of the root and something - I'd go R-3 or R-b3 depended on the chord being major or minor. But, I think you need to go back and start getting a "4 feel" into muscle memory.

    IMO - Get four note patterns down - your "4 feel", into muscle memory first then let the music decide if the "2 feel" is needed.

    Cmaj7 chord R-3-5-7
    Cm7 chord R-b3-5-b7
    C7 chord R-3-5-b7
    Cm7b5 chord R-b3-b5-b7

    Get that 4 feel into muscle memory and take it into other chords beside the C. See a chord and your fingers are already doing what they need to do.

    That is how I would do it, however I've not seen the book that Wrench mentioned. I'd also look into the book, as it has specific exercises for Autumn Leaves.

    Good luck.
  4. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    Sound like you are creating an issue that is about how you think, rather than what you play.

    If you cut the tempo in half and play with a four feel you are, if you think about it this way, you are playing a two feel as such as it will feel the same as it does playing a two feel at twice tempo.

    You need to understand that tempo is consistent so the sub-divisions are making you feel rushed, it should not be seen as getting faster, just more sub divisions that come round more often.

    Playing at 100BPM is faster than 80BPM, but if you have to play eighth notes at 80BPM it will sound faster than playing half notes at 100BPM.....but not feel faster of you sub -divide down you counting to been more feel.
    check out the link, try the exercises, with the counting, and feel what it is like to add more notes to a consistent tempo and learn to feel more and learn to count less.

    Bass Trilogy


  5. jbalou02


    Mar 8, 2010
    I studied jazz in college but I studied bong rips way more, so I might be out of line here...what about tossing in some half steps up or down to your chord notes and fake it for a while. Maybe it'll just come to you? I faked it for about 2 years and now all of a sudden I haven't had a drink in like 5! Woo!
  6. bass_case

    bass_case Maintain low tones. Supporting Member

    Oct 23, 2013
    Miami, FL
    +1 for bong rippage.

    Making it swing is more important than the note choices. Repeat your 1-3-5-7 notes if you get stuck. I find that the transitional/passing tones almost play themselves when the rhythmic flow is happening.