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Trouble grooving

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Mike12344567, Feb 27, 2016.

  1. Mike12344567


    Jul 23, 2015
    Hello everybody!

    Ever since I received my new bass I have had some trouble getting into a groove and finding a groove. I feel i have been more of a stereotypical bassist just on one string over and over again.

    Anyway, are there any good building blocks for making a groove, or just keeping one from getting stale.

    Thanks, Mike
  2. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    Play to some recorded music that you like.
  3. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    My only advice is keep it simple. I always lose the groove when I try to get "Fancy". I am sure others will chime in with better advice but That's my 2cents.
  4. skwee


    Apr 2, 2010
    Are you breathing? Remember to breathe.
  5. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    "Groove" could mean a number of things to me... Do you feel like you are lacking a connection to the music that you are trying to play, or that you are physically not playing in the pocket the way you feel you ought to?
    Matthew_84 and Mike12344567 like this.
  6. Mike12344567


    Jul 23, 2015
    A combo of both.

    I feel that for my experience as a bassist and my skill as a bassist should be more noticeable. I can usually go around the fretboard in a pretty melodic way and make everything sound beautiful.

    Also I have been in the pocket pretty good but I cant fill in empty space like I used to.
  7. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    When I find myself hitting a wall in any aspect of my playing, I find that the quickest remedy is to do what @RustyAxe suggested and to play something that I like or to seek out a song that I've never played and learn it.

    If you are concerned about too much open space in your composition, perhaps you are dealing with a phrase that "wants" open space? I obviously don't have a clue about your goals as a musician, but working on an existing song that you know is strong can help push your writing/timing/technique back on track.
    Gearhead17 and Matthew_84 like this.
  8. IMO To play a groove you have to feel the groove. Best way to feel the groove is to first identify the pattern the groove is based upon. Listen to the song and clap the groove beat. Once established, most of the time, the groove stays the same through out the song.

    Listen and clap the beat. When this flows go get your instrument.
  9. Jhengsman


    Oct 17, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
  10. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    In my view, "groove" means reinforcing the rhythmic style of the song and genre. The two components are: Being able to perceive that style, and being able to execute it.

    Perceiving the rhythm of a song is probably just a form of ear training. People suggest things like learning to sing what you hear. Moving your body to the rhythm is another suggestion. For instance, classical students are taught: Your body is your metronome.

    As far as executing it... technique. This doesn't necessarily mean playing fast passages, but being in good enough command of your instrument that it does what you want, exactly when you want it, so you're not distracted by the mechanics of finding and playing the notes.
    Matthew_84 likes this.
  11. DavC

    DavC Supporting Member

    May 17, 2005
    Tallmadge , Ohio
    listen and play along with some different styles that you've never played around with before ... ?! or try to learn some lines that different instruments play .. get out of your comfort zone .!

    then make a new comfort zone .. !
    Benny the Finger and Doublesixes like this.
  12. Skeptismo


    Sep 5, 2011
    I think, (and take this with a grain of salt), that a great way to improve your groove is to really listen to the drummer...specifically how the drummer works the kick. You know how when you adjust eq, you are supposed to start flat and cut, not boost? I feel like for really groovy playing it's almost the same...I want chest thumping hits, and when the hits aren't there, I want the absence to be really tangible. I feel the most groove when my bass and the drum kit are really linked together.

    If you are playing without a drummer, that's fine...just imagine the drummer playing in your head, and lock in to the imaginary beat. Focus on putting your harmony work, into the rhythmic framework the drums have built for you, if that makes any sense.

  13. Robus


    Aug 25, 2013
    Chicago Area
    Nothing wrong with playing root notes in time. What is different about the new bass?
    Honch likes this.
  14. swafran


    Nov 6, 2008
    Paris, France
    Come up with a basic groove that locks in with the kick drum. Keep looping it, getting fancier and fancier, more intricate, trickier fills. Now keep looping it but strip it down. Keep stripping it down until you're down to one or three notes. Keep on that for a good while. Start adding a jab, an accent occasionally. Put away the bass and go have the sex of your life. Get drunk. Come back the next day and play that same groove again.
    Eikari likes this.
  15. Honch

    Honch Guest

    Sep 7, 2006
    Was your new bass an upright? sorry but you tells us nothing about this, and the difference between that one and the old bass. If you had an old bass. Can be setup, string guide, action, intonation, wrong gauge of strings, all these can be off putting in inspiration, groove, anything. Are you going fron a regular 4 string, to a new fanned fret 5er? Little wonder you have problems. From a 32 scale to a 35 scale? We can't tell.
  16. You might be able to groove with the best of them but you'll sound garbage with a drummer who has no sense of time, is egotistical, overplays etc. Locking in with a drummer makes perfect sense but a drummer has to lock in with bass too. Both have to think the same.
    Matthew_84 and Honch like this.
  17. Honch

    Honch Guest

    Sep 7, 2006
    Groove means a lot of things, and can be different for people. For what I've heard it has to have some kind of rhythmic flow and regularity in the ACCENTS of the notes. If those accents doesn't pop out like they used to, I e when you lean in with your fingers to produce ONE louder note at a certain point in comparison to the others, it can be quite hard to determine the culprit. I know for one, that when I have a compressor on my groove and accents suffers badly. So I eschew compressors to allow the dynamics to happen. The "punchiness" of different pickups output that gives you a percussive thud to each note can be crucial.


    1. The groove, that YOU are stating, is it when you do fingering, or when ju do pop, thumb, and slapping the bass, or both? It can be very different then, in terms of groove. It can be both. A groove can be kept regardless of fingerstyle playing, or pop-thumb-slap playing.

    I have a friend who owns a regular stock Squier J-bass. I have much easier time playing grooves on that one, regardless of that the strings and action are the same. For one thing, one tends to play more grace notes before the real notes should be played. And it's easier to keep tempo on the grooves.My grooves just floats on that one, more so than any of my other basses, of one which is a Dingwall, no less. It just lends itself to that more on my all other basses. He says this too, comparing all his other basses, this is the one. It's just that that bass probably was a fluke, since he went through 7-8 of them in the same store, before he stumbled up on this one. Some basses just invites or induces a style of playing of yours that you can't do on any other bass. Well you can, but you have to lean in and hone it too much. Woodshed. We still have no clue of why, in spite both of us scrutinizing the thing. At least 2 times a year (ongoing for 10 years now) I ask him to sell it to me, when I have the suspicion he's in a financial predicament. The answer's always no.

    The reason I say this, is because the first post suggests that you actually could groove on your old bass. The groove is a problem on the new bass ONLY isn't it?

    So if you could groove on your old bass, you certainly have no problem on the actual musical side of it at all, say, playing in pocket, with a drummer, in time, general flow, and so on. So I think it's a problem with bringing the new bass into the same comfort zone. Trust it! DARE TO MAKE MISTAKES AND NOT BE MAD ABOUT THEM. Only then you'll know.
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2016
    Old Blastard likes this.
  18. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    listen,breathe and don't over-think it.
    tzohn likes this.
  19. When I find myself feeling.. disconnected from the funk, instead of trying to force myself through it, I acknowledge it.

    A few weeks ago, I had a week or two of feeling like that of a cess pool, and couldn't connect. I still played through scales to keep the hands limber, but not much more than that. I find that frequently, when life is in disarray or something is troubling you elsewhere, it will show itself through my hands; I don't talk a lot and I without question or doubt use instruments as therapy. Is it the same for you?

    I didn't break out of that rut immediately. I knew I wanted to, but I allowed it time instead of force. I feel that when I force myself to.. do things without emotional/personal investment, I resent them
    Old Blastard likes this.
  20. Old Blastard

    Old Blastard

    Aug 18, 2013
    Sometimes you just go rutty. I've had a sense of this recently. I groove well live but working on tunes that I know well has been like carrying a bag of mud up a mountain. The groove and thrill I get at rehearsal is no longer present in practice. So, I've set about working up some tunes away from the band, songs that I want to play or sing. when I take them in, the vocals and bass will be ready to go. That's not easy because I have a hell of a time singing AND bassing. Also, I've returned to studying jazz progressions and etudes. Often that adds new patterns to my play.

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