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Ugghhh- Playing on top of the beat- Annoyed!

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by chris.gotfunk, Apr 20, 2010.


  1. chris.gotfunk

    chris.gotfunk

    Mar 21, 2007
    Ashburn, Va
    Hey guys and gals. I have a question.

    I noticed on my R&B and funk stuff that my cover band plays, I play on top of the beat instead of laying back a little. It is really really really annoying. Does anyone have any idea or tip to practice on playing behind the beat?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. milothefultz

    milothefultz

    Nov 29, 2008
    Portland, OR
    Listen to some Miles Davis and P-Funk before you play it and chill out. And let your fingers relax, especially. If your picking hand's fingers are relaxed, IMO, there's a little bit of delay from when you want to play the note and when the note is actually played. I play behind the beat almost all the time simply because I got used to playing like that on accident, and people really liked it, so I stuck with it.

    But in all reality, it's just a feeling. You need to be completely immersed in the music and if you can hear what you want to play, you can play it.
     
  3. M0ses

    M0ses

    Sep 11, 2009
    Los Angeles
    Can I sig this?
     
  4. chris.gotfunk

    chris.gotfunk

    Mar 21, 2007
    Ashburn, Va
    I hear ya. I was brought up in the bass world by Bootsy, Larry, James Brown, etc... But for some stupid reason, I still tend to play ahead of the beat. I know I have a good feel. Part of me almost wishes I could put a small delay in my signal chain that stops my signal for a nano second, but that would be cheating... hahahahha.

    I am wondering if taking a drum machine and breaking the beat down into 16th's and practicing simple grooves that way. Like, put on a swing beat and have it swing on that instead of straight on the beat.
     
  5. bassandbeyond

    bassandbeyond

    Aug 28, 2004
    Rockville MD
    Affiliated with Tune Guitar Maniac
    Try playing along with your favorite original R&B recordings, and make it your goal to blend with the original bass line exactly.
     
  6. kraigo

    kraigo

    Jun 21, 2007
    Minneapolis, MN
    In front of the beat relative to what? There's got to be some give and take. If everything is "behind the beat" equally, the beat has shifted and everyone's on the beat. I think it's appropriate for the snare to be behind the beat but the down beats? I'm not so sure.

    KO
     
  7. chris.gotfunk

    chris.gotfunk

    Mar 21, 2007
    Ashburn, Va
    I see your point. I am refering to me playing just a hair ahead of the beat. There is so much "pocket" (what I call pocket) lost when I play ahead like that. If you have ever listened to D'Angelo's Voodoo album, you will know what I am talking about by playing behind the beat. Though, some of that stuff is just a bit too far behind, but it makes for a great exaggerated example.
     
  8. chris.gotfunk

    chris.gotfunk

    Mar 21, 2007
    Ashburn, Va
    I think I am going to record myself playing along with those recordings. That might be the best way to gauge. But, part of me feels like it is my anxiety to play the parts live. I enjoy those tunes so much, I really think I get ahead of myself. The reason I say that is because some of the straight 8th's stuff we do, I am "right there" where I need to be. I attribute that to me not really being a rock player and I could not care less about the parts. I know that is wrong, but I feel that is about 40% of my issue.
     
  9. togglehead

    togglehead Supporting Member

    Jul 1, 2009
    San Diego, CA
    Lesson one: RELAX!
    Anxiety is any players worst enemy, IMO.

    Lesson two: RECORD EVERYTHING YOU PRACTICE!
    Seriously, there was no better tool for me. You can REALLY hear all the mistakes youre making with a clear head, instead of one that is thinking about what to play next. It really showed the points i needed to focus on. =]

    Happy playing!
     
  10. chris.gotfunk

    chris.gotfunk

    Mar 21, 2007
    Ashburn, Va
    Thanks, that is what it is boiling down to for me. We record our live shows and it really helps me to realize my mistakes and what I need to work on. The thing is, it is never an issue of thinking what to play next, I have always felt that takes away if you have to think too much.

    I am going to try and record my practices and see how that goes. We use backing tracks to cover the areas we don't have instrumentation for, so I will have a click and a guide as well. That should help.
     
  11. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Braintree
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    Visual reference here so try and picture the beat as the word beat with ^ representing the beat,so on the beat is

    be^at be^at be^at be^at so that before the beat is

    b^eat b^eat b^eat b^eat and after the beat is

    bea^t bea^t bea^t bea^t and between the beat is

    beat^beat^beat^beat^

    so you can see that by understanding where the beat is and how you can interact with it, you can move your "strong beat to to create feelings with and against the true beat.

    be^at be^at b^ea^t be^at bea^t bea^t b^e^at be^at be^at^beat^beat^beat^
     
  12. bass12

    bass12 Say "Ahhh"... Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    I've noticed that, with a lot of drummers, when I try to play behind a bit they think I'm trying to pull the tempo back and so they slow down. A lot of drummers simply don't have a feel for a behind-the-beat groove. All this to say that if you don't have confidence in your drummer it can be very hard to be comfortable playing behind. If you do have confidence in your drummer then I guess practicing with a drum machine would help. A lot of people mention Pino's playing with D'Angelo but you should also pay close attention to Me'shell Ndegéocello for that super-laid-back-but-in-the-pocket feel. You'll get there.
     
  13. KimblesNimble

    KimblesNimble

    Jan 10, 2008
    Can anyone one post an example? Youtube or something? With an example of hows it sounds proper?
     
  14. chris.gotfunk

    chris.gotfunk

    Mar 21, 2007
    Ashburn, Va
    I totally get, that is how I subdivide the beat in my head. The problem with me is that most of the time I am on the b^eat instead of the bea^t which is what the song requires. The two major songs I am talking about are Mary J. Blige's Family Afair and Beyonce's Naughty Girl.

    I hear ya, she is always overlooked. Her song God, Fear and Money is just a sick example of playing behind the beat. But for us, the tunes I have the issue with are the ones that we have a track/sequence for and the drummer has click in his ear and he is very solid with staying on that click.

    I think I maybe need to really try focusing on it when I play that part.
     
  15. chris.gotfunk

    chris.gotfunk

    Mar 21, 2007
    Ashburn, Va
    When I get home tonight, I will take a cut from the show and post it so you guys can hear what I am talking about.
     
  16. Ewo

    Ewo a/k/a Steve Cooper Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2008
    Huntington WV
    Try doing this. It's hard (it was for me, anyway), and might be frustrating at first--but just do it in small practice sessions. Like maybe ten minutes a day, regularly.

    Put on a drum loop, or even just a metronome. Pick a short groove line that you're completely comfortable playing. Well within your capability, IOW.

    Play the groove repetitively, dead on top of the beat. Then (deliberately and under control) lay back gradually until you get the feel of being behind the beat.

    For bonus points, repeat but rush so you're just a bit ahead. (That's the difficult one for me.)

    Keep at it for a few weeks. Ya might be surprised how much that sharpens your feel of the pocket. :)
     
  17. chris.gotfunk

    chris.gotfunk

    Mar 21, 2007
    Ashburn, Va
  18. bass12

    bass12 Say "Ahhh"... Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    Well, it sounds like you need to focus on relaxing a bit. How comfortable are you with the songs? I ask because it sounds as if your pops are a little more ahead than your plucked equivalents (I'm guessing this is because you're more comfortable with fingerstyle plucking). Strict diet of Erykah Badu, Me'shell, D'Angelo and Maxwell for a week then see what happens. I would try playing along with some slower stuff and to try and think of your lines as more flowing water rather than anything else. I know that probably sounds weird or flakey, but it might help. Leave the strict rhythm up to the drums when you're playing along to your records and see how it feels. Pay attention to your breathing see if it corresponds at all with how you're playing. The fact that you are aware of how you sound tells me that there is hope!
     
  19. chris.gotfunk

    chris.gotfunk

    Mar 21, 2007
    Ashburn, Va
    Yeah, relaxing could help for sure. Those pops I am intentionally doing ahead just a bit...why? I have no idea. I like the feel of it. I actually think I picked that up from Anthony Wellington to be honest. It's not something he teaches, but when I replaced him in the band he was in here in the DC area, that was just something he did that i liked.

    You make a good point of a steady diet with those artists... the thing is.. I already do. I really don't listen to anything that is not R&B, Neo-Soul or Funk. I may try the suggestion above with practicing playing ahead, on and behind very slowly.
     
  20. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Braintree
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    Normally that is the count in used at the start if being performed or not realising where the beat actually is in the song. Sometimes you have to listen to the whole song, count it out and find where the beat is. For example

    be^at be^at be^at be^at and so on when heard is on the beat as the feel between the beats is even.

    b^eat b^eat b^eat b^eat could also if heard be considered on the beat as the beats are even but they are not in the correct place.

    So 1-2-1-2-3-4 will give a different relation than 1234 as a count at the start. As will say a drummer tapping out 16ths on his sticks and halving or quartering that count out loud to give room for the beat to be heard.

    Its just an idea to consider, but are you actually identifying the beat of the music or the strong beats of the instruments playing?

    Listening to the clip to me it is on beat, but with just lots of accents in-between the beat. I see no problems with this and to me it never really leaves that on the beat feel. But that's me and i would not have a problem with it because i feel it in that way.:)
     

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