1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

Walking bass lines to metronome on 2&4

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by smither12, May 5, 2015.

  1. smither12


    Aug 16, 2012
    Chicago, IL
    Some reason I always struggle with walking bass lines with met on 2&4 or 1&3. The more I think about the bassline I'm going to play the more likely I get off. I play in groups in combo and duo (without) with pretty steady time but this (deceptively) simple talk screws me up. What ways can I improve this ability without driving myself mad?
  2. mattbassclark


    Jun 15, 2014
    When this was screwing with me, I got a metronome that I could tap out the speed I wanted-----then I kept the tap that I did with my fingers but moved it to my foot, then started the metronome in time with my foot so that the beat was established before I turned it on.

    It helps if you have a metronome where you can actually turn off the beats you want to get rid of, and you're not just doing some mental thing where you are playing twice the tempo you have the metronome set at.
  3. s2bs2


    Apr 1, 2009
    Sonoma, CA.
    think of it as either a snare (2&4) or bass drum (1&3)
    try playing with your met set to 16th notes, notice where the 2 and 4 are and once that feels comfy, then turn it down to 1/2 notes.
  4. Carl Hillman

    Carl Hillman

    Jan 1, 2010
    Start by just counting 4 beats with the metronome over and over, either out loud or in your head, so that the clicks happen when you say "two" and "four".

    Also, listen to some well-recorded traditional jazz and hone in on the drummer's high hat. It will (usually) be played on 2 & 4.
    thabassmon likes this.
  5. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    Walk around the block at a steady pace. Think about basslines. Count 2 and 4 when you do.

    And yeah, as Carl alludes, watch and hear the drummers you play with. Ask your drummer to show up a few minutes early and play some tune you know cold, or just play over one chord (so you can focus on time, not notes).

    Locked-in time is going to be your project for the next year. A year from now your phone will be ringing like crazy!
    robgrow likes this.
  6. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    Or you can simply buy a set of brushes and learn how to play a simple shuffle. Count our sing a bass line as you play. Learning to drum a little but goes a long way.

    You don't even need a snare, just the back of a magazine or a piece of cardboard. The physicality of brushes gives a visceral sense of where 2 and 4 lie on the meter.
    Chris Fitzgerald likes this.
  7. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    Sam Sherry and drew_bassmore like this.
  8. This probably seems obvious, but try playing your walking lines with the metronome set at really low tempos. As you master the exercise at one tempo, gradually increase the bpm until you are playing at full speed. Since it sounds like part of your problem is being able to think of what notes to play fast enough, this will give you more time to think of what to play. Also, playing with good time at slow tempos is an extremely difficult and often neglected skill, so if you get good at this you will have an advantage when playing those tedious ballads!
  9. pnchad


    Nov 3, 2005
    As per MB above and Hal Galper (great jazz educator see: YouTube)

    Rhythm is everything - some will tell you that playing the wrong note in time is more important than playing the right note out of time. The latter will get noticed as a flub by more listeners.

    So, just listen to a lot of great stuff and pay attention to the rhythms
  10. Best to just leave the metronome on all four quarters and move the accents around. I used to set on different beats but I just like doing all four, moving the accent, play ahead/behind/center. I'd really like to get my walking lines like Sonny Dallas on Motion one day!!
  11. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    Ideally it's all of the above: we should be able to keep time and play in all configurations where the metronome is set up, including extreme cases where 'nome just clicks once a bar or every 2 or 4 bars. Different configs used for different purposes. I didn't about using 4 on the floor to play against the beat center. Good idea.

    Victor Wooten has one where his 'nome clicks something once every 8 bars. That's a serious challenge, even for him. Like 20 seconds pass between clicks.
    pbass888 and Tom Lane like this.
  12. mtto


    May 25, 2008
    Los Angeles, CA
    Start with half notes (2-feel) with the click on 2 & 4. This means you are alternating with the metronome: one for you, one for the metronome. Once you are comfortable with 2-feel, add the occasional passing quarter note on beat 4. Finally, move to walking.

    A simple blues progression is good for this exercise.
    Lionel Albert and Tom Lane like this.
  13. Lionel Albert

    Lionel Albert

    Jul 24, 2015
    I would say the A part of a Rhythm Changes can help, you play only the roots and "slap" on 2 & 4 beats at the same time of the metronome (2 & 4), then you can build your walking bass adding chromatic notes on the after beat, that comes naturally.
    After that you can apply it on every chord progression.
  14. jlo95


    Dec 30, 2009
    You could try keeping it on 2&4 but instead of playing a bassline, just play roots through the changes. When that is sounding solid try adding fifths (root fifth root fifth), until you're so settled into the click on 2&4 that walking lines are no problem. You gotta ease into it.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.