Who really is the timekeeper?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by puttz buster, Mar 13, 2004.

  1. Is it just me but do the fellow bassists out there have a problem with fluxuating time, not yourself, but drummers. I find I am trying to "pull or layback" some drummers because they speed up subtlely. Theres 1 drummer I played with and his time philosophy was: " I listen to what the guitars is doing". But isn't his job to set the time, keep to it, and "STEER" the rest of the band? Not him being "STEERED" by the band. What's your opinion on this matter?
  2. Dave Castelo

    Dave Castelo

    Apr 19, 2000
    It should be the drummer, period.

    But that's the perfect world...

    I just left my latest band just because of the lousy drummer, oh well, lot's of fishes in the sea i guess :)
  3. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    In the past-
    I would definitely say 'the time' was the drummer's responsibilty.

    After playing with 'better' drummmers who did not always play 'the time'...& after being told by these guys that "Hey, I'm not responsible for keeping YOU(i.e. me) in your place"...I now say 'the time' is everyone's responsibilty. YOU have gotta know where you are; depending on someone else will land you on your head when they choose to pull the rug out from under you!

    Now, some 'fluctuation' occurs in a LIVE playing environment.
    Naturally, there's a certain amount of push-pull.
    FWIW, I do still attempt to work with the drummer.

    FME, listening to the guitarist for time keeping is a HUGE mistake!
  4. Thanks dave. I debated with him black and blue about it, and I just don't see his logic, WE play to him (drummer), but that concept was "too much" for him. But in the same sentence, he has chops out the ying yang, so there's another debate. Give me solid groove anyday over chops. Whats chops if you can't play groove? (drums)

  5. Good points, The guitarist thing is a bad option eh :)
  6. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    ...suppose your drummer pal finds himself in a band with no guitars?
    Or there's a section in a tune where the guitarist drops out?
    (In a previous group, our sax player would take these lenghty solos...at that point, it was just the sax-drums-bass; the guitarist usually got lost. So he laid out).
  7. :D like you said there is a bit of lee-way, but in mid set and their all excited, and its like they let go of the reigns , u know what I mean.
  8. in both of the "bands" im in,` both drummers also play guitar. you know what boils my blood?

    "im guitarist man i listen to what hes doing"

  9. We have a saying here in australia: "A jack of all trades, but master of none".
  10. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    Just call me jack then...

    Quite suprisingly I'm with Jim "I hate compressors" K. I play in a number of bands and many of them with the same drummer. We will sometimes have a dispute re the tempo and after the metronome has said its say we'll agree on it. Songs tend to have an acceptable tempo range. If the song isnt obviously dragging or racing, discuss it. That's what rehearsals are for.
  11. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999

    How's it goin'?

  12. It all depends on setting.

    In a rock group, let the drummer have it, assuming he/she's competent.

    In a jazz setting, the bass is definitely the timekeeper; drums are for color.

    In an orchestra/concert band setting, watch the conductor.
  13. *Begin booming voice* I am the Time Keeper! Fear Me! *End booming voice* :D
  14. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Basicaly in my band its a chain reaction. The drummer sets the pace, i groove to him ..and the guitarist keeps in check with me. If the guitarist were to mess up, it wouldnt throw me or the drummer off, because me/drummer are rather independant of him.
  15. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Say it again! (I was going to write this, but you saved me the time!)
  16. I'm more like the Keymaster.

    The drummer is more like the Gatekeeper.

    Generally, it's a bad thing when we get together- don't look in the fridge.

  17. I've quit 2 bands in the last year mainly due to lousy drummers.

    in the past I've sped up/slowed down or moved a note forward or back to catch a wayward drummer (very annoying) but not anymore.
    one drummer kept speeding up even when I was playing a steady straight-8ths line all downstrokes with a pick (no excuse for not hearing the rhythm there, surely?)-
    he followed the guitar, probably due to being a frustrated guitarist :mad:

    the drummer in my covers band has good timing though- it's due to playing with him that I've become intolerant of drummers with poor timing.
  18. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    I wish I could remember who it was, but there was discussion of this very question in Bass Player a few years ago. Top drummers and bass players commented on their thoughts about timing, but it seems as if the final consensus of opinion was that in the end timing is the responsibility of EACH and EVERY person in the band. Each musician is ultimately responsible for his own timing.

    Having said that, I don't know what other musicians do if the drummer is dragging or speeding ahead. One thing is for sure, each member can't be playing at a different tempo. That is just for garage bands.
  19. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    Putz, your situtation sounds exactly like my band's situation. We're currently playing with a lousy drummer and it's one of the most musically frustrating things I've ever encountered. We've played two gigs with him so far, and if it weren't for him, we would have had two pretty good shows. One thing is, I don't think he really has natural timing, but I don't think he really counts things out either. I'm always scared when we do songs with breaks/rests in them, cause there's always a chance he's going not going to be coming in at the right time. (We did Good Times, Bad Times, by Zep during our last gig and all of those breaks before the guitar solo were screwed up because he wasn't were he was suppose to be) I've never encountered a drummer like this; even when I played in my first garage band.
  20. VS


    Jun 6, 2002
    Mountain City, Tennessee
    Discounted Gear: Peavey
    95% of the time,I'd say drummer. -Luke