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why do we lock to the kick drum?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by jj.833, Sep 12, 2019.

  1. Guitalia


    Jun 7, 2008
    Baltimore, MD
    Don't only bitter and jealous simple/traditional bassists lock to the bass drum?

    But, seriously, either would be emphasizing those beats if the other weren't present.
    Machiavelli and chupacerveza like this.
  2. DeepThoughts


    May 18, 2019
    The Valley
    Why? Well we all need to be "on the one". See below.
    timplog, jonro, DJ Bebop and 7 others like this.
  3. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    for pop, rock, funk, etc. ---
    we lock-in with the kick to emphasize a certain 'beat'/pulse/rhythm-figure important to lots of genres/tunes. the fact is: most competent drummers want to hear the bassline (first!) in order to construct an appropriate kit part. in practice, the bassline tells the drummer's foot what to do and then the bassist is held steady/honest by the kick, in return. sometimes we want to play with the kick, sometimes we play a compliment to the kick, and sometimes we don't care what the cat does with his kick as long as it supports what we're doing. finding the 1 count together is important in 4/4 popular genres.
  4. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2017
    It's not always the kick. Mostly, we lock in with the basic rhythmic pattern, but we could be locking in with anything, and we might even be playing counterpoint to the kick and snare. It just depends on what the music calls for. But finding the kick and playing those notes is a pretty easy place to start and it's often the best place to stay.

    The important thing about locking in is to be in sync with the other rhythm elements, whatever they are. There's a difference between just noodling notes under a jam and being rhythmically tight. If you're rhythmically tight, you're locked in.
    dr doofie, ak56, Tad and 5 others like this.
  5. QweziRider

    QweziRider Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2008
    Northern Nevada, U.S.
    We are often the sustain to the percussive nature of the kick. We add the note to the rhythm being played out by the kick when we play together. Doesn't mean we always have to be in lock step. But when we do - to me - that's why.
    dr doofie, Tad, HolmeBass and 3 others like this.
  6. OptimalOptimus


    Jan 4, 2019
    Tom Bomb, jj.833 and Jim Carr like this.
  7. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    I’m generally listening to the entire drum kit. Depending on what type of music I’m playing, I might be using the snare or the cymbals as a metronome and syncopating around the bass drum or I might be building right on it. There is way too much variability in music to simplify everything down to one single rule. For me, the biggest question would be, “am I in the pocket or not?”
    JohnN, MobileHolmes, LBS-bass and 5 others like this.
  8. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    why do we lock to the kick drum?
    1) 'We' don't always do this. it depends on musical context.
    2) When 'we' do it I think it is mostly to tidy things up.
    chupacerveza and JRA like this.
  9. Kickass


    Jul 20, 2012
    Scottish Borders
    On my bass it's one and the same thing.
    dr doofie, ak56, timplog and 17 others like this.
  10. Malcolm35


    Aug 7, 2018
    I used a number 3 washtub. Never did get the thing to sound like an upright. I now have a number 3 wash tub that has a hole in it. Anyone interested in a #3 washtub that no longer holds water?
    dr doofie, DJ Bebop and chupacerveza like this.
  11. For, I'd say, the vast majority of songs, the kick is equivalent to a heartbeat, and nobody likes arrhythmia.
    JohnN, chupacerveza and BazzaBass like this.
  12. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    chupacerveza likes this.
  13. AFRO


    Aug 29, 2010
    if you really play that thing, I want to see a video! that monster looks cool. probably not the most comfortable thing to play, but looks cool none the less. (I assume you play it in an 'upright-bass' manner, but seriously want to know if its just a gaff or for reals)..:smug:
    chupacerveza and RiffwRiter like this.
  14. JmJ


    Jan 1, 2008
    sometimes it's the kick drum, sometimes its the snare and sometimes it's the high hat or ride. Makes the music breathe differently .
    chupacerveza likes this.
  15. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather Supporting Member

    Depends on the song. It's basically a 'thing' in R&B music.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
    DJ Bebop and chupacerveza like this.
  16. DrayMiles


    Feb 24, 2007
    East Coast

    Whoever tells you that is full of **** and aren't professionals.

    In Jazz, I listen to the ride, the hi hat, and the overall kit.

    In Funk, R&B, and Blues, I listen to the snare, the kick, and the overall kit/ensemble.

    When people say that crap about the kick drum, it's regurgitating stuff they've read...

    You play what's appropriate for the song. The kick is a small part of it...

    I always found that statement to be pure BS.
  17. Because don't give up the one.
    DJ Bebop, Tad and chupacerveza like this.
  18. phillipkregg

    phillipkregg Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2010
    Nashville, TN
    Depends on the music. In Afro-Cuban music everything locks to the clave.
    DJ Bebop, HolmeBass and chupacerveza like this.
  19. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I take everything on a case-by-case basis. If it sounds good to play along with the bass drum, I'll do it. If it sounds good to go nuts and play completely against the bass drum , I will do it. Some of my favorite bass players on Earth have been known to completely ignore the bass drum.

    And while we're at it, I hate the term "locking with the kick." It's devoid of meaning. It also gets so greatly misinterpreted that it means different things to different people. So I prefer to use the term "keeping good time." I'm sure we all agree that keeping good time is important. Locking with the kick is not always important. That is an early days of rock and roll carry over when bass players were all converted guitar players because they were the worst guitar player in their band. It was easier to get them to play along with the bass drum and keep it simple, lest they ride over the drums and play a bunch of crap that sucks. Nowadays, there are a lot more bass players who specialize in bass, and it's not needed to lock in nearly as much with them. So don't feel beholden to the kick drum. Just play what feels and sounds good and don't worry about it.
  20. Why do we lock to the kick drum?.... when the kick drum should lock to us?

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