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!  

why do we lock to the kick drum?

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

  1. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    And if a player can not, the player should not be playing bass, or at least, if the player does have a sense of rhythm, and simply has not been educated, start with moderate tempo single strokes on a snare with a drummer who can keep consistent time, @ 80 bpm tempo, and the player practicing to look ahead on the tempo and think or say "1-e-and-uh" to start feeling the subdivisions so when the tip of the drumstick contacts the head, the finger is simultaneously releasing the string so the two tones, drum stroke and string pluck, meld into one. Speaking in pedagogy terms, that is the start of a bass player locking to a beat with a drummer: steady single strokes and plucks. But you gotta watch the drummer, because if you only listen, you will always be reacting to the sound instead of proacting towards the next beat, and therefore the player will always be behind the beat, instead of helping to drive it.
    foolforthecity and JimmyM like this.
  2. 7615


    Nov 19, 2015
    2 conflicting bass notes out of synch rhythmically? that's why.
  3. 7615


    Nov 19, 2015
    Ever play with a rabbit foot drummer? Play up high or tell the drummer to F off.
  4. Acoustic356

    Acoustic356 Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2014
    In some forms of music it adds pitch to the kick drum which can be super cool in some Western forms of music like Pop, Rock, R&B, and Blues.
  5. why do we lock to the kick drum?
    Because when we lock-in, this happens:

    The movement of the gluteus maximus!

    That's why (or at least that's why I do)


    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
  6. salcott

    salcott Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2007
    NYC, Inwood.
    We lock with the bass drum because it plays downbeats.
    Whousedtoplay likes this.
  7. Jamerson had the talent and knew the rules well enough that he could play artistically, and dance-ably, something rule-breaking that would be cacophony in most other hands. That ability is held by a scant few people, though. “rides roughshod” is a phrase that would never have occurred to me WRT Jamerson. An example would be illustrative.
    gjohnson441496 and DJ Bebop like this.
  8. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    I’ll dissent. I pretty much don’t even pay attention to the kick drum. And further, I perfectly loathe this modern Beater Honda Civic Subwoofer concept of a live mix that is emphasizing the kick. Miles would have simply growled, “that don’t swing.”

    Swing and Groove come off of the back beat. Anyone watched “Standing in the Shadows of Motown” lately? There is a scene early in that movie of Jamerson’s childhood South Carolina Gospel church. People are clapping. On the 2 and 4. And it swings like crazy.

    The drums keep time. As a bass player, you have to have great time no matter what. Sure, the 1 and 3 have to be in the right place. Of course. Kind of like learning to print in kindergarten.

    But, when you play, for example, a steady walking bass line; then your line will have way more swing by emphasizing the 2 and the 4. That’s where the groove lies. If you can’t hear it, keep listening. You’ll catch on.

    I always tell drummers that I’m not even listening to the kick. I’m listening to what they are doing on the backbeat. Strong backbeat = great R&B drummer; and BTW, in 99% of those cases if the backbeat is strong, odds are their time is great.

    Weak backbeat, and I’m looking for the next gig. No thanks to the Church of England’s clap on the 1 and 3. Not my thing.

    I should add that other than walking, I’m not usually playing on the 2 and 4. BUT, I’m still listening to the 2 and 4. It’s a call and response thing. It’s called feel.
  9. higain617


    Sep 12, 2013
    I do...when I play polka.
    bucephylus likes this.
  10. Koshchei


    Mar 17, 2019
    Peterborough, ON
    You don't have to. A great example of this is Ramble On by Led Zeppelin, where the bass plays melodically through the verse and rhythmically through the prechorus and chorus. The key is to know where you're needed and why.
    gjohnson441496 likes this.
  11. HamOnTheCob

    HamOnTheCob Supporting Member

    Nov 21, 2004
    Cambridge, Ohio, USA
    Endorsing Artist for Warwick, Mesa Boogie, Joyo, Dr. J, Levy's Leathers
    After I'd been playing bass for about 10 years, a good friend and great musician wanted to start a band with me, with his cousin on drums. He was a killer drummer. Our first get-together, we were jamming, and when we stopped, the drummer looked at me with the biggest smile and said "I've never had anyone do that before." I had no idea what he meant, so he clarified "The way you were playing along to my kick drum pattern. That was so awesome!" I was very confused, as I just assumed anyone would surely do the same. But he'd been playing almost as long as me, in a number of bands. I suddenly had a new outlook on the non-universality of the whole thing, and a lower opinion of the bass players he'd played with before. haha

    It sounds so much tighter when the bass and drums are working together to build a foundation.
  12. Ekulati

    Ekulati Supporting Member

    Jan 2, 2016
    Richmond, VA
    You're overthinking it. Sure, it's because they sound lowest. (And fattest.) But it's more complicated than that.

    But maybe even more important, we don't always lock with the kick. Never bought into that as some sort of rule, maybe a general guideline for beginners...
  13. TDPRI Bones

    TDPRI Bones Guest

    Jul 25, 2019
    That's a nice racist sentiment.
    buldog5151bass likes this.
  14. MobileHolmes

    MobileHolmes I used to be BassoP

    Nov 4, 2006
    Honestly, at least with the drummer I play with now, I find that I cue off the snare as much as anything. It seems to work fine
  15. Joebone

    Joebone Supporting Member

    Oct 31, 2005
    Los Angeles
    Because it FEELS good!
    Groove Doctor likes this.
  16. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    How about Love Child? What's Goin' On? I Was Made To Love Her? Standing In The Shadows Of Love? Ain't No Mountain (both versions)? Ain't Too Proud To Beg? Back In My Arms Again? Gladys Knight's version of Grapevine? Or Boogie Fever by The Sylvers or the Theme From SWAT? :D I can go on, too, but I think that's enough to prove my point.

    And that ability is held by MANY people, even Gene Simmons, as long as they're not too scared to not play by the "rules."
  17. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Why would it make you late to the downbeat? You don't have to hear the downbeat to play it.
    wesonbass and SteveCS like this.
  18. joshmmorrison

    joshmmorrison Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2011
    Central Massachusetts
    So If you mess up truly and always will be....the drummers fault.
    wesonbass likes this.
  19. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Cool that that works for you. I spend the majority of my gigs not looking at the drummer. Seems too much like work. I listen.
    wesonbass likes this.
  20. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    I listen to everyone onstage with me including the drummer. I can be found playing on any increment of the beat that I see fit. Depends on the song and how we're playing 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.