Why have my rhythm been declining?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Jalen Fuller, Jul 18, 2020.

  1. I know I’ve already received lots of advice on staying motivated on bass and how to improve, but I do have one problem that is still present in my playing even more now than ever even after recent practice. It’s the fact that my rhythm and timing have been on a decline especially since learning fingerstyle. Back before graduating high school a year ago my rhythm and timing were on point and I was considered our best bassist even better than the club director who has played longer than I’ve been alive. I also was playing with a pick and was great at it but even my pick playing has grown sloppy as I haven’t been practicing with that method since mostly learning fingerstyle. What is causing such a decline in my rhythm and how do I work at getting it back?
    dr doofie, EatS1stBassist and JRA like this.
  2. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    Metronome? Click track?
    kevindahl and Tari like this.
  3. I do
  4. LBS-bass


    Nov 22, 2017
    Fingerstyle attack is just a little bit slow compared to picking or slapping. You need to get used to hitting the strings just a little ahead of the beat if you want the strings to ring out in time the way they do with a pick. There's a delay inherent in swiping your fingertip across the string. Keep practicing; if you're good enough to nail it with other playing styles you can get this, too.
  5. Hachimitsu


    Jun 6, 2019
    New Zealand
    Check this out...

    I've been thinking about making a thread on how to apply this on the bass... the concept is simple and the key is starting very slow and simple, even with one note until you learn to internalise it.

    Good luck!
    ACRock, smogg, Steven Ayres and 4 others like this.
  6. Now when I think of it I used this method when practicing the bass part to Disco Yes.
    Eli_Kyiv and LBS-bass like this.
  7. Well you've changed your technique from pick to fingers, it takes time for the transition to set in.

    Also I hate to use the old phrase, but it's like the old joke on how you get to Carnegie Hall, practice, practice, practice.

    Another thing to consider is start playing drums and percussion, since I started doing that, my other instrument playing has improved at least 50% better if not more. And I've been playing for over 40 years.

    Just keep playing!
    Good luck,
  8. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    also, jalen: when learning and integrating new stuff/skills = there are times (moments/hours/days/weeks/months) when our abilities seem to regress rather than progress. we can be sloppier/clumsier and it's just a natural part of the 'learning curve'. if the process was any different = we'd all be jaco after a few hours!

    the cool part is: after a certain point = we get better, faster! stay at it, don't give up, practice like you mean it, and forgive yourself for any backsliding...it's what the rest of us do! good luck with your rhythms and timing! :thumbsup:
  9. Wood and Wire

    Wood and Wire

    Jul 15, 2017
    Mostly, I think it's not that we have taken a step backwards ; it's that our critical faculties have taken a big leap forward.

    We were naive enough to think we'd nailed it, but without realising it we've learned what we didn't know we didn't know.

    "Unknown unknowns".

    That said, there is also sometimes an element of briefly getting quantifiably worse, as those unknown unknowns kick in, and we backtrack - undoing the bad habits - and set off on the right path.
  10. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    Fingerstyle is something you need to work at for a while to get your timing spot on. If you had good timing with a pick, then your mental skills are sufficient for playing fingerstyle with fingers - you can do this, you just need more practice. It's a different program that needs to run in your head; you install it with lots of practice.

    You're 1 year out of High School - you have plenty of time to develop (and use) this skill- but ya gotta keep plugging. I'm 62. I practice every day. I'm still getting better.
    MarkA, btmpancake, OogieWaWa and 2 others like this.
  11. rufus.K


    Oct 18, 2015
    Its probably drug and alcohol related, possibly an un diagnosed neuro motor breakdown.
    You just graduated high school, are you getting enough sleep?
    mikewalker likes this.
  12. I actually struggle with getting sleep. Just last night I never was able to sleep until 5 in the morning and even then it was a struggle to maintain my sleep. It’s been like this for a while.
    Huw Phillips and EatS1stBassist like this.
  13. EatS1stBassist


    Apr 15, 2016
    So cal
    btmpancake likes this.
  14. wraub


    Apr 9, 2004
    ennui, az
    +1,000 for Rob Brown. ;)

    I also play drums, and his vids have been helpful, and this is one of them that really worked for me.

    Another thing that helped me is using a metronome that works better, for me. I'm using a Tama Rhythm Watch, which has different volume levels for different beats and accents. It's primarily for drummers, but I find it very useful for bass too.

  15. Johnny StingRay

    Johnny StingRay

    Nov 24, 2006
    Get a metronome. Set it to half of the tempo you want to practice. On the first click say “1” then “1” again on the half beat then “2” on the next metronome click then “3” on the half beat then “4” on the next metronome click.
    That will help you form a groove: 1...2(on the click)...3...4(on the click)
    Start at 40bpm which would actually be 80bpm and work your way up to faster tempos.
    Without hearing the click on every beat you will develop a great sense of timing internally.
    This is not my idea. It is Carol Kaye’s and whenever I lose my groove I go back to doing this and it really works and helps me lock back in to any song.......would be nice if some drummers did this!!!!!! Haha!
    Sands, Huw Phillips and John Stephen like this.
  16. MrLenny1

    MrLenny1 Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2009
    New England
    Practice minimum 1 hour a day, 7 days a week.
    Metronome & tracks.
    Nothing is automatic. I took me 1 1/2 years to transition
    from a pick to finger style with steady practicing.
  17. JMGiraffe

    JMGiraffe Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2001
    Everything everyone has said so far but also: relax. Don't overthink what you're playing, there's probably an element of psyching yourself out going on where you're fearing the rhythm rather than just feeling the rhythm. Relaxing and enjoying yourself are just as big a part of the music and make the "work" less tedious.
    OogieWaWa likes this.
  18. You mean like to take vitamins?
    howlin and EatS1stBassist like this.
  19. DeepThoughts


    May 18, 2019
    The Valley
    Find your inner "julia"...
    This is about technique not your time. Takes years and years to physically get to the level of even 3:30 of perfect time and execution. Don't expect to one day wake up and be "perfect", music is a lifelong journey of learning and growing. Just make the best music you can....oh that and and learn to walk basslines with the metronome on 2 and 4.
  20. Eli_Kyiv


    Apr 7, 2020
    Kyiv, Ukraine
    This is not good. Sleep is very important in any age, but twice while you're young. Let me recommend you the book which address the topic of how important is sleep and what could be done to make it better: Matthew Walker - Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams

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