How do you "learn" grooving on bass?

Discussion in 'Music Theory, Lessons & Techniques' started by Tom Sklenar, Aug 29, 2017.

  1. Tom Sklenar

    Tom Sklenar SS.org Regular

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    Hi, this is specially for bass players! Which ways do you use to learn/improve your way of grooving? I just improvise over backing tracks. Is it the point? Or do you have some special tips or ways how to get into it?
     
  2. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Where guitar playing is about flashes and flourishes, bass playing has to start with a strong foundation.

    I would highly recommend you start simple and then work in more nuanced stuff gradually.

    If I am jamming along with a new song on bass, I might go so far as to just ride the tonic note on quarter notes or eighth notes to get an idea of the rhythmscape of the song, then start following along with chords or the key notes of the guitar riff, then start to add variations based on arpeggios or alternate scale notes, and go from there. If it clicks, then it might only take three goes through the song to get a bassline with which I'm happy. If it's a blues tune or 50's/60's rock, then it probably won't take anything more than throwing in a few cliches onto the chord structure.

    Odds are, though, the more interesting the groove demanded by the song, the more effort it will take to come up with it, but the inverse is almost certainly closer to the case when it comes to the amount of effort required to play something. The more effort it takes to play it, the less it will groove, generally. If you expend more effort coming up with a groove that flows easily off of the fingers, then it'll generally sound better in the context of the song, in my experience.
     
  3. Element0s

    Element0s Low Fantasy/Black Denim

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    I'm not much of a bassist but when I was training the current bassist of my band, my biggest piece of advice was to start by locking in with the kick drum and expanding outward where needed.
     
  4. Rawkmann

    Rawkmann SS.org Regular

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    I'd argue that guitar player also should start with a strong foundation as well. Being all about 'flash' in the beginning with guitar is a mistake. And one that I made as well because now I'm having to go back to learn a lot of that solid foundation I should have started with early on.
     
  5. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Correct. However, in practice, it's not really the case. Check out Led Zeppelin. You had Jimmy Page, who was a great guitar player, but his timing was really pretty sloppy. You had Bonzo, who was a phenomenal drummer, but his timing was also not perfect, then you had John Paul Jones holding the trainwreck together by having some of the most impeccable timing. Usually between the drummer and the bassist, somebody has to be on beat. I'd make the conjecture that the bassist is the one to do that more often, especially in rock. In metal, if you can hear the bass player at all, then the entire band is going to have to be super tight, so maybe that doesn't really translate into metal. But in rock, funk, blues, funky blues, bluesy rock, funky bluesy rocky pop, etc., the bass player generally needs to be tighter to the beat than the guitarist in order for the band to sound great.
    But that's all just my take on a very subjective thing.
     
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  6. Rawkmann

    Rawkmann SS.org Regular

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    You make a good point, a great rhythm section can make all the difference in the world and often times the contrast of a really tight rhythm section and a 'loose' feeling guitar player can be a very appealing combination.
     
  7. Sumsar

    Sumsar SS.org Regular

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    I recently began caring more about my bass playing. Basicly my issue was that my recordings of guitar and bass over programmed drums or recorded drums really didn't sound that tight or groovy. Reading someone else's post on here about recording bass made me realize that my recordings sucks because my bassplaying sucks.

    The best way I found to improve it was to practice recording bass to just drums and a click track and listening back to it without guitar. I could then hear that my bass tracks was always a little behind the drums on the recordings (not a latency issue or similar, just my playing) so I tried to change the way I groove and be more on the beat / ahead of the beat, and the result sounded much better and grooved more / made me nod my head when listening back.
    I am not a super duper professional bass player, but it did seem to help me, so hopefully it can do for you too.

    TLDR: record yourself to drums and listen back to find out why it is NOT grooving and then correct that.
     
  8. Tom Sklenar

    Tom Sklenar SS.org Regular

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    Wow that´s the point! Thank you for your suggestion!
     
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  9. Bobro

    Bobro SS.org Regular

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    whatever happened to "smoke Hefty(tm) bags of pot and play in tons of different kinds of bands"?
     
  10. Alternative-Perspective

    Alternative-Perspective SS.org Regular

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    Jam along good musicians. I don't think you can learn how to groove by practicing to the sterile sound of a metronome. You need to know how to drag and rush at will, too.
     
  11. JohnIce

    JohnIce Singlecoils = tr00

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    Where you start and end notes is very important. Especially the end is easy to forget, because everyone tries to start notes on the beat but not everyone pays attention to exactly how long the note should be. This applies to guitar and vocals too of course. With bass I also think it's very important where you play in relation to the kick and snare. Playing bass dead on the kick will probably just cancel both of them out, which is why quantizing bass to the kick never sounds that great. Experimenting with playing ahead of the kick or behind the kick makes a huge difference not only to the groove but to the tone as well.
     
  12. Tom Sklenar

    Tom Sklenar SS.org Regular

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    That´s a good point, thank you. Playing bass in relation with drums is really important.
     

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