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dmccombe7

Bass & drums. Who leads

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2 hours ago, Happy Jack said:

For me, this is exactly like trying to think about what your feet are doing as you run downstairs ... guaranteed to end in a train wreck.

I never, ever think about whether I am leading or following the drummer, and I suspect that I'd be very hard-pressed to tell you if I actually tried to work it out.

I play "whatever feels right" to me at the time.

Not suggesting that this is in any way clever or better, it's just what works for me.

 

Thanks - I'll now be thinking about this next time I use the stairs!

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1 hour ago, Flat Al said:

Novice bass player here, but can someone quantify what "playing behind the beat" means

I've been playing for many years, and have often heard about playing ahead or behind the beat. I've never totally understood it, but I think it's often unconcius and contributes to the feel of the music.

I've most often heard it in the context of "Player A plays ahead/behind the beat" - which suggests it's a natural thing.

It's something Id like to understand more, but I'm not sure I could conciously go ahead or behind at will.

 

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Just play faster ...

:D

 

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2 hours ago, dmccombe7 said:

Was he suggesting you were subconsciously dragging a bit behind the drums. I'm talking milliseconds here and not something an audience in general would notice. 

That's just my curiosity asking.

Dave

If anything he was asking me to be slightly ahead of it, which when it was mixed sounded dead on. I’ve never played like that before as I do tend to be slightly behind the beat, letting the drums lead on the rhythm. Strange really, as listening to the two previous albums we did with him I couldn’t tell the difference.

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2 hours ago, Flat Al said:

Novice bass player here, but can someone quantify what "playing behind the beat" means in terms of time

 

More than anything else, being able to manipulate where you play in relation to the beat is the thing that differentiates the top pros from the semi-pros. It is not the same as playing too fast or too slow.

It is certainly worth trying to learn how to play in the middle of the beat and then how to ‘lean on the beat’ or ‘lean back’. The only way to work on it is to practice with a metronome.

You can actually do a lot without a bass. Set a metronome to a moderate setting (say 90 BPM) with an accent on the one. Clap your hands on the one and try and make the click ‘disappear’. Then clap on the backbeat (beats 2 & 4), then on every beat. If you are doing it properly then you shouldn’t be able to hear the metronome. If you can hear a ‘flam’ between the handclap and the click then listen to see if you can hear the clap first (in front of the beat) or the click first (behind the beat). Once you can consistently make the click disappear then increase the metronome by 10 BPM, then go down 10 BPM and so on.

This isn’t easy and you probably won’t get it straight away – it is difficult to clap exactly on every beat for more than 3 or 4 bars. But if you keep at it you will be a far better player in a year’s time.

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4 hours ago, Happy Jack said:

...what your feet are doing as you run downstairs ...

Running downstairs..? :swoon:

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I follow the drums.

If the drums are losing time or slightly erratic I'll still try and follow the drums.

At that point things get messy.

So, I suppose what I'm saying is, that it's always the drummer's fault.

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3 hours ago, Flat Al said:

Novice bass player here, but can someone quantify what "playing behind the beat" means in terms of time...

In practical terms, it helps to know how wind players do things. The more bass the wind instrument, the more time it takes to get the note out, so they will anticipate the beat, and start puffing away ahead of time, so that the note comes out right. For a bass player, the notion (if not the reason' is similar. Anticipating the beat (not speeding up, just letting it start to sound ahead of the metronomic 'click' is playing 'ahead' of the beat (and of course, the opposite is true...). It suits certain styles of music, playing ahead or behind, and can sometimes become a bit 'robot' if everything is spot on the beat. Playing to a metronome is a good practise (for many reasons...), and will enable experimenting to see what works and what doesn't. A Good Question; hope this helps. B|

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Posted (edited)

Bass and drums are a symbiotic relationship of love and respect. No one needs to lead or follow because we are reading each other's minds. It is a beautiful thing

 

But if the drummer is rubbish I will lead and I just do not care. If I start playing straight crotchets my wife knows I am not enjoying the gig. She knows I am wrestling with at least one member of the band. And to be fair it could be any member of the band. 

Don't get me wrong, I am not "all that" but I know where 1 is and I know where the next 1 should be.

Edited by owen
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11 hours ago, dmccombe7 said:

Can you give us a bit more detail 

The original question was who leads - bass or drums? The answer, imho anyway, is neither. I'm not being facetious here, but we - bassists and drummers - are the rhythm section (I'm obviously referring to bands). We don't "lead" (or we shouldn't, ideally). As such, we should support the melody instruments if a piece is instrumental, taking the lead from whoever may be soloing (if someone is), or if a song, the singer, again taking the lead from him/her. We should attempt to work together, with neither leading nor following the other. There will be cues that each may give the other, but that will change from moment to moment.

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I follow my drummer as he plays to a click, most of the joy of the playing in my band comes from being tight with the drummer as the bass lines a fairly simple but getting to a place where I am landing exactly with the kick & snare is super rewarding. 

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I follow the drums.  In fact, one of my many weirdnesses is that without a drummer I am f*** all good.  With a drummer I have no problem sticking to them like glue.  But if I think a drummer is slowing down or speeding up and its not intentional I may intervene to force the pace.

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17 minutes ago, lownote12 said:

I follow the drums.  In fact, one of my many weirdnesses is that without a drummer I am f*** all good.  With a drummer I have no problem sticking to them like glue.  But if I think a drummer is slowing down or speeding up and its not intentional I may intervene to force the pace.

Good description. I'm quite able to run thru songs without a drummer altho i do take some signals from him during guitar solos but i usually count the bars during them anyway.

Dave

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Posted (edited)
On 05/10/2020 at 21:26, owen said:

Bass and drums are a symbiotic relationship of love and respect. No one needs to lead or follow because we are reading each other's minds. It is a beautiful thing

Bass player:  "Bass and drums are a symbiotic relationship of love and respect. No one needs to lead or follow because we are reading each other's minds. It is a beautiful thing"

Drummer:    "You queer or summat ?"

Edited by musicbassman
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Neither. 

Most of the time I'm just hanging on for dear life and praying I don't pink torpedo things up before the end of the song. 

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On 05/10/2020 at 09:55, dmccombe7 said:

 

Usually the vocal parts are easy its the guitar solos i tend to count bars.

In a previous band there would be occasions when, during the guitar solo, the singer had time for a trip to the bar!

 

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17 minutes ago, Agwin said:

 

I remember those days very well. Several bands felt like i was in a  Guitar and friends band.

Dave

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I prefer when the drums lead - mainly because the other people in the band are more likely to be listening to the drums and not the bass.

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Just thinking about playing behind/ahead of the beat.

Does it need to be done by arrangement between band members? I'm thinking that if the drummer and bass player both decide to play ahead of the beat it would lead to either both playing on the beat, or a run-away speeding up of the song? Or slowing down for playing behind?

So how does it work?

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46 minutes ago, dmccombe7 said:

I remember those days very well. Several bands felt like i was in a  Guitar and friends band.

Dave

Not so in this particular band, no ego involved.

(We could jam for England)

Having been brought up listening to the Deeply Purple ones the length of any non vocal passage was always indeterminate with an “End of it cue” to let us know when we were back on track.

Just occasionally, if the muse was upon him, he’d go off on one.

In fact, on one of our original songs, I always thought it would be a good idea to get a looper and join the singist.

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Depends on the song, some have bass lines that almost carry the song whereas others the drumming pushes the song or pulls the music. Conversely lots of live music is good because of the push and pull between all the instruments, that's when the magic happens.

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3 hours ago, Nail Soup said:

...So how does it work?

Empathy. B|

Playing 'behind' or 'before' doesn't involved any change of tempo, merely the placing of the beat, not its speed. Take a very extreme example in a reggae 'one-drop', where there's no 'One' beat played at all. The 'One' is there, but not stated as such. Playing around the beat is similar; the 'One' is there, but not explicitely.

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13 minutes ago, Dad3353 said:

Empathy. B|

Playing 'behind' or 'before' doesn't involved any change of tempo, merely the placing of the beat, not its speed. Take a very extreme example in a reggae 'one-drop', where there's no 'One' beat played at all. The 'One' is there, but not stated as such. Playing around the beat is similar; the 'One' is there, but not explicitely.

Yes, I already understood that.

My point is that if eveyone is trying to play ahead of the beat then what would happen?

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Posted (edited)
2 minutes ago, Nail Soup said:

Yes, I already understood that.

My point is that if eveyone is trying to play ahead of the beat then what would happen?

OK, then everyone would be playing ahead of the beat. So..? o.O

A metronome would show the difference, but without that...

Edited by Dad3353

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43 minutes ago, Nail Soup said:

Yes, I already understood that.

My point is that if eveyone is trying to play ahead of the beat then what would happen?

You sound like the first two Police albums... 🙂 

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