Here’s a bass rhythm exercise that’ll show you what parts of the groove you don’t know as well as you thought.
Your quarter note feel will be more solid with this rhythm exercise. You’ll also expose any weaknesses in your rhythm during a measure.
Improve your rhythm on the bass using rhythmic displacement
It helps to use two different sound sources for this rhythmic exercise. That way you can hear both rhythms.
- With your right hand, you will tap quarter notes (Tap the bold underlined: 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +).
- With your left hand, tap a simple rhythm, like a 2-3 Son-Clave (Tap the bold underlined: (1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +).
- Play both rhythms at the same time.
- Displace the quarter notes that your right hand is tapping by an eighth-note (Tap the bold underlined: 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +).
- Continue tapping the same rhythm with your left hand.
- Practice switching hands for each rhythm.
Solidify your bass grooves with this rhythmic exercise
You can take things further and see how well you feel each beat of your bass grooves.
- Play a groove on your bass.
- Say the quarter notes aloud while playing your bass groove. Are there any parts of the bass groove that you find challenging to sing the quarter note at the same time? If so, work on getting that part of the groove to feel relaxed and natural.
- Now, say the upbeats (“and”) aloud while playing the bass groove. Are there any parts of the bass groove that you find challenging to sing the quarter note at the same time? If so, work on getting that part of the groove to feel relaxed and natural.
Working on this for a few minutes a day can make noticeable difference in how solid the bass groove feels.
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There is always room to improve when it comes to rhythm and groove. Check out this book on Amazon: Progressive Steps to Syncopation for the Modern Drummer (Ted Reed Publications)
You can get a ton of rhythmic inspiration from the clave. Check out this book on Amazon: Conversations in Clave: The Ultimate Technical Study of Four-Way Independence in Afro-Cuban Rhythms, Book & CD