Bassists

MEKer

Junior Member
As drummers, when do you think the bass has the freedom to roam appropriately in bass lines or do you want a bassist to only follow the kick as so many bassists believe is their only job? Obviously, discipline applies here to any bassist's style.
 

Netz Ausg

Silver Member
I think it depends on the song and the section of the song. As long as the primary beat matches up then it's fair game for drummers or bassists to wander - within reason!
 

Liebe zeit

Silver Member
Depends on the kind of music. In reggae and funk, for eg, the bass doesn't follow the kick. Maybe on the 1 in funk, but thereafter it's an interplay between bass and drums. Reggae bass hardly connects with the kick. It's your straight-down-the-line rock that dictates, usually, that a large part of the band is in lockstep.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I think the bass should be the most wandering instrument there is, seamlessly going between melody, counterpoint, rhythm....No I don't want them sticking to my kick. I want them to go exploring. This assumes they are proficient in their knowledge of scales and know where they are going, and can execute it.
 

Boomka

Platinum Member
As drummers, when do you think the bass has the freedom to roam appropriately in bass lines or do you want a bassist to only follow the kick as so many bassists believe is their only job? Obviously, discipline applies here to any bassist's style.
The key is in the word "appropriate". There's a time and place for everything. I think our job as rhythm section members is to support each other, but supporting someone doesn't always mean agreeing with them on everything.

A good experiment might be to record the same song using a locked-in groove(s) and a groove(s) with more interplay while keeping everything else the same and see what the effect is. You can even work on this yourself if you've got tracks minus drums like Groove Essentials or something similar. Play the denoted groove, then try one of the given variations or a variation of your own that deliberately plays against the bass line. See what you think.

I think learning to discern when things are "appropriate" or not comes from having tried all the options and knowing the effect they'll have on the music before you do it.
 
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alparrott

Platinum Member
I play both, and I'll echo the sentiment that it totally depends on the genre, song, and feel. I am happy to lock the bassline in with the kick on a slow ballad, whereas on a busier, faster song I will do some playing around. The question is, what works best for the song, and what are you and your bassist mutually capable of playing?
 

Bacci0909

Junior Member
I'll echo what most are saying.. depends on the song or section. I did play in a band for a while and the bassist was intent on following my kick patterns note for note. While I found it admirable at the time, when I listen back now-a-days I can't stand it
 

Taye-Dyed

Senior Member
I also agree with most of the responses. I am a bassist turned drummer, and have always felt that both players should go with their musical instincts when it comes to complimenting each other. Sometimes forced locking of bass and kick does not necessarily serve the music. Also when the bassist and drummer take small excursions and then lock back together, the groove can get better. When I am drumming, there are times I try to compliment the guitar or mandolin strumming or even the singer instead of just the bass. We need to be as musical and responsive as possible. That is what separates us from drum machines!!!
 

The Scorpio

Senior Member
My bassist and I have an unspoken agreement that goes something like this: I'll meet you on 1 and then I'll see ya later!

I depend on him a lot because he really does make it so easy to play drums. Busy appropriateness can be SUPER groovy. My favorite example is John Paul Jones. Most of his bass lines are Crazy, yet he's always groovy.

In summary, if a bassist knows what he/she is doing, let them be free. If the bassist is inept or still learning, it's time to talk to them about "less is more." The rhythm section has to be good or you won't have a good band. Period. So this is not the time to mince words.

-Kyle
 

aydee

Platinum Member
As drummers, when do you think the bass has the freedom to roam appropriately in bass lines or do you want a bassist to only follow the kick as so many bassists believe is their only job? Obviously, discipline applies here to any bassist's style.
As Jaco Pastorious said.. " know the song" ( the melody the chords the rhythm )

..
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
I play super simple to keep things as tidy as possible. Our bassist is heavily into McCartney and likes to run around ... someone has to stay at home.

In one of my old rock bands our bassist was super solid - we were a team and almost every single gig people would compliment us on being such a tight rhythm section. Obviously it wasn't note for note all the time and at various times one or the other would add ghosting and other nuances. I prefer bassists like that, who have a strong focus on the bass/drum partnership, but that's just me.
 

AndyMC

Senior Member
I love when bassists I play with get crazy, if they can pull it off. I think you could replace bassist with anything and that sentence works though. In the end its about the song, sometimes simple is the hardest thing possible, but if it fits right do it.
 

MEKer

Junior Member
I really appreciate the thoughtful and mature responses. I am a bassist since 1972, not a drummer, and believe me, in the bass forums the answers would been a bit less ranging where anyone violating the "less is more" rule is often derided.
In my playing, which can definitely get a little Billy Sheehanish at times, I have 3 rules I try to apply:

1. Hardest working guy or gal in the band overall? drummer
2. Guy working hardest to SUPPORT the music? drummer
3. What do I owe him as a partner in the rhythm/beat section? complimentary/supportive playing, whether simple or complex, to not only make the song exciting together, but make the drummer's job easier and more fun for the poor, sweating-his-ass-off guy who's doing his best to support ME!

.
 

Davo-London

Gold Member
I play both and often think how little the bassists I play with actually interact with the drummer. I guess we need to work on it.

Following the kick? As a bassist - never. There is a place for it but it's rare. It's a complicated story ...

Davo
 

MEKer

Junior Member
I play both and often think how little the bassists I play with actually interact with the drummer. I guess we need to work on it.

Following the kick? As a bassist - never. There is a place for it but it's rare. It's a complicated story ...

Davo
On some bass forums that would be a sacrilegious comment and you'd be flamed pretty hard by lots of players---but that's what they have been taught by their "elders" on some forums. I very much agree with you, personally. As far as I am concerned, the drummers can give a better answer cuz you should be the ones giving a little direction in the question. Its about you actually, ergo--your input is the most valid.
 

Davo-London

Gold Member
Well I'm not sure there's any universal view. A lot of bassists I know just play the tune in front of them or they are basically laying down a chord-following sequence. When I play bass I'm always feeling the rhythm very intuitively and the focus is on where the song is going / chord sequence, i.e. what notes to play! I love slower tracks that give you time to experiment in a good way. Faster tracks are more about keeping a tasty groove going. Of course this is a major generalisation.

But, I always try to play groovy but inventive bass. If I'm on fretless I defo play less notes and give the tone a chance to sing out. After 35 years playing I'm ceasing to think too much and focussing on the song and trying to give my best accompaniment possible.

Nuff said
Peace
Davo
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I really appreciate the thoughtful and mature responses. I am a bassist since 1972, not a drummer, and believe me, in the bass forums the answers would been a bit less ranging where anyone violating the "less is more" rule is often derided.
In my playing, which can definitely get a little Billy Sheehanish at times, I have 3 rules I try to apply:

1. Hardest working guy or gal in the band overall? drummer
2. Guy working hardest to SUPPORT the music? drummer
3. What do I owe him as a partner in the rhythm/beat section? complimentary/supportive playing, whether simple or complex, to not only make the song exciting together, but make the drummer's job easier and more fun for the poor, sweating-his-ass-off guy who's doing his best to support ME!

.
This is one of the nicest things I ever saw written about a drummer, from a non drummer. Thank you. Do us a favor and try and get the guitarists to adopt this attitude lol. JK, but thanks for the kind thoughts. It's not often that drummers get props from the other band members, at least in my little world.
 

Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
This is one of the nicest things I ever saw written about a drummer, from a non drummer. Thank you. Do us a favor and try and get the guitarists to adopt this attitude lol. JK, but thanks for the kind thoughts. It's not often that drummers get props from the other band members, at least in my little world.
Yes Larry, I agree, isn't it nice to hear the truth, the whole truth, nothing but the truth, eh?
 
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