Essential Secrets 41: Work Only on Rhythms
Work Only on Rhythms
Controlling the Placement of Every Note
Sometimes there’s just too much to think about. If you're learning a new section of music, you may feel overwhelmed with finding the notes, counting difficult rhythms, and phrasing the line. You’ve got to work on all these individual details while simultaneously overcoming the technical challenges needed to play everything together. Given these complexities, many bassists find themselves getting nowhere quickly.
In order to make forward progress, an essential strategy is to work on rhythms all by themselves. When you focus on a particularly challenging rhythm, you can completely forget the high notes, your fingerings, and which frets to play. Leaving these pitch worries behind, you’ll be much more efficient in making the rhythm perfect.
Once you’ve zeroed in on a particular rhythm that needs your attention, there are several techniques to quickly master the rhythm. Try each of these at a slow tempo:
· Don’t play your bass. Clap the rhythm or snap your fingers.
· While clapping or snapping, count out loud.
· Count every subdivision of every beat. Subdivide your count to match the shortest note in the pattern. For instance, if the shortest note is a sixteenth note, subdivide every beat into sixteenth notes.
· Once you have the rhythm under control while counting out loud, keep the count silently and continue practicing the rhythm.
· Play the rhythm on your bass—but only on a single pitch. Continue counting no matter what!
· Going very slowly with your metronome on, play the rhythm with all the correct pitches. Keep counting!
· Using your metronome, work up the rhythm to performance speed.
You can use all of these strategies or choose the ones that make the most sense for the bass line you’re currently learning. No matter which technique you use, the important thing is to stay in control and play the rhythms accurately.
Books by David Motto:
THE TEN MINUTE
FOR ELECTRIC BASS
COMPLETE 3-VOL. SET