My StudyBass

Rhythm, is everything. It doesn't matter what scales and chords you know if you can't play them with a solid rhythm.

Keeping a Steady Pulse

Because everything works off of a consistent beat, being comfortable playing a steady beat is essential. The bassist and the drummer work together as guardians of the beat.

Play for someone or listen to a recording of yourself and ask, “Can you tap your foot to this?” “Can you dance to it?” The answer must be YES.

If your timing isn't solid, you have some very important work to do. Remember the clapping exercise? DO IT! (Yes, I'm yelling.)

Basic Subdivisions: 8ths, Triplets, Shuffle

If you can keep the beat steady, the next step is getting comfortable with playing the subdivisions of the beat.

Here are the links to the basic rhythmic subdivisions we've discussed so far. You should be able to play these rhythms steadily:

Straight 8th Notes

8th Note Triplets

Shuffle 8th Notes

Practice Songs Intelligently

Don't only play songs along with a recording. This is very important. A recording gives you all sorts of cues like when to come in, where you are in a song, and where all of the rhythmic subdivisions are. The recording does a lot of your internal musicianship work for you. Don't rely on the recording. A recording is like training wheels.

Instead of playing to a recording, play the whole song just to a metronome. Then, play the whole song without a metronome. Then, trying playing with a live drummer. You will see this is harder than playing to a recording. But, this is how a real-world situation will be. You can't lean on anyone to know where the beat is. You must internalize the beat.

Rhythm Review Exercises

Don't miss the cumulative rhythm review exercises for this block for some ways to practice your subdivisions.