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Pocket Drummer? Someone explain this, please.


pickinatit

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I got dropped from my band. THe organizer said that he and the drummer were giving up the project (combo of covers / originals) and had decided to just try to get themselves into already existing bands instead of keeping up this one that they were trying to start from scratch. The leader had complained about my tone/sound in the past but always assured me when he criticized it that it was not my playing, my tone/sound just lacked bottom punch (you may remember my earlier thread about this). Then when I went to post an add to find other musicians to play with I discovered that a month prior he was running an add for a new bassist. All that is beside the point now and maybe the topic for another thread. But to help me become a better bassist please explain what this means in terms of the possible shortcomings in my playing so that I might become a better bassist.

(quoting the adv. they put in Harmony Central a month before he lied to me and told me the project was being discontinued / band breaking up)

"...can deliver a punch to our music, we are looking for the bassist that can lay down a thick array of bottom to coexist with our drummer who is a pocket drummer with a need for strong bass lines, "

What is a "pocket" drummer and how does one need to play different with a "pocket" drummer then with other types of drummers. (I assume there are other types of drummers; what are THEY called and what are Their caharacteristics?

I read some responses and chime in if there is anything that I don't understand. Help me be better.

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Based on this, he wants you to stop noodling, play less notes with more impact and be one with the drums.

 

 

OK. Yeah. I always felt as if he was trying to beat me into being a bass note thumper which bores me to tears. I'd rather not be in a band where I have to do that and I could see that conflict building as time went by. But how does that reconcile with a "thick array..." ?

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OK. Yeah. I always felt as if he was trying to beat me into being a bass note thumper which bores me to tears. I'd rather not be in a band where I have to do that and I could see that conflict building as time went by. But how does that reconcile with a "thick array..." ?

 

 

You have to be tasteful with your note selection, and not too flashy. Playing only root notes isn't manditory but you have to serve the song first. The idea is to blend into the song so that you're not attracting attention but if you were to disappear, people would immediately notice.

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You have to be tasteful with your note selection, and not too flashy. Playing only root notes isn't manditory but you have to serve the song first. The idea is to blend into the song so that you're not attracting attention but if you were to disappear, people would immediately notice.

 

 

OK, I am beginning to understand a little better. Keep it coming.

My guitar playing background is maybe getting in the way a bit.

The style of music is different then what I used to play on bass in the past too. I played more Hard Rock and S. Rock (Zepelin and Skynrd type stuff) where the bass gets to go more all over the place.

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You have to be tasteful with your note selection, and not too flashy. Playing only root notes isn't manditory but you have to serve the song first. The idea is to blend into the song so that you're not attracting attention but if you were to disappear, people would immediately notice.

 

 

Think "The Police" and you're getting there.

 

Some players have made careers of playing to the song without overplaying. Another would be Sir Paul.

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OK, I am beginning to understand a little better. Keep it coming.

My guitar playing background is maybe getting in the way a bit.

The style of music is different then what I used to play on bass in the past too. I played more Hard Rock and S. Rock (Zepelin and Skynrd type stuff) where the bass gets to go more all over the place.



Take a listen to Mike Gordon of Phish. Sometimes he keeps it in the pocket, other times he'll let loose. But during the times he plays in the pocket, he lets the notes ring through with nice sustain, using a nice deep rich tone that gives him a presence without being flashy at all.

Rise above the need to draw attention to yourself. :thu:

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+1. No one is a bigger attention whore than me, but what I keep getting calls for is that I play to the song.



actually, i will fight for the title of "Biggest Attention Whore EVER", but that notwithstanding...i'm not a particularly talented bass player, but i'm in ridiculous demand with bands. why? from something i learned from a bass player i really admired about 20 years ago. he told me after the first show i played with a new band:

kid, you can play. but i don't care. remember, basses should be felt, not heard.

really great advice. i've tried to stick to it ever since. don't overplay, don't let people notice what you're playing. when you're really solid, you're underneath everything. they don't notice you, but everyone would really notice if you weren't there! :blah: :blah: :blah:

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actually, i will fight for the title of "Biggest Attention Whore EVER", but that notwithstanding...i'm not a particularly talented bass player, but i'm in ridiculous demand with bands. why?

 

 

Because you're so damn cute.

 

19214

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+1. No one is a bigger attention whore than me, but what I keep getting calls for is that I play to the song. When it's necessary to get flashy, I can bring it, but I never compromise the groove!

 

 

I hear what you guys are saying and will take it in and, hopefully to heart. But please know that my style of play isn't about attention...just about what I genuinly think sounds good in the context of the song.

 

And I think this "leader" has extreme ideas about this.

 

I made two test cases. Eagles "Lyin' Eyes" and Cream "Crossroads"

I painstakingly learned the bass lines from those two songs EXACTLY like they are on the records. I mean I had them down cold!! When I went over them with the guitar player/leader he stopped in the middle of Lyin Eyes and said, "All that stuff your playing (runs to tie chord changes together), well, that isn't part of it" He said pretty much the same thing about Crossroads. He said "it doesn't go like that, you just stay on this pattern (You guys all know the one). He wouldn't acknowledge that in one part of the song especially, Jack Bruce goes all over. Too Stifling.

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all excellent advice.



I think it was Rowka who said "The guys will play air guitar to the guitar solos, but it's the hot chicks who will shake their asses to the bass all night long."

 

 

You guys are giving me lots to think about. I'll be better for it the next time out.

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I hear what you guys are saying and will take it in and, hopefully to heart. But please know that my style of play isn't about attention...just about what I genuinly think sounds good in the context of the song.


And I think this "leader" has extreme ideas about this.


I made two test cases. Eagles "Lyin' Eyes" and Cream "Crossroads"

I painstakingly learned the bass lines from those two songs EXACTLY like they are on the records. I mean I had them down cold!! When I went over them with the guitar player/leader he stopped in the middle of Lyin Eyes and said, "All that stuff your playing (runs to tie chord changes together), well, that isn't part of it" He said pretty much the same thing about Crossroads. He said "it doesn't go like that, you just stay on this pattern (You guys all know the one). He wouldn't acknowledge that in one part of the song especially, Jack Bruce goes all over. Too Stifling.

 

 

You're better off.

 

I'd tell the guitar player to shove it up his ass if he ever said anything like that to me. Then I'd bust out the mp3 player with the orginal version and play it through the PA.

 

Some people are assholes who want the bass player to be the "thud thud thud thud" guy because the drummer is too much of a {censored}up to deal with a guy with a little bit of groove.

 

I always play to the song and my basslines are almost always over simplified, but a guitarist bitching about a fill run is just plain bull{censored}.

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I would guess the timing of your playing may not be 'where the drummer plays'. I am not saying you aren't playing in time, but if you are playing lots of notes (like Jack Bruce) and your drummer is laying the beat down.....even a busy one.....the two of you need to be hitting the beats together.

I used to play in a blues 3-piece that was quite good, especially the guitarist. He was all over me to play behind the beat, much like Tommy Shannon did with Stevie Ray Vaughn. Eventually I realized, the bass and drums both 'pull' behind the beat in that style of music. Texas Blues style calls for the guitarist to rush ahead of the beat a little, and the bass and drums to play behind the beat a little.

If you can picture the beats from a metronome flowing past you like targets, you want to aim just behind them, consistantly. If you do this right, it adds a chug to a shuffle style song, and really seperates a pro blues rhythm section from a bunch of white guys in a garage that just don't have 'that' sound.

This may or may not be the problem, but is an example that even though you may have good timing and play at the right tempo, don't rush fills, etc., others in your group may have a different idea of where you should be playing in respect to their style.

Try listening to SRV and listen for the exact time snare and kick hit the beat, with the bass, and listen to where SRV is playing....with a little concentration, you can understand how he rushes ahead, and the rhythm section lays behind....these 3 are probably some of the best musicians in the world, and no one plays exactly on the beat. Together, they sound amazing with a groove a mile wide.

:eek: (Did any of that make sense?!)

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I would guess the timing of your playing may not be 'where the drummer plays'. I am not saying you aren't playing in time, but if you are playing lots of notes (like Jack Bruce) and your drummer is laying the beat down.....even a busy one.....the two of you need to be hitting the beats together.


I used to play in a blues 3-piece that was quite good, especially the guitarist. He was all over me to play behind the beat, much like Tommy Shannon did with Stevie Ray Vaughn. Eventually I realized, the bass and drums both 'pull' behind the beat in that style of music. Texas Blues style calls for the guitarist to rush ahead of the beat a little, and the bass and drums to play behind the beat a little.


If you can picture the beats from a metronome flowing past you like targets, you want to aim just behind them, consistantly. If you do this right, it adds a chug to a shuffle style song, and really seperates a pro blues rhythm section from a bunch of white guys in a garage that just don't have 'that' sound.


This may or may not be the problem, but is an example that even though you may have good timing and play at the right tempo, don't rush fills, etc., others in your group may have a different idea of where you should be playing in respect to their style.


Try listening to SRV and listen for the exact time snare and kick hit the beat, with the bass, and listen to where SRV is playing....with a little concentration, you can understand how he rushes ahead, and the rhythm section lays behind....these 3 are probably some of the best musicians in the world, and no one plays exactly on the beat. Together, they sound amazing with a groove a mile wide.


:eek:
(Did any of that make sense?!)



Yes, I understand what you're getting at. I wish that my band leader had been able to articulate these things as well as you guys have, maybe I would still be around. But I'm not crying over being out of that band. I just want to learn from this to become a better bassist. I didn't particularly like the turn this band took when they decided to start playing all originals. We already weren't covering enough of the kind of music that I like to play. I want to play the music I like, just because I like it. I just worry about finding a group of guys that are like minded about just doing this for fun.

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