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practice routine
exercise 1
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bass players
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Bass Guitar Metronome Practice
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Bass Guitar Metronome Practice

Ever wonder what makes great bands so easy to listen to? Or why some bands sound so good on the album but not as good live? What is it that makes people easily clap their hands and tap their feet to a song? Every bass player and drummer should know the answer to this question. It's the ability to play in the pocket meaning play at an even and consistent tempo throughout the entire song. This article focuses on metronome practice and why every bass player should make this part their daily routine.

Most agree that a bass players functional contribution to the musical whole is to provide support for the chordal arrangement of a song by staying close to the root note, having sound rhythm, and playing in time. I notice far to many students spending a lot of energy and time on practicing bass fills and flashy popping and slapping techniques. Most beginners and some intermediate players can't even use those flashy fills in a song context because they've completely ignored one of the bass guitar's main function. If you want to elevate your playing to a professional level, practicing with a metronome or drum machine is essential and far more valuable than flash.

When I started out on bass I was always wondering what I should practice next. I didn't have formal study at first and listening to songs on the radio while trying to find the notes on the bass would only interest me for so long. I don't want to get off track here but it is crucial to design a practice routine, which I discuss in another article. Make working with a metronome part of your practice routine and in a very short time you will have a noticeable sense of time you never had before. Here are a few exercises to begin with.

Exercise 1

Set the metronome or drum machine to play quarter notes then set to a comfortable tempo (try 65).

Count 1-2-3-4 while playing quarter notes in any scale, pattern or mode you know. I recommend the major scale in any key. Play as even as you can. If you can hear the metronome you are off time. Write down the scale you used and the tempo speed you were comfortably able to play at, so you know your limitations. Then the next time you practice start at the tempo you left off with and try to surpass it.

Exercise 2

Set the metronome or drum machine same as above. Count 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and while playing eighth notes. Remember if you can hear the metronome you are out of time.

There are many more variations that you can incorporate into your practice routine but this is a good place to start. Make this part of your daily practice and you may very well be getting the whole band to play in time.


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