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#1
I'm new at playing bass and any other instrument for that matter I was just wondering if any one had some good timing excerises I could practice
#3
Get a metronome or drum machine and practise playing patterns to it. Count out the beats tapping your foot.
A seemlingly tedious exercise that can drastically improve anyone's timing.
#4
Everybody will tell you to use a metronome, but I via Jeff Berlin will tell you to LISTEN with your ears and KNOW the notes and the music IN YOUR HEAD down cold before you play. THAT will sort out your timing, as will confidence with the instrument.

I believe that timing can be worked on the same way your height can. You were born with it. Some people have it, some don't. You can't make yourself taller. You can't make yourself shorter. You can't get "better timing", and you can't lose your sense of timing.

That's just what I believe.
Quote by Cody_Grey102
I was looking at a used Warwick Vampyre LTD 5'er for about $200. I went home to grab my wallet and came back and some jerk with an epic beard got it already..
#6
Our drummer has actually been having us (whole band) do drumline rhythm excercises as warm ups before practices, using sticks, practice pads and a met.

Even doing something as simple as 8's. You just do 8th notes, 8 strikes per hand for a total of 64 notes + 1 release note, along to the met of course.

Its actually be extremely helpful with rhythm and timing. I recommend it.
#7
Quote by thefitz
Everybody will tell you to use a metronome, but I via Jeff Berlin will tell you to LISTEN with your ears and KNOW the notes and the music IN YOUR HEAD down cold before you play. THAT will sort out your timing, as will confidence with the instrument.

I believe that timing can be worked on the same way your height can. You were born with it. Some people have it, some don't. You can't make yourself taller. You can't make yourself shorter. You can't get "better timing", and you can't lose your sense of timing.

That's just what I believe.



I disagree with... everything you said. Listening with your ears and knowing the notes in your head will help you keep time how again? That sounds suspiciously hippy-like. I cannot get through my brain how knowing the notes better will help you keep straight time the whole way through. I can know the notes to Too High backwards and forwards and in inverted 77ths, but that won't make me play it any more in time. You know what helped me get it in time? I leave that one open ended.

Also, timing can't be worked on? Absolutely not. I can guarantee my timing wasn't anywhere near as good when I first picked up an instrument as it is now. I know a kid who had terrible timing on guitar. I mean, he couldn't even play a song with anyone else. I gave him my teacher's number (big advocate of a click) and within 6 months he improved ten fold.

Oh, and I lied, I agree with the confidence thing.

Also, my thoughts on the TS' question should be clearly seen here but if not, I say grab a click and play with it. Anything really, scales, songs, exercises etc.
#8
Tap Your foot, all the time, till you can't actually play without tapping your foot.
#9
I agree with both Jazz_Rock_Feel and Jim.
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#10
I agree with the point that Jazzy made about improving your timing. In my book, you can improve anything to do with music, keep on with that metronome! However, I also believe that sounding out the beat in your head (and out loud if you wish) as well as knowing when the notes come in the sequence, does show that you can play a song. If I can't hear the beat or notes in my head or visualise my fingers reaching them, I know I need more practice on the song.

Yes, sounds hippy-ish, but it's what I believe.
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#11
Yes Fitz, everyone can dance too, but some of us need a few lessons to find our inner Fred Astaires.

I have excellent relative pitch but my timing, while decent, needed a hit of honing. For me, having the dictatorship of the "click" to get my timing to the next level was necessary. And from there I had to then start in with the drummer / drum machine to take that bare bones heartbeat to the next level to relate that the nuances of a good drummer.

My point is that for most people the metronome is a guide / tool for unlocking that inner timing mechanism and making you a solid partner with the drummer in the rhythm section.
#12
Jazzy:

First off, check the Berlin/Bailey debate on Bass Player TV (which basically ends up with Bailey saying something Berlin said, Berlin defending what he said, and Bailey doing his best to find every potential loop hole in his arguement while going "haha! So there!").

Second off, how can knowing the notes help your timing? Because you can hear the song or given part in your head. That alone, inherently gives you a sense of timing in the song. If you don't know what to play, you don't know when to play it. Period. If you know the notes, you're not going to spend any time thinking "oh, uh... which ones come next?" which will totally throw off your timing. It's like trying to recite a speech you've only heard or read three times. You might be able to get through it, but it won't sound right.

If you know how the song goes, you'll know what to play, and you'll know when to play it. If you have a click, it might inspire you to make a judgement call if you don't know the note that's coming up, but that doesn't change the idea that you wouldn't need it had you known what the note was. Like Anarkee said - everyone can dance, but some need some coaxing to get their inner Fred Astaire out. If you don't know how to do the dance moves, it doesn't matter. Once you know the moves, you'll be surprised at how well you can put them together.

I think people rely on machines like metronomes and tuners too much. I believe everyone thinks that the metronomes and tuners help their sense of timing and pitch completely and that they're essential for those things. I don't believe that and I think people use them as a crutch and don't even believe THEY can do it themselves.

Jazzy, don't even get me started on the "he went to a teacher, and... um, the teacher told him to use a metronome!" Is that all the teacher did? Is that the only reason the teacher improved? What is this? "Taaaaappa tappa tappa?" If you hire a hitman and he shoots a guy, do you say "Dang, he used a gun, that's why the guy's dead"? Or was it the Hitman that pulled the trigger? Even though a knife would have been quieter, and cleaner (and leaving less evidence)? OK, maybe a metronome doesn't... leave evidence, but I'm surprised you even brought that teacher thing up. Did the teacher wear a baseball cap too?

I think mentronomes are good for pushing yourself to learn things at faster-than-intended tempos, and they're fun to use as backbeat to play under. However, as a sense of "timing", I don't buy it. Metronomes were never intended as time improvement tools. They were made so conductors can show players how fast to play.

Using a metronome to help your sense of timing, to me, is like using one of those car chamois to clean your glasses. Dry.
Quote by Cody_Grey102
I was looking at a used Warwick Vampyre LTD 5'er for about $200. I went home to grab my wallet and came back and some jerk with an epic beard got it already..
#13
I think it depends on the person. Me, shoot I aint never used no metro-gnome. I got a built in metronome I guess. I just tap out the tempo with my foot. Now, im not saying that its the right way, but it works. I guess if you need help with timing a metronome would be good for you.
#14
I can see what you're saying about the knowing the notes thing, but I still think it's a stretch. Also, how do you learn that rhythm or that weird dotted 64th thingamajig? I find the best way to wine and dine that song is with a metronome. When there's some syncopated sixteenth notes written, my foot or my mind can lie to me and then I get in a certain frame of mind and all of a sudden I find myself playing it wrong. The metronome doesn't lie, it has the click click click click going steady no matter what my hands do, and don't even get me started on the glory of subdividing metronomes.

Would I play to a metronome click while playing in a band? **** no. Not in a million years, but you can't deny it's a great tool to find rhythms.

That alone will help a sense of reading and musicianship, but also, to have that click behind you relentlessly pushing you WILL help you keep the tempo when you turn it off. I really can't see any way around that. It helps me identify where I slow down or lose time and then it allows me to internalize the speed those phrases should be going. That is an incredibly valuable tool any way you slice it.

Again, the click isn't about playing a song you already know, or one you practise with a band. To me a metronome is all too valuable when you're trying to learn a song with a tricky rhythm in it or a repetitive, mercilessly fast riff that always slows down. It will always have that quarter note in the background telling you how early or late that sixteenth note is coming or keep you in time when you're playing something tiring.

About the teacher thing I think you've missed the point. The kid's problem wasn't his technique or skill, but merely his timing. The teacher got him on a click and his timing improved. I'm sure the technique improved, but technique alone does not breed good timing, something else had to have been done.

Really? You busted out the why it was invented bull****? That's worse than the teacher remark. Regardless of how it was invented there are other uses for one. The computer probably wasn't built to look at porn, forums and play electronic solitaire.
#15
You cannot say that his timing improved with the metronome but his technique and skill improved with the teacher. I'm saying they're all related. I think if you practice completely out of time - I mean COMPLETELY - until you get some dotted 64th in 61/804 time lick down, and know what to play, THEN you can attack it in time WITHOUT the 'nome. Like... every pro says - practice slow at first until you have the lick or passage nailed. My thought is that once you have it nailed, your internal clock will be good enough to get it in the time you want. Are you saying that your internal timing isn't a machine and if it isn't a machine then it's not good enough? Please - the fact that people use metronomes on recordings now is one of the reasons music is crap. People come in separately, use a metronome, and leave. Then they stitch all the parts together. No more organic, evolving songs. Just metronomes.

And I'm not even going to dignify that computer remark with a response, as equating a machine like a computer with a machine like a metronome just doesn't make any sense. A metronome's been a metronome for a billiondy years. A computer doubles in processing speed every 18 months. You CAN look at porn, use forums, and play solitaire on your computer, and I think that using your metronome for timing is a placebo. But hey, if you think you're better because of the placebo, go for it. That usually means you're a hypochondriac, but that's fine.

EDIT: Watch that debate! You might not agree with it, but he makes the good points.
Quote by Cody_Grey102
I was looking at a used Warwick Vampyre LTD 5'er for about $200. I went home to grab my wallet and came back and some jerk with an epic beard got it already..
#16
Except how would a teacher improve timing other than by adding a metronome into the practise routine? By clapping...? Anyway, the point of going slow is great, but it doesn't mean it makes the rhythm correct. Your foot can still go wrong or be imperfect regardless of tempo. I'm not saying my internal timing isn't good enough, I'm saying that a metronome can help that internal clock keep steady for a given song. That recording bit is so ridiculously right it's frightening by the way.

Quote by thefitz
And I'm not even going to dignify that computer remark with a response, as equating a machine like a computer with a machine like a metronome just doesn't make any sense. A metronome's been a metronome for a billiondy years. A computer doubles in processing speed every 18 months. You CAN look at porn, use forums, and play solitaire on your computer, and I think that using your metronome for timing is a placebo.


haha

Couldn't help yourself could you? Anyway, I suppose you're right about that bit. Although how it's a placebo I don't understand. A placebo for what? It's a tool to improve timing and I use it to improve timing, I'm not imagining the fact that my timing's improved am I?
#17
I am loathe to jump in here, because this point / counterpoint is getting to be a fun read.

But...

Fitz, I will grant that the overuse of the "click" track has made music a bit too sterile and less organic than it used to be. No one should play to the click in that scenario. The beauty of music is the interaction of the musicians not the playing to a prescribed click of a beat.

However, I think that metronomes are a necessary process for most (not all) to get to a place where their timing is solid. Placebo no, think of it as a set of training wheels if you must. My point is that listening to the click, esp. when you are first playing is a necessary skill to build. It takes you outside of your own playing and makes you relate to an external source, that hopefully at some point is transfered to a ear for playing with others, esp. a drummer.

Over the last year, I have sat in with beginner guitarists and bass players, and every one of those kids did the same thing unless you set a beat; they played the rhythmically easy sections fast and the harder sections slow.
#18
I guess what I believe that I didn't quite word in this way is that timing itself doesn't need practicing. We all have great internal timing past a certain point** and I believe that your timing naturally improves as you become more comfortable with your instrument, and, once again, become able to hear the given part in your head. Timing takes care of itself as you become more confident with your instrument and I don't believe it's something you can isolate.

And no, no, I couldn't help it. However, a metronome is NOT a tool to improve timing - it's indicates tempo so you can say "ah, this is how fast it is." I think it's a placebo because it's a remedy for something that I really don't think exists - the need to improve "timing." Again, I don't think you can isolate it and it improves while your overall comfort level with the instrument improves. I think it's a placebo if people use it for timing.

**Just to clarify - I AM making the assumption that... we all know what timing is. This may sound a bit silly, but some people just... don't ****ing know. I tried to teach a buddy guitar, and he kinda got the idea of hitting steady quarter notes and eigth notes, but as soon as I said "do one quarter, then 2 eights", or "duh, duh-nuh, duh, duh-nuh", he just couldn't do it. I tried to get him an online metronome and he had no idea what it was and said it was confusing him, that it wasn't helping, and that I was stupid. The point is, the dude doesn't even know what a 4/4 is. I believe once the concept of a steady tempo clicks in (and I mean this is week 1 of instrument playing), any timing improvement comes with the territory of everything I've previously mentioned.

EDIT: That assumption was before I read Anarkee's comment. I agree - the metronome is a set of training wheels - but I think that's at the very, VERY beginning for a very short time. I think people don't take off their training wheels. I think, at that level, you implicitly learn timing anyway while learning other things - sure, keep the metronome on, but don't even sit there and think "I'm working on my timing." Keep it going when you're in your first month of playing while learning other things and you should be able to pick it up implicitly.
Quote by Cody_Grey102
I was looking at a used Warwick Vampyre LTD 5'er for about $200. I went home to grab my wallet and came back and some jerk with an epic beard got it already..
Last edited by thefitz at Apr 1, 2008,
#19
I don't think it's a set of training wheels. Lots of people use metronomes and even a lot of the "pros" I've met recommend them a lot. It's not just something for the beginner bassist, it's something to utilize no matter your skill level because it can always help. There will always be something where a steady rhythm comes in handy. Whether it's something tricky or stressing on your skill level or whatever, there are places that metronomes can be used to the musicians advantage.

You can't say that no one needs to improve timing. There are times when I get off the beat or twist it around somehow and a metronome while practising can isolate those problems and clue you in on how to fix it.
#21
I'm not saying throw metronomes away completely - I'm saying I believe that they don't help your actual sense of timing. I think I've made clear the reasons why. Disagree if you like, but this is what I think and I believe we need to lessen our dependancy on machines like metronomes and tuners and stop using them whenever we can.
Quote by Cody_Grey102
I was looking at a used Warwick Vampyre LTD 5'er for about $200. I went home to grab my wallet and came back and some jerk with an epic beard got it already..
#22
On the tuner thing, I personally hate using them, I'd much rather tune one string to another instrument I know is in tune and tune my bass to itself, but tuners are necessary. I've seen kids rely on a tuner that told you what string you were tuning and couldn't tune it themselves to save their life. Tuners and metronomes are devices designed to do perfectly what we can't: keep time and discern pitch. Yeah, some of us are real good at keeping time and some of us have perfect pitch. Those people are in the lowest percent of musicians.

It's like the natural talent v. learned talent debate. Some people are naturally good at playing bass or guitar or whatever, some have to learn. Neither type of person at the professional level is better because of how they learned, some just needed help getting there.

Playing by yourself with no metronome, no backing tracks, no drums, nothing will get you nowhere. Period. Some people have no natural sense of time, just like others can't discern notes. You simply can't get better without some type of solid backing. In my opinion, a metronome is no different than a really good drummer, just simpler. Are you saying that we don't need drummers?
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#23
A drummer's not a machine. Unless he's John Bonham. A drummer has the same kind of sense of time that you do.

If you think a drummer is a metronome, you're playing with Meg White. That's not good.
Quote by Cody_Grey102
I was looking at a used Warwick Vampyre LTD 5'er for about $200. I went home to grab my wallet and came back and some jerk with an epic beard got it already..
#24
I never said that, what I meant was that the concept and purpose of a drummer and a metronome are the same. Sure, an actual drummer is imperfect as well, but what do drummers use to improve their timing? Yup, you guessed it. Say to any drummer what you're saying to me now and expect about the same thing.

A drum loop, however, is nearly the same as a metronome, just a little fancier. My statement stands, though, any musician set in a room with no external timekeeping device other than their own little sense of rhythm will get nowhere.


EDIT: Upon reading over that post, I felt the need to parallel your theory of using a metronome in the early stages, then leaving it behind to teaching a kid the first verse of a song and expecting him to learn the rest of it by himself without ever hearing the song. He only knows halfway how to do something, how can he be expected to know how to do the rest? Sure, he might come up with the rest of the song himself, but it would be a heck of a lot harder.

Now I understand that kids these days depend far too much on their toys that came in their Squire starter pack, but that's no reason to abandon them like you're implying.
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Last edited by t3hrav3n at Apr 1, 2008,
#25
We're not drummers. And I know a lot of drummers that don't practice with a metronome. In my opinion, a drummer using a metronome is like a bass player using a metronome as backbeat - it's meant to help you be able to work around rhythms and give you a sense of push-pull. When things get robotic, they start to sound that way.

"My statement stands, though, any musician set in a room with no external timekeeping device other than their own little sense of rhythm will get nowhere."

I don't know what to call that - wrong, a lie, or sad. I don't know where the hell you're coming from there, unless you have an absolutely horrible sense of rhythm. In the Berlin/Bailey debate, Berlin pulled this woman out of the audience who never held an instrument in her life, and she could do a decent 4/4 without any accompaniment at all. Your mindset of "without a machine we're doomed" is one of the reasons music sucks today.

That edit, IMO, is a very, very poor arguement. What the hell are you talking about? Not learning the second verse? What I'm saying is that if he KNEW all the verses, he wouldn't need a metronome! Sorry dude, that analogy makes no sense at all. It's not another verse of the same song. Once you get a sense of time and learn the quarter, eighths, 16ths, etc, your internal clock should be good enough to progress with your skill.

I

AM

NOT SAYING

ABANDON A METRO

NOME.

I


AM


SAYING


IT

WON'T


HELP


YOUR


SENSE OF TIME


BEYOND


A


VERY


VERY


BASIC


POINT.

EDIT:

If you interact the same way with a metronome or a drum loop as you do a real drummer, the music you are playing is GARBAGE. Just GARBAGE. Pop punk, root note on the eigths garbage. Your entire post is actually quite upsetting. Reading "a drummer and a metronome have the same purpose" and "if you don't have a machine you're going nowhere" makes me thing that music has a very dark, sad future.
Quote by Cody_Grey102
I was looking at a used Warwick Vampyre LTD 5'er for about $200. I went home to grab my wallet and came back and some jerk with an epic beard got it already..
Last edited by thefitz at Apr 1, 2008,
#26
Real story...(and maybe Fitz can relate). From the Bx3 tour with Stu Hamm, Jeff Berlin and Bill Sheehan:

.“Don’t let Jeff see that copy of Time magazine,” says Stu on the ride to Detroit. “He hates metronomes, so the title will just piss him off.” Everybody laughs. “Actually,” says Jeff, “Time is okay. Just don’t let me see a copy of Click.”
#27
^Very clever and well-put.

Just like this Bx3 story:

"Somewhere outside of Chicago, we pass a Chinese restaurant advertising fresh clab. “What the heck is a clab?” asks Jeff, playing along with the typo. “Well,” answers Billy, “it’s a bit like a robster.”"
Quote by Cody_Grey102
I was looking at a used Warwick Vampyre LTD 5'er for about $200. I went home to grab my wallet and came back and some jerk with an epic beard got it already..
#28
My favourite story from that tour is still the Bong Recreational area story..

I'm sorry Fitz, I just had to inject a bit of levity in the thread.
#29
Yeah, but I'm still reeling over the "any musician set in a room with no external timekeeping device other than their own little sense of rhythm will get nowhere" remark. I just watched Joe Pass and NHOP play Donna Lee at 290bpm without a drummer.
Quote by Cody_Grey102
I was looking at a used Warwick Vampyre LTD 5'er for about $200. I went home to grab my wallet and came back and some jerk with an epic beard got it already..
#31
Quote by thefitz
Jazzy:
Metronomes were never intended as time improvement tools. They were made so conductors can show players how fast to play.



Fail.
#33
Real life story.

Couldnt play the 6/8 section in Fisher Tulls Liturgical Symphony. Slowed it down, set the the click to the eight note on my metronome, slowly sped it up, and now I can play it at and above tempo. Same thing for any other song Ive ever been able to not play.

Theres a reason every music teacher ever says use a metronome. Cause it works.
#34
Okay, pardon me, any new musician set in a room with no timekeeping device will not get far.

Drummers and metronomes are meant to keep time and rhythm. I'm not saying you can substitute a drummer with a metronome, but they both serve the purpose of keeping a beat. Don't jump my ass because you don't think you need a metronome. I'm not saying that people who have been playing bass for years are hopeless without a metronome, I'm not saying that a drummer and a metronome are interchangeable in all situations, I'm saying what everyone else in the world but you** is saying, which is metronomes can help you no matter what level you are at.

**That's a damn hyperbole.
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#35
Alright. I'm just saying I think they don't actually help your sense of timing and have given reasons why. Metronomes are useful tools for pushing yourself and playing with backbeat. They help you do things - just not improve your actual timing. They help people of every skill level, but only help the sense of timing of people at a very early stage of their musicianship.

Quote by zeppelinfreak51
Fail.

Listen, son, that's why they were made and that's all there is to it. They were made to indicate tempo.
Quote by Cody_Grey102
I was looking at a used Warwick Vampyre LTD 5'er for about $200. I went home to grab my wallet and came back and some jerk with an epic beard got it already..
#36
Quote by thefitz
Everybody will tell you to use a metronome, but I via Jeff Berlin will tell you to LISTEN with your ears and KNOW the notes and the music IN YOUR HEAD down cold before you play. THAT will sort out your timing, as will confidence with the instrument.

I believe that timing can be worked on the same way your height can. You were born with it. Some people have it, some don't. You can't make yourself taller. You can't make yourself shorter. You can't get "better timing", and you can't lose your sense of timing.

That's just what I believe.

sorry, but that's just off. while you can't go from an official sense of timing to a good one, you can defenitly improve it. when i started i couldnt keep time for ****, and know, im not great, but i can hold a rhythm and i can play in time.
The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far.
#37
Quote by thefitz

Listen, son, that's why they were made and that's all there is to it. They were made to indicate tempo.


I dont actually mean you fail, I just like to say it.

In all fairness your right,but who cares what it was intended for?

Ill bet if you ask any pro music teacher in the world how to drastically improve in a short amount of time, and they will say these three things. Scales, metronome, and small ensemble playing. They do this for a living, so I think theyd know. Plus, I use a metronome to get better and be able to play through near in possible passages all the time. And Im not nearly just starting, in fact, Im ranked the best tuba player in my state for my age bracket.
#38
Yeah, fail sounds like a wrong fact to me. Is Billy Sheehan ranked above Victor Wooten or what?

If you guys want to use metronomes, that's great, really. I've said before, they're useful, but I don't think they're as useful for everything that people say they are. That's all. If you disagree, go ahead and go on using them.

However, I know it's long, but I really think EVERYONE should watch the Berlin/Bailey debate. There's no slam-dunk winner, but many points get across well (for example, Berlin: "Heres what I think." Bailey "Why is there no apostrophe?")
Quote by Cody_Grey102
I was looking at a used Warwick Vampyre LTD 5'er for about $200. I went home to grab my wallet and came back and some jerk with an epic beard got it already..
#39
^I watched that debate and it's funny how different perspectives see different things. To me all Jeff Berlin showed me was that he was brash, aloof and a bit of a jerk. Steve Bailey to me made much more valid points and overall made a lot more sense.
#40
Funny, while both made valid points, Steve Bailey seemed quite annoying to me... as if he was asking questions he knew the answer to just to make a point. It's as if he asked every conceivable question about what Jeff said hoping for Jeff to stumble on his words so he can shake his arms and cross his head.

Wait a sec...
Quote by Cody_Grey102
I was looking at a used Warwick Vampyre LTD 5'er for about $200. I went home to grab my wallet and came back and some jerk with an epic beard got it already..
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