Groove Sync: Mastering Bass Guitar with Kick Drum Patterns

This is a simple method to make your bass lines lock with the drum kit. As an essential part of the rhythm section, syncing your groove with the drums is a non negotiable.

One way of easily doing that is to play the same or similar rhythms to the bass (or kick) drum. You don't have to do that so I'll also show you how to play against it.

Scroll down for the three free kick drum pattern backing tracks and some examples of great bass lines that play with or around the kick drum.

Kick Drum Bass Guitar Backing Tracks

Kick on beats 1 and 2 1/2


Kick on beats 1, last 1/16th of 2, and 3

Four on the floor kick pattern

Bass Lines That Lock To The Kick Drum

Dreams - Fleetwood Mac

John McVie's bass line matches to the kick with a couple of extra rhythms to propel the groove forward.

David Bowie – Absolute Beginners (Live BBC Radio Theatre 2000)

Listen to the verses where Gail Anne Dorsey's fabulous melodic bass line weaves around the kick drum pattern. Notice how the bass often matches up.

Phil Collins - Inside Out (Seriously Live in Berlin 1990)

Leland Sklar's bass and Chester Thompson's kick perform a duet in the verses especially. Notice Sklar's impeccable use of space.

Listen out in songs for what the bass does in conjunction with the kick drum. Is it:

  • Locked in with the kick drum
  • Playing different rhythms against the kick drum
  • Mixing things up

Learn from what you hear and use the ideas you like in your own playing.

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  • Dorsey’s line is fabulous, articulated but not invasive at all.

    Good point on this Daniel, I clearly remember the first time I met a drummer, I was 14, and joined for an afternoon a metal band that was looking for a bass player, I had a huge problem with timing in the room with two crazy guitarists playing at full volume and a singer screaming like crazy, the drummer stopped and said “just sit on my side, listen to the kick” , instant improve.

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