Here's a challenging bass rhythm exercise for you.
But first, let's make a few things clear:
Your study of rhythm, groove, feel, and time will define how good you are as a bassist.
A bass player who can play simple notes that sound good is a bass player in demand.
Rhythms come in many forms and time signatures define how they are felt. The top number in a time signature tells you how many beats there are in a bar (or measure) and the bottom number refers to the type of beat.
So 4/4 means that there are four quarter note beats in a bar and 5/4; five quarter notes in a bar.
Knowing this will help you study rhythms and different musical feels.
But, studying rhythm is separate to mastering how to play well in time. That comes down to metronome practice and playing with good drummers or drum loops.
For now, watch the video blow, download the PDF and backing tracks (scroll down) and take each line on its own before eventually attempting all together.
Don't worry if you're far off that goal now - it might take some time!
Each track starts with a two bar count in to give you time to get ready for the first beat.
Drums + Metronome
Reading Music On Bass Guitar
I mentioned reading music a few times in the video lesson above. It's an incredibly useful skill to have that is something of a dying art amongst bass players.
I want to change that and get as many bass players reading as possible!
Here are some links to some basic music reading bass lessons.
I hope you got something from this lesson. There isn't one standout important aspect of bass playing but rhythm is right at the top of the list (along with technique, having a great ear, and some music theory knowledge).
Here are some more lessons that will help with your study of rhythms.
- Play each line separately
- Always tap your foot to the beat
- Subdivide the beats
- Aim to play the whole thing, repeating back to the beginning when you get to the end (this may take a while but you can do it!)
- Think about investing time into reading music on bass