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Drummers Rule! : Slap Basics With Doug Johns

Meet Doug Johns –

I would like to start by congratulating Bass Musician Magazine on its second anniversary! This great bass magazine continues to raise the bar for the bass community, and I’m honored to be a part of it.

When I looked back at two years of articles written, I only had to glance over my titles, and I realized that I have a recurring theme. I’m pretty sure I sound a little like a broken record: Drums Drums Drums!! I’ve stressed the importance of the relationship between the bass player and the drummer in almost every Bass Musician Magazine article I’ve written… And yes. I’m going to talk about it again.

Like most kids, drums (ie pots and pans on the front porch) were my first instrument – and boy, am I glad they were! I believe, without a doubt, that if you want to play bass, probably the best place to start is learning to play the drums. It’s a real foundation for any musician to build upon, especially for bass players.

By trying to work out beats/rhythms on the drum kit (or anything percussive), you physically and literally are doing the truest of soul releases. And with your soul wide open, you’ll start to develop your all-important sense of inner time.

Creating and developing this internal clock is paramount in making a great bass player. So, it should come as no surprise that the world’s best bass players inevitably have the heart and soul of a smokin’ drummer – and more than likely have a killer drummer right next to them, too!

On the road, I’m lucky enough to share the stage with two killin’ drummers – Chris Ceja and Eric Byous. Check out the videos of these cats, and you’ll quickly see how, while both being staunch pocket players, their individual approaches to the duo setting make for completely different (and equally interesting) soundscapes.

I feel like a kid in a candy store when it comes to playing with different drummers. The same song always comes out in a new way when driven by the drummer’s unique rythmic approach. And that’s just the way it should be!

I know I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Let’s get to rehearsal early and jump behind that drum kit. Work on some grooves and solidify that inner clock. I’m sure your drummer will appreciate it, and it will definitely improve your bass playing.

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