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10 Obsessive Tips for Improving Your Rhythmic Abilities by Igor Saavedra

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10 Obsessive Tips for Improving Your Rhythmic Abilities by Igor Saavedra… Believe me, I’ve done all this crazy stuff myself throughout the years…. well, I am a highly obsessive music student, and I accept that about myself!

1 – Always practice with a metronome… remember that most bass players don’t dedicate a lot of time to this, so to become a soloist or play on their own like a violinist does, you need to flow freely over the groove set by some other musicians. In my opinion, we became bassists to set the groove in a ‘band context’, and for that reason a metronome is the best available tool, even better than a drum machine, because it exposes all your mistakes so you can notice them and improve them.

2 – In relation to the last point, a very important ability to develop is to be able to find any tempo speed just by listening to it. The best way in my opinion is to use a metronome for checking. The more you practice, the better you’ll get.

3 – Whenever you walk any place use that awesome opportunity to practice establishing a steady tempo with your steps and singing your best grooves over it. I’ve been doing this since I became a musician; many times people around me think that I’m just another crazy guy on the street… and they are so right!

4 – One of the most important rhythmic abilities is to be fully conscious of  “Time” in the sense of the length or duration of the musical elements. As an obsessive music student (don’t tell that to anybody), I practiced for years using a good Chronograph hanging on my chest so I was able to guess different durations of sounds and rests – e.g.: 1 second, 75 cents of a second, 2 seconds and 80 cents, etc, and sometimes I still do… I got very good on that, and believe me it’s a very useful ability.

5 – Practice dividing just one 40bpm beat in different fractions. I suggest dividing the beat in 2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15, etc. Play four bars with each subdivision and then move to the next and so on, then go the opposite way. As an obsessive music student I’ve been doing this for the last 20 years and it’s amazingly useful!

6 – Practicing polyrhythms is a highly recommendable subject to address, but not in the way a drummer will do it, that’s distributing different subdivisions related to each other within your 4 limbs. What is useful for bassists is developing the ability to combine different subdivisions between the foot and the fingers. For example, tap your foot and at the same time play 5 equally distributed notes on your bass every four beats you play with your foot. The possible combinations are endless (7:5, 6:7, 2:3, 3:7, etc,). Believe it or not many rhythms we usually play are based on this concept, so it’s a very useful skill to develop. I’ve been practicing this stuff non-stop for the last 15 years.

7 – In relation to the last point, tapping our foot while we play is a highly recommendable skill to develop. What happens here is that the foot provides us objective and precise information about where the tempo is. You won’t only be able to hear it, but also to feel it. Also, it is highly recommendable to get used to practicing certain music styles like Shuffle, Swing, Be Bop and many Jazz related styles, placing the foot on beats 2 & 4, which will provide the real feel for those specific styles by accentuating the right beats. Tapping the foot while we play is an ultra helpful tool for developing our groove.

8 – A very simple exercise is trying to make the metronome “disappear” at different tempos. It’s really easy and fun! Just set the metronome at any speed you want and then clap your hands exactly at that speed. You can play over a table or pluck a string of your Bass, but the most important thing is doing it with such a precision that hearing the sound of the metronome becomes absolutely impossible. It’s very important to mention that the slower the speed the harder it gets to achieve that “virtual disappearance”. I’ve been practicing this myself and with my students for almost 25 years… it’s really fun and most important, when it comes to developing accuracy, it really works!

9 – When practicing, treat rests and sounds equally. Never act as if sounds are more important than rests. You can put that basic concept into real practice by trying all the possible combinations between sounds and rests across all the subdivisions of one beat. When you practice points 5 and 6 include this concept and point of view in your exercises. If you practice this a million times you’ll hear the difference in your playing!

10 – Never miss the opportunity to percuss! If you are eating, sitting on a park bench, watching TV, pushing the cart at the supermarket, etc, just put your hands on any close and available surface like a table, sofa, pole, thighs & chest (mainly yours ha-ha-ha), etc, and enjoy the magic of rhythm!

See you on the next…

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This Week’s Top 10 Basses on Instagram

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TOP 10 Basses of the week

Check out our top 10 favorite basses on Instagram this week…

Click to follow Bass Musician on Instagram @bassmusicianmag

FEATURED @meridian_guitars @adamovicbasses @anacondabasses @mgbassguitars @xylembassguitar @officialspector @edwinpaanakker @alesvychodilbasses @boyarskycg @dmarkguitars

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Bass Videos

Interview With By the Thousands Bassist Adam Sullivan

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Interview With By the Thousands Bassist Adam Sullivan

Bassist Adam Sullivan…

Hailing from Minnesota since 2012, By the Thousands has produced some serious Technical Metal/Deathcore music. Following their recent EP “The Decent”s release, I have the great opportunity to chat with bassist Adam Sullivan.

Join me as we hear about Adam’s musical Journey, his Influences, how he gets his sound, and the band’s plans for the future

Photo, Laura Baker

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IG &FB @bythethousands
YTB @BytheThousands

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Bass CDs

Album Review: Mark Egan, Cross Currents

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Album Review: Mark Egan, Cross Currents

Mark Egan, Cross Currents…

It is exciting every time I get a new album from Mark Egan as he is such an amazingly versatile player and I never know what to expect (except for excellent artistry!) In his latest release, Mark has teamed up with Shawn Peyton on drums and Shane Theriot on guitar to bring us “Cross Currents”.

This collection of eleven tracks transports me to the Gulf Coast (New Orleans specifically). Mark’s fretless basses lay down a solid groove and lots of juicy solo work for this rootsy collection of funk, ambient, swamp-rock, second line, ballads, Cajun and even Indian Raga.

This trio is super-tight and the musicianship is flawless as each member has ample opportunity to shine. Even though each player is very talented in their own right, I feel that the collective energy is greater than just the sum of the players on this album. Each musician contributed to composing music for this project but the lion’s share are Mark’s original pieces.

I spent the summer of 1981 in New Orleans and this wonderful music takes me back to those fond memories. I participated in a wacky raft race on Lake Ponchatrain and this opening track elicits images of fun, sunshine, music, and great food.

This is another superb album that everyone will enjoy. Get your copy today! Cross Currents is available online at Amazon.com. Visit Mark online at markegan.com.

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Gear Reviews

Review: Joyo Tidal Wave Preamp

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Review: Joyo Tidal Wave Preamp

Joyo Tidal Wave Preamp: A Tribute to 90’s Iconic Sounds

Disclaimer: This pedal was kindly provided by Joyo for the purpose of this review. However, this does not influence our opinion or the content of our review. We strive to provide honest, unbiased, and accurate assessments to ensure that our readers receive truthful and helpful information.

In the realm of bass preamp/DI pedals, capturing the essence of iconic tones from the 90s can often feel like an elusive pursuit. However, the Joyo Tidal Wave Preamp emerges as a great option for bass players seeking to replicate the signature sounds of that era, particularly the revered tech21 SansAmp. With its robust feature set and compact design, the Tidal Wave offers a faithful homage to classic rock tones and low-gain distortions, all while providing modern conveniences for today’s bassist. Let’s delve into why the Joyo Tidal Wave stands out as a versatile and budget-friendly tool for both stage and studio.

Specs:

Measuring at 130 * 110 * 50 mm and weighing 442g, the Joyo Tidal Wave strikes a balance between portability and durability, making it ideal for gigging musicians and studio enthusiasts alike. With a power consumption of just 100 mA and a working voltage of DC 9V, the Tidal Wave ensures reliable performance in a variety of settings.

Controls:

At the heart of the Tidal Wave’s versatility lies its comprehensive control set, allowing bass players to sculpt their tone with precision. Key features include:

– Level: Sets the overall output volume of the pedal.

– Blend: Blends the dry signal with the cab-emulated signal, offering seamless integration of the pedal into any setup.

– Presence: Controls the dynamics of the high upper-mids, crucial for shaping drive tones.

– Drive: Introduces low-gain distortions and classic rock sounds into the clean tone.

– Treble, Middle, and Bass: Provides a 3-band EQ with frequency selectors for bass (40Hz – 80Hz) and mids (500Hz – 1KHz), offering ample control over tonal shaping.

– Middle Shift and Bass Shift: Allows for further fine-tuning of midrange and bass frequencies.

– Ground Lift: Helps eliminate ground loop noise in certain setups.

– DI Attenuation Switch: Adjusts the level of the DI output signal.

– LED Light Switch Control: Allows users to customize the ambient lighting of the pedal.

Performance:

True to its inspiration, the Joyo Tidal Wave excels in delivering classic rock tones and low-gain distortions reminiscent of the tech21 SansAmp. Whether you’re seeking gritty overdriven sounds or pristine clean tones, the Tidal Wave offers unparalleled flexibility and sonic versatility. The inclusion of a headphone out, XLR DI out with cab simulation, and throughout for the original bass sound make the Tidal Wave a versatile tool for both stage and studio applications. From practicing silently with headphones to crafting quality recordings in an ampless setup, the Tidal Wave delivers on all fronts with clarity, definition, and unmistakable character.

Pros:

The Tidal Wave boasts an array of advantages that set it apart from its direct competitors:

– Headphone Out: Transforms the pedal into a convenient practice tool.

– Size and Weight: Compact and lightweight design for easy transportation and setup.

– Rugged Construction: Durable build quality ensures longevity and reliability.

– DI and CabSim: Offers professional-grade direct recording capabilities with authentic cab simulation.

– Familiar Tones: Faithfully replicates the classic rock sounds of the tech21 SansAmp.

Cons:

While the Tidal Wave excels in many aspects, it does have a few drawbacks:

– Plastic Knobs: Knobs may feel less premium compared to pedals with metal controls.

– Cab Simulation Only on XLR Output: Limited cab simulation functionality may require additional routing for certain setups.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, the Joyo Tidal Wave Preamp stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of classic rock tones from the 90s. With its faithful homage to the tech21 SansAmp, comprehensive control set, and modern conveniences like headphone out and XLR DI with cab simulation, the Tidal Wave offers bassists a versatile  tool for sculpting their sound with precision and finesse. Whether you’re seeking to replicate iconic tones from the past or forge new sonic territories, the Joyo Tidal Wave Preamp is sure to inspire creativity and elevate your playing to new heights.

Available online at Amazon.com

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This Week’s Top 10 Basses on Instagram

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TOP 10 Basses of the week

Check out our top 10 favorite basses on Instagram this week…

Click to follow Bass Musician on Instagram @bassmusicianmag

FEATURED @cb_basses @alesvychodilbasses @odiengcustom @ramabass.ok @mauriziouberbasses @mgbassguitars @capursoguitars @thebassplace @adamovicbasses @ishguitars

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