Here's an exercise that we could all spend some time on. Even our non-bass playing musician friends.
We all spend time working on our well... time, especially with a metronome. Here are some metronome exercises that will spice up that old box sitting on your music stand.
We are all so used to practicing with the metronome clicking away at one click per beat. In other words, clicking on 1,2,3,4. What if we were to “set” the metronome to click only on beats 1 & 3. Actually you don’t set anything, you simply manipulate your playing to make it sound like it’s clicking on beats 1 & 3 like in example 1. If you are practicing something at let’s say 100bpm, set your metronome to 50bpm, basically half time. Your playing tempo hasn’t changed, only the metronome’s. Now you are playing so that it clicks only on beats 1 & 3.
Do the same thing with example 2 only now, YOU are responsible for supplying the down beat to each bar. This will be a little harder to start off because the metronome is counting on 2 & 4. As it clicks try to “grab on” to a click and start counting from either 2 or 4 and then accent the downbeat of each bar thereafter.
Examples 3 -6 are more quarter note exercises that you can try once you are comfortable with 1 and 2. Now you only have one click per measure though. Most mechanical metronomes will only go as low as 40bpm so this is where you’ll want to set your tempo. Remember though, setting the tempo to 40bpm gives you an actual playing tempo of 160bpm!!! Do the math!!!
Examples 7,8 & 9 are for the really, really ambitious ones. Example 7 has you playing against the upbeat of every beat. Example 8 only has you playing against the upbeat of beats 1 & 3. And, example 9 has you playing against the upbeats of beats 2 & 4.
So what do you practice with these metronome exercises??? Anything and everything. From reading walking basslines to practicing your scales and arpeggios, these exercises can be used almost anywhere. Start them slow and with material that you might already be comfortable with. This way here you’ll only have to concentrate on keeping the time.
Until Next Time....