The DOD FX25 is now sadly discontinued, but there are plenty floating about on eBay and other second hand gear sites. Here’s an overview of the pedal’s features and a…
Category: Groove of the Week
Looking to dive into the murky waters of synth bass but don’t want to go near a keyboard? Fear not, help is at hand – the Electro Harmonix Bass Micro…
Looking to dive into the murky waters of synth bass but don’t want to go near a keyboard? Fear not, help is at hand – the Electro Harmonix Bass Micro Synth delivers a range of classic synth sounds on a budget and with minimal programming requirements:
EHX also publish a pdf of sample settings that lets you get straight to the good stuff without hours of unnecessary knob-twiddling. I went through all their tone templates to see what the pedal is capable of:
GOTW HITS 50! It’s finally here. The last instalment of the Groove of The Week series – what should have taken a year has taken nearly 3, but better late…
GOTW HITS 50!
It’s finally here. The last instalment of the Groove of The Week series – what should have taken a year has taken nearly 3, but better late than never…
Back To The Start
This groove is actually what started everything; I remember getting hold of the Joshua Redman Elastic Band album Momentum (2005) when I was a student and immediately got hooked on the combination of jazz harmony and deep groove that ran through every track. Momentum features a number of guest musicians throughout the album, but because I’d, errr… ‘acquired’ it I didn’t have access to the cd liner notes to see who played on each track; I could hear that one of the bassists sounded like Flea, but there was one groove that totally floored me:
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Groove of The Week turns 50… Joshua Redman – ‘Greasy G’, some disgusting playing from Me’shell Ndegeocello. Notation up on the blog! (click link in bio) #bassdaily #bassguitar #bassforward #bass #bassist #bassgram #meshellndegeocello #joshuaredman #fender #fenderjazzbass #bassgroove #bassgrooveoftheweek #instabass #instagroove #vipbassclub #nobleamps #knowyourtone #basslicks #basslessons #baixosong #baixonatural
I’d never heard anyone play a groove with that feel before – this was some years after Pino’s laid back grooves on D’Angelo’s much-lauded, behind-the-beat masterpiece Voodoo (2000) and J Dilla’s brand of ‘drunk hip-hop’ was old news, but this was something else. I had to know who it was and how the hell they could sound like that.
And so began my 12-year (and counting) love affair with Me’shell Ndegeocello; she and Anthony Jackson have the rare ability to make me feel like every single note that they have ever played is absolutely perfect.
Here are the dots:
Incidentally, Me’shell uses a very similar groove on here tune ‘GOD.FEAR.MONEY’:
Catching the feel(s)
So, how do you get to sound like that? This was by far the most difficult Groove of The Week track for me to get the hang of; I’m not claiming to even be in the same ballpark, feel-wise, but here are my two cents:
Listen, listen, listen. Then listen some more – every aspect of the music needs to be in your bones.
Record yourself. Listen critically (analyse your waveforms, if necessary).
Are you rushing? Dragging? Dragging? Do you even know?
(Here would be a suitable place for a Whiplash reference, but I thought it one of the worst things ever – Rocky for jazz drummers.)
The point of this is that you can’t be objective about your playing while you’re playing, because too much of your brain’s ‘bandwidth’ is taken up with the act of playing. Recording yourself is a brutally effective mechanism for finding out how you actually sound, not how you think you sound. I have a hunch that this is the reason that session greats such as Steve Gadd, Anthony Jackson, Bernard Purdie and Nathan East sound so incredible – they have heard their playing on tape countless times, allowing them to develop a total understanding of how to internally direct their playing to achieve the desired external sound.
This is getting worryingly metaphysical, so let’s wrap it up here. May the groove be with you.
Damian’s Drum-influenced Double-Stops Following on from last week’s double stop adventures with Hiatus Kaiyote, it’s time for another contemporary chordal groove. This edition of Groove of The Week comes courtesy…
Damian’s Drum-influenced Double-Stops
Following on from last week’s double stop adventures with Hiatus Kaiyote, it’s time for another contemporary chordal groove. This edition of Groove of The Week comes courtesy of modern bass master Damian Erskine (his uncle is the Peter Erskine) and provides one hell of a workout for both hands:
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Groove of The Week #49: @damianerskine 'Kaluanui' (link to the transcription in bio) #bassguitar #bassist #bassforward #bassgram #bassistsofinstagram #bassguitar #bassguitarist #bassplayersunited #bassgroove #bassgrooveoftheweek #bassworld #notreble #inspirebass #nordstrand #damianerskine #nobleamps #baixonatural #baixosong
As with many of the grooves that underpin Damian’s debut album (2010’s ‘So To Speak’), the introduction to ‘Kaluanui’ showcases his incredible command of rhythmic ideas and dynamic contrast. In between each chordal flourish is a series of of ghost notes that act as an additional percussion instrument, giving the line a sense of perpetual motion and augmenting the groove without overcrowding the harmonic content.
Speaking of the harmonic content, the groove sits predominantly in F major, using double stop 10ths to imply Bb major, A minor, D minor and C major. On the third iteration of the line there’s a brief departure to a new tonality with the arrival of a D/F# chord.
As far as the left hand is concerned, I fret all the major 10ths with 2nd and 4th fingers, while minor 10ths are covered by 1st and 2nd fingers (or 1st, 2nd and 3rd fingers in the case of the D minor chord shape that appears in bars 4 and 16).
10ths are a great way of conveying chordal sounds in a ‘shorthand’ fashion and a useful addition to any bassist’s toolkit as they tend to ‘speak’ more clearly than more densely populated chords. Notice how some of the major chords feature a hammer-on from the 9th into the 10th, which is a great way to add melodic interest to an otherwise chordal line.
As far as the right hand goes, ‘Kaluanui’ is a great groove to use as a developmental tool for your palm muting skills – I’ve used the classical guitar system for naming the plucking fingers (p=thumb, i=index finger, m=middle finger). It might take a while for the p,m,i motion required to execute the ghost notes to feel comfortable, but once you’ve mastered it then it’s great way to add a percolating percussive element to your bass parts where appropriate; it’s no surprise to learn that Damian Erskine started out his musical career as a drummer, switching to bass once he was at the Berklee College of Music – lots of his grooves feel like they were composed from a ‘rhythm first’ perspective.
For a deeper insight into Damian’s highly evolved right hand technique, take a look at his book Right Hand Drive.