Movin’ The Groove

This is an exercise I learnt from bassist and educator Anthony Wellington, who has developed many great ideas for improving students time-feel and sense of groove.

He uses a simple visual representation of 1 bar of 4/4 time (split into 16 parts)

The idea is to use this visual representation to help students get more comfortable at playing on different subdivisions of the beat.

In this video I use a simple four chord minor bass groove and move it through the four 16th note subdivisions of the beat.

I start playing “on” the beat:

e.g accenting 1, 2, 3, 4

Next I play on the “E’s”:

e.g  1-e-&-a, 2-e-&-a, 3-e-&-a, 4-e-&-a

Next I play on the off beats:

e.g 1-e-&-a, 2-e-&-a, 3-e-&-a, 4-e-&-a

Next I play on the “A’s”:

e.g 1-e-&-a, 2-e-&-a, 3-e-&-a, 4-e-&-a

To make things more fun I then played a 3 note octave figure (LLH) on each 16th note subdivision.

Being comfortable playing 16th note grooves is important. In order to groove well, you have to be able to hear the different subdivisions, and then be comfortable playing them, and sitting on them until they feel good. There are many more ways to practice this concept. For PDF files that accompany this video please contact me via e-mail.

To quote Jeff Berlin: “Groove is something most people already have (although may not understand that they do). A groove is the opportunity to play a piece of music in time, according to the style of music that you are playing.”

According to Jeff Berlin, you learn how to groove by “recognizing the requirements of the style of music you are playing.” The next step is then to know how to apply that on your instrument.

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