Improve Your Bass Groove – Learn to Play Off-Beat Bass Grooves – Video Lesson

In this video lesson I’ll demonstrate off-beats bass grooves and explain how you can improve your groove by playing off-beats very accurately.

First, listen to this example.

Where’s the one? Is a question I often hear when I’m teaching rhythms like the one above. It usually means that the bass line in question either doesn’t accent the first beat of the bar, or in this case, doesn’t play on beat one at all.

Bass players shouldn’t define their grooves by beat one, the example above contains four beats and four off-beats in each bar. Every beat and every off-beat is equal, and you must know how to place notes accurately on any of them if you want to have a great groove. Beat one isn’t more important than any of the other seven sub-divisions.
The key to making the bass line in the example above groove is the ability to play the off-beats very accurately. Most people can play accurately on beats but playing on the off-beats is harder.

The following example was written to help you practise playing on the off-beats. The first note of each bar is on beat one and the remaining notes are played on the four off-beats.

The next example for you to practise is a funky bass groove that features lots of off-beats

How do you improve youroff-beat groove?

When you practise the examples above, make sure you play the off-beats very accurately. In order to do this, start by playing slowly in time with a metronome or drum beat. You can find these for free online. Then say Ta-Ka in time with the beat. Ta is the beat and Ka is the off-beat. If your off-beat notes land exactly on the syllable Ka, then you know your timing is good.

It often helps to record yourself playing slowly. You will often notice misplaced notes more when you listen back to a recording than you did when you were playing.

For more examples, check out my new book Electric Bass – Improve Your Groove: The Essential Guide to Mastering Time and Feel on Bass Guitar. It contains over 140 audio examples featuring 1/8th and 1/16th note grooves in a variety of styles including rock, blues, jazz and Latin. It also features sections on syncopation, shuffle feels, triplets and swing. It has practical advice for grooving with drums and sharing a collective time feel in a group. And it features five pieces with play along backing tracks to help you put these ideas into practice.