Upright Bass or Rhythm Guitar - Who Locks The Beat?

t-birdt-bird Portland, Oregon Castelluccia Nuages, Dupont Nomade
in Technique Posts: 119
Entering my third year of playing GJ guitar, I am now jamming with a few people which including some bass players. In the past, I've played "rhythm guitar" in bands from other genres. The beat was always held down by the rhythm section which was drums and bass. Ultimately, it was the drummers job to keep the tempo and drive the beat. In Gypsy Jazz should the rhythm guitar player or the bass player take control?


  • wimwim ChicagoModerator Barault #503 replica
    edited January 2017 Posts: 1,459
    I would say, definitely the bass player! Bass players usually have better time than guitarists, at least in this style. When you gotta play with a bad bass player, man, it's the pits!

    When you have a good bassist that can lay down the groove, and the rhythm guitar locks in on that, and the soloist is then free to anticipate the beat or play a little 'lazy' behind the beat without fear of the whole band dragging or racing, that's when it's an absolute pleasure to play the guitar! And a pleasure to listen to a good band like that. The dream team combo for this is probably William Brunard on bass, with Matthew Chatelain, and Adrien Moignard on lead.

    But it's the lead player who can "push" the tempo if they want to (at an appropriate moment, and not by accident!) - the bassist should be also able to feel this communication and go with it, too..

  • edited January 2017 Posts: 3,707
    AS an end goal consider being solidly "in the groove" with the rest of the band. In a jam ....well.....sometimes it is hard to know to lock in on whoever has good time and reinforce that.

    The hardest part in this whole GJ thing is getting the rhythm locked in the groove, no matter who is playing what....probably true for every kind of music
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • MatteoMatteo Sweden✭✭✭✭ JWC Modele Jazz, Lottonen "Selmer-Maccaferri"
    Posts: 393
    With Django in the band, guess who "took control"?
  • edited January 2017 Posts: 4,807
    Bass player should anchor everyone else.
    Check this rhythm section:

    These guys are tighter than a German soccer defense.
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 3,320
    It's everyone's responsibility. Not fun trying to pull someone along who is dragging or pushing all the time. Yeah what Jazza said, probably true in all genres. Practice with a metronome and see how solid you are. It's harder than one might think, at least it is for me. The metronome doesn't lie.
  • dennisdennis Montreal, QuebecModerator
    Posts: 2,161
    It's everyone's job, and it's a complex thing that involves chemistry, active listening and mutual understanding of where to take the music.

    I've played rhythm for Bireli, Angelo, Stochelo, Adrien, Sebastien Giniaux, pretty much everyone in this style etc.. etc...

    The vision of time for all these artists is not always the same , and they sometimes want very different things. Different songs might even call for a different idea of time feel (laid back, pushing, in the pocket).

    It's definitely not just the bass player's job, there has to be synchronicity.

    I played rhythm for Stochelo once, and I know that Stochelo likes it to push a tiny tiny bit, so the rhythm section should push a bit as well. The bass player for the gig didn't want to push and was upset with me that I tried to push, so it created this very tense feeling.

    I played rhythm for Paulus Schafer as well, during rehearsal (which I filmed), the bass player blamed me for dragging Upon review of the video, it was him who fucked up the time. The same bass player played bass for Stochelo recently with my buddy Brad Brose on rhythm. Brad had played rhythm for Stochelo before and Stochelo was quite happy. During rehearsal, the bass player said similar shit to Brad, Stochelo told him to just ignore him and do his thing.

    The lesson is to let go of one's ego, and to learn to form chemistry with the group and to listen actively. If someone in the rhythm section starts to feel that his time is the right time, we're in trouble. I'm talking about among professional musicians that is. It's a very subtle thing. There is a difference between time issues among "pros", and beginners playing rhythm and royally screwing up the time. Playing rhythm requires tremendous humility.

    Playing rhythm for Tcha and Rino with William Brunard on bass was the greatest experience as a rhythm section. William just gets it. With only a 20mn rehearsal 2 hours before the gig, everything went the way it should. It wasn't one person following the other, it was just everyone together, and understanding where the music had to go. Some songs were in the pocket, some songs pushed a bit, some songs were a bit laid back, and everything in between. Really one of the best experiences I've ever had.
  • When a band is really tight and really locked in they will sometimes unconciously speed up and slow down a bit but always together. Humans aren't metronomes...though it is great to practice with one.
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • MatteoMatteo Sweden✭✭✭✭ JWC Modele Jazz, Lottonen "Selmer-Maccaferri"
    Posts: 393
    It's everyone's responsibility.
    It's everyone's job
    Yes, that's what the pros we hire to rehearse the jazz orchestra I'm in often say. Interesting stories, Dennis! I think rhythm is something you can't work too much on.
  • Russell LetsonRussell Letson Prodigy
    Posts: 360
    There's a reason it's called a rhythm section. The particular dynamic is going to vary with the participants, but it's always going to be a collective activity.
  • t-birdt-bird Portland, Oregon Castelluccia Nuages, Dupont Nomade
    Posts: 119
    So, a couple responses saying it's the bass player and a few saying it's everyone. No one has said it's the guitar player. Because La Pompe is, in some ways, meant to simulate a drumbeat, could the responsibility fall on the rhythm guitar player?
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