Play better bass grooves in any style with Johnny’s book Improve Your Groove!
When I started writing Electric Bass: Improve Your Groove in the summer of 2016, I asked myself, what is the most fundamental aspect for bass playing? Groove is exactly that. It’s the heart of what it is to be a bass player. I want to help every bass player play better bass grooves regardless of the styles of music you play.
Two years later, here is the result. Click on the image of the book and you’ll go to the Improve Your Groove page on Amazon.
Featuring over 140 musical examples with audio in a variety of styles including rock, jazz, funk, blues and latin. Improve Your Groove also contains five play along pieces with backing tracks to help you put your new bass grooves into practice.
Play along with Johnny Cox’s Bass Grooves
In this video I’m demonstrating one of the play along tracks from Improve Your Groove. This piece is called Straight in Time.
The piece is called Straight In Time because it features a straight eighth note feel throughout. Having said that, it isn’t a straight forward groove to play. There are tricky eighth note syncopations to negotiate and a technically challenging section in which you must play on every subdivision. Straight in Time comes with a full track and a backing track with the bass guitar track removed. In the video I’m playing along with the backing track, just like you can if you buy the book.
What is groove? Can it be defined and more importantly, can you learn it?
Groove is a combination of many things, first and foremost time feel. To control the feel of your bass lines you must first have excellent timing. This involves firstly understanding rhythms and then having a system for playing them very accurately. So if you want to increase your rhythmic accuracy you must experience rhythmic sub-divisions when you play.
Therefore I decided to explain sub-divisions in the opening chapters of Improve Your Groove starting with the basics. Then I set out my system for improving rhythmic accuracy by using the sub-divisions.
Using Konnakol to Improve Your Bass Grooves
My system for experiencing sub-divisions involves first of all borrowing syllables from the ancient Indian system of vocalising rhythms called Konnakol. Which is sometimes called the ‘language of rhythm’. Using three simple sets of syllables from Konnakol you can very quickly learn to differentiate between eighth and sixteenth note grooves as well as triplets, shuffles and swing feels. As a result you will not only learn to differentiate each sub-division and time feel. You’ll also play them much more accurately by placing your notes on the sub-divisions
Finally, each time feel and sub-division is demonstrated using lots of Mp3 audio examples in a variety of styles. All the audio is downloadable for free from www.fundamental-changes.com.
Is there more to groove than great timing?
There certainly is. While timing is essential, there is more to being able to groove than just placing a note accurately onto a sub-division. Another huge aspect of groove is sharing your time feel with the musicians you play with. First of all you must know how to play with a drummer. There is no relationship in a band closer than the bass and drums, hence I’ve dedicated an entire section of the book to playing with drums. You must make the drummers sub-divisions your sub-divisions if you want the music to groove.
The final section of the book involves sharing a collective time feel in a group. For a performance to groove the whole group must groove and not just an individual. Therefore I’ve included five pieces with backing tracks to help you practise locking in with the collective feel.
Groove is such a huge topic for bass players, so there will be more from me on the subject in the future. In my first book Electric Bass – Improve Your Groove I’ve laid out some approaches to rhythm and playing in a group that I believe will help any bass player to improve their groove.
“I hope that after reading this book you’ll start to think about time and rhythm in a different way and it will give you a deeper understanding of feel and groove and open up your playing to explore new musical cultures.”
I want to thank Joseph Alexander and Tim Pettingale at Fundamental Changes for publishing the book and making it look amazing.
Below is the product description from www.fundamental-changes.com
Improve Your Groove Cracks the Code of Rhythm, Groove and Feel on Electric Bass Guitar
Build your groove and play bass like a master
- Discover how to groove flawlessly on electric bass in any style of music
- Understand bass guitar rhythm and placement
- Play in the pocket, every time.
Every bassist wants to play with great feel. It’s what ties a performance together, moves the music forward, and keeps it “in the pocket”. Therefore groove is what your audience wants to hear.
Electric Bass – Improve Your Groove is a complete course in rhythm on bass. Groove is built by understanding rhythm, playing accurately and sharing that feel with other musicians.
What you’ll learn:
- How to play in time on bass guitar
- Learn to play “in the pocket” and create a tight, grooving performance
- How to crack the code of rhythm
- The secrets of syncopation and building your internal clock
- The Konnakol vocal counting system to help you groove without thinking
- 5 complete pieces with backing tracks that put theory into practice
- Over 140 exercises and examples with FREE supporting audio to download
In Electric Bass – Improve your Groove, building perfect time and feel on bass is explained from absolute basics and teaches you how to play bass lines with great rhythm; from the simplest, to the most complex grooves.
You’ll discover grooving bass guitar rhythms and develop devastating accuracy and feel. Rock, Funk, Jazz, Blues and Latin feels on bass are all intimately addressed with over 140 examples and backing tracks.
Electric Bass – Improve Your Groove contains over 140 exercises and supporting audio examples so you can hear exactly how each exciting example should sound. Learn to lock in with the live backing tracks and dramatically boost your progress.