Tag Archives: bass exercise

Triplet Timing Exercises for Bass Guitar – Bass Practice Diary 123

Triplet Timing Exercises for Bass Guitar – Bass Practice Diary – 1st September 2020

This is my third video of timing exercises for bass guitar. The previous two videos both involved playing odd number note groupings as 16th notes in 4/4. In this video, I’m changing the subdivision and I’m playing four and five note groupings as triplets in 4/4. All of these triplet timing exercises are written with 8th note triplets. However, if you want to take the exercises a step further, you can make them harder by using quarter note triplets or 16th note triplets.

The Exercises

The first exercise involves playing four note groupings. I’m using two arpeggios in the key of C major, a Dm7 arpeggio and a Cmaj7 arpeggio. You can use any four note grouping to do this. Four note groupings played as continuous triplets in 4/4 will arrive back on beat one after two bars. So, I’ve put the note C on beat one of bar three to complete the exercise. You can loop the exercise as many times as you want to.

Timing Exercise - Triplets in Groups of Four
Timing Exercise – Triplets in Groups of Four

Another way to play four note groupings would be to play a scale, four notes at a time. This is a C major scale played descending from G, the fifth.

Playing five note groupings as triplets is harder. The next exercise lands back on beat one at the beginning of bar 6.

Timing Exercise - Triplets in Groups of Five
Timing Exercise – Triplets in Groups of Five

Finally, this last exercise combines the four and five note groupings. It’s actually a bit more straight forward than playing just the five note groupings, because four and five makes nine. So, this is effectively a grouping of nine. And because nine is divisible by three, it fits into triplet rhythms quite nicely.

Timing Exercise - Triplets in Groups of Four and Five
Timing Exercise – Triplets in Groups of Four and Five

Timing Exercise #2 – Sixteenth Notes In Five Note Groupings – Bass Practice Diary 121

Timing Exercise on Bass Guitar #2 – 16th Notes in Five Note Groupings – Bass Practice Diary – 18th August 2020

This week’s timing exercise features five note groupings, played as 16th notes. Last week I featured a similar exercise with three note phrases. You can make exercises like this by using any odd number grouping, and then playing those groupings as continuous 16th notes in 4/4.

Odd Number Rhythmic Groupings

The larger the grouping, the more rhythmic possibilities it creates. For example, five note groupings can be counted as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 (Da-Di-Gi-Na-Dum). Or you could count 3+2 (Ta-Ki-Ta, Ta-Ka) or 2+3 (Ta-Ka, Ta-Ki-Ta). However, a seven note grouping would give more options, 4+3, 3+4, 2+3+2, 5+2 etc.

The idea of playing odd number rhythmic groups, is that it creates a continuously moving polyrhythmic feel against the four beats in a bar of 4/4 and the four 16th note subdivisions in each beat. The idea of these exercises, is that they systematically go through every possible rhythmic placement of a five note grouping of 16th notes in a bar of 4/4, before arriving back on beat one at the beginning of the sixth bar.

Three Variations of The Exercise

In the first exercise, I’m playing five note arpeggios in the key of C major.

Five Note Groupings - Two Arpeggios in C Major
Five Note Groupings – Two Arpeggios in C Major

As you can see, I play the tonic, C on beat one of bar 6. If you can hit that note on the downbeat, then you know you’ve played the exercise correctly.

The second variation of this exercise is a variation of the first exercise. This time, I’m playing the five notes as three and then two.

Five Note Groupings - Three and Two
Five Note Groupings – Three and Two

The third variation also uses the three and two idea. However, this time I’m using an ascending G major scale.

Five Note Groupings - Three and Two
Five Note Groupings – Three and Two – G Major Scale

Timing Exercise #1 – Sixteenth Notes in Groups of Three – Bass Practice Diary 120

Timing Exercise on Bass Guitar – 16th Notes in Groups of 3 – Bass Practice Diary – 11th August 2020

The concept of this timing exercise is very simple. You take any sequence of three notes, and play the sequence as continuous 16th notes in 4/4. So, you subdivide the beats into four, but you play a pattern of three, which creates a simple polyrhythm. Each time you play the sequence, it will start on a different 16th note. After three bars, you will have played all of the different permutations of where that sequence can start in a bar of 4/4. So, if you play the sequence correctly for three bars, the sequence should begin again on beat one of bar 4.

The Exercise and Variations

This would be a simple version of the exercise. It’s a “one finger per fret” exercise, but each note is played three times.

Timing Exercise - 16ths in three note groupings - One finger per fret
Timing Exercise – 16ths in three note groupings – One finger per fret

I would more commonly play the exercise using triads, as I have here.

Timing Exercise - 16ths in three note groupings - Fmaj and Em triads
Timing Exercise – 16ths in three note groupings – Fmaj and Em triads

You could also apply the same idea to practicing scales. Here is a C major scale played in three note groupings. First ascending and then descending.

Timing Exercise - 16ths in three note groupings - C major scale ascending
Timing Exercise – 16ths in three note groupings – C major/A natural minor scale ascending
Timing Exercise - 16ths in three note groupings - C major/A natural minor scale descending
C major/A natural minor scale descending