Tag Archives: six eight

Six Eight Bass Grooves With Bass TAB – Bass Practice Diary 161

Six Eight Bass Grooves – Learn Four Bass Lines in 6/8 Time Signature – Bass Practice Diary – 8 June 2021

I did a video in 2018 about playing bass in 6/8 time signature. It turned out to be a much more popular video than I was expecting. It currently has nearly 25,000 views on YouTube and I wasn’t expecting more than a few hundred. As I mentioned in that video, I love to groove in 6/8. It’s amazing how much music you can make with just six 1/8th notes in a bar. And I felt it was time to add to the content of that video by featuring some of my own, previously unreleased bass lines in six eight.

Bass Groove Number 1

Six Eight Bass Groove #1
Six Eight Bass Groove #1

As I mentioned in the video, if you want to unlock the full potential of six eight, then try not to think of it as a shuffle feel. If you think of the six 1/8th notes as two ta-ki-ta’s, then the shuffle feel is what you get if you only play on the ta syllables and ignore the other syllable, ki. If you treat the ki subdivisions as being just as important as the ta syllables then it unlocks a whole world of new bass lines and rhythms.

This bass line, written above, is an example of a groove that is starting to explore the ki syllable. Bars 1 &3 are a straight forward shuffle rhythm using only the ta’s. However, bars 2 & 4 both emphasise one of the ki syllables. Just that alone immediately takes this groove somewhere else and prevents it from sounding like a basic shuffle.

Bass Groove Number 2

Six Eight Bass Groove #2
Six Eight Bass Groove #2

This is a bass line that I have featured in a previous video. The other three are previously unreleased. I like this one because it demonstrates the idea of superimposing a straight 3/4 feel onto 6/8. Bars 1 & 3 look like a bar of 3/4 played on the beat. And bar two looks like you’re hitting all the off-beats in a bar of 3/4. But because the drums are playing 6/8, the feel is entirely different to 3/4. The final bar is a more conventional 6/8 feel, but I’m still hitting the ki syllable. I really like this bass groove, which is why I’m featuring it for a second time.

Bass Grooves Number 3 & 4

Six Eight Bass Groove #3
Six Eight Bass Groove #3

The grooves in this video get gradually more complex as we go along. Examples 3 & 4 are both quite hard to play. Both involve string skipping. You can use any technique you want when you play them, but I find it much easier to play the string skipping if I use my right hand thumb to play the notes on the E and A strings and my fingers to play the notes on the D and G strings.

Six Eight Bass Groove #4
Six Eight Bass Groove #4

6/8 Time Signature Bass Grooves – Bass Practice Diary 13

Learn Basslines in 6/8 Time Signature – Bass Practice Diary – 17 July 2018

6/8 is one of my favourite time signatures to play in. And I know several drummers who feel the same way. In this post I’m going to share with you some of the reasons why I love 6/8. As well as some of the key principles you need to know in order to groove in the 6/8 time signature.

This week, most of my practice time has been taken up by writing and recording examples for a book that I’m writing. The book will be a follow up to Electric Bass: Improve Your Groove which was published earlier in 2018. So, instead of showing you what I’ve been practising this week, I’m showing you some of the examples that I’ve been writing. And specifically I’m playing examples in the time signature six eight (6/8).

What is 6/8?

6/8 simply means that every bar contains six eighth notes. But you shouldn’t count the eighth notes 1 2 3 4 5 6. The basic feel of 6/8 is two beats per bar with each beat subdivided into three eighth notes. A better way to count 6/8 is 1 2 3 – 2 2 3. If you’re not sure what subdivisions are, then check out this free lesson.

Rhythmic Subdivisions on Bass Guitar

How can you make 6/8 sound more interesting?

In my opinion, the 6/8 time signature gets really interesting when you realise that a bar of 6/8 is mathematically no different from a bar of 3/4. It’s important to understand that this is only true with a straight 3/4 feel. If you play 3/4 with a swing or shuffle feel, then it’s the same as 9/8. But I’ll explain more about 9/8 in next weeks practice diary.

3/4 and 6/8 both contain six eighth notes in every bar. So any rhythm that you can play in a straight 3/4 feel can also be played in 6/8 and vice versa. Once you understand this, you suddenly have a wealth of options for playing on and off the beat in two different feels simultaneously. The 3/4 feel gives you three beats and three off beats in each bar, and the 6/8 feel gives you two beats and a further four places where you can play off the beat in every bar.

For more about beats and off beats check out this free lesson.

All of these beats and off-beats exist in one bar of 6/8, and if you can learn to feel both the 6/8 and 3/4 feels simultaneously within the 6/8 time signature, then you can create some really wonderful grooves.

Play the Examples in the Video

The examples in the video are just a small selection from the book that I’m writing. While researching this section of the book, I’ve been listening to as many examples of 6/8 rhythms as I can. I’ve heard music from all over Africa, South America, Eastern Europe and India to name just a few. I’ve discovered so many different approaches to playing in 6/8. And I’m happy to share just a few of them with you here ahead of my book being published later in 2018.

I wrote this first example to illustrate the difference between the 6/8 and 3/4 feels. Bars 1 and 3 have a typical 6/8 feel. Whereas bars 2 and 4 contain the three quarter notes that could be defined as 3/4.

6/8 Time Signature - Example 1
6/8 Time Signature – Example 1

The idea for Example 2 is that I’m using the 3/4 feel over the 6/8 but I’m focusing more on the off-beats. Look in particular at bar 2. There is a note on beat one and then the remaining three notes land where the off-beats would be in a bar of 3/4.

6/8 Time Signature - Example 2
6/8 Time Signature – Example 2

6/8 is a very under used time signature in rock music. Example 3 is my idea for a rock riff in 6/8.

6/8 Time Signature - Example 3
6/8 Time Signature – Example 3

The final example features a rhythm called Bembe. Which has it’s roots in African music but is best known in Afro Cuban music.

6/8 Time Signature - Example 4
6/8 Time Signature – Example 4