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Connecting with the Drummer: A Discussion for Bassists


Q: I’ve found myself in a situation where I can’t set up a musical connection with my drummer. It’s been three months of rehearsals, but I just don’t feel comfortable playing, the rhythm-sections suffers and we don’t sound good. In my other bands, the great, non-verbal communication came right after one or two rehearsals. I realize I am also responsible. Hopefully you can give me some advice.

A: In short, communication is key and honesty is the best policy.

Assuming that he is as concerned with making good music as you are, he is probably noticing the same thing and would be open to talk to about it. Of course, don’t place blame and be respectful, and just lay it out in a kind way. Tell him or her exactly how you feel, and that you’re wanting to feel more connected, musically, and want to make everything feel more natural.

Like you said, it may just take more time playing together, but treat this as an opportunity for you both to grow and learn from each other. You might even start getting together (just the two of you) and playing, practicing and jamming together. Work on some grooves or feels together for fun. That really helps to feel a guy out musically.

Converse about music, play favorite tunes by the drummer and you, and grooves you love. It can really help to hear where a musician is coming from, by listening to his or her influences and who they’re trying to emulate.

Be open and have a non-threatening conversation in service to the music. If you find the drummer doesn’t have a great mindset or is insecure, it might be tough. As long as you’re coming from a place of artistic integrity and honesty, how could he not be open to work with you on it!

Readers, I know you’ve dealt with this exact scenario. How have you resolved it?

Photo by Kriss Szkurlatowski

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