Keep It Groovy: Build Your Bass Groove – Using Octaves And Palm Muting

This video breaks down a few techniques for building a bass groove… what could be better?

When building a groove, we’re spontaneously pulling inspiration from a few different musical sources. I enjoy breaking this down into three components — rhythm, harmony, and vibe—to ultimately create a “groove prompt.”

For the rhythmic aspect of our groove, we need to consider the tempo and feel. This can be dictated by a metronome, a drummer, a guitar player strumming chords, or any musical source that’s implying a rhythmic pulse.

Next, tap into harmony. This could be a particular key or chord progression that we’re choosing to play to. If we’re on our own, we get to make this up. If we’re accompanying others, we’ll have to listen, recognize, and respond to the chords we hear.

And finally, vibe. This is where things get fun. We can choose to play with a specific technique, emulate a song or another players’ style, play with a certain emotion, etc. Ultimately, this is the creative “x-factor.”

In this video, we’re playing alongside a drum loop (rhythmic inspiration), settling into the key of E minor (harmonic inspiration), and choosing to integrate a few techniques, including octaves and palm muting (vibe).

Enjoy working on this concept and keep it groovy!

Ryan Madora is a professional bass player, author, and educator living in Nashville, TN. In addition to touring and session work, she teaches private lessons and masterclasses to students of all levels. Visit her website to learn more!

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