Rhythm Studies

Whole-notes vs Sixteenths

by Kevin Guin


Here’s a nice clip from my Rhythm Studies course. The method is to compare and contrast one rhythm with the next. Not only are you learning your rhythmic values exactly, you are also learning to phrase musically in 4-bar sections.


I remember all of those years ago taking a “nice” solo on a friend’s tune. He was quite the player. He looked over and broke the news:


“You know, you just played your entire solo using quarter-note triplets!”


…I’m like, wha? Ignorance is bliss, or something like that. 


If you use the rhythmic contrast method to study exact rhythmic values for at least 30 minutes a day, then sometime within the 6-month mark you will have a revelation of sorts: “I don’t have to play fast, I don’t have to play slow, I can play any way I want!”. It’s a great day when you feel yourself getting closer to rhythmic freedom. 


Just imagine being as happy to play whole-notes as you are to play sixteenth notes!


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Don’t forget to always use space in your phrasing – it’s harder to do but then your musical message can breath a bit. Your audience will understand you better if you give them a chance to get “closer” to your playing – to assimilate your musical ideas. That’s what using space in your phrasing does. You are letting people in, letting them come on in for a nice musical story.


On my website Bass Lessons With Kevin I have 120 video lessons archived with 14 courses and counting for all levels of playing abilities. It’s great stuff and represents a LOT of important and necessary work for all bassists! 


Now learn your rhythms and go tell some stories.