Awesome Subdivision Exercise for Bass – with Scott Devine (L#76)


Hey guys, how are you doing? It’s Scott Devine
again, from Scott’s Bass Lessons. I hope you’re well. Make sure you
check out scottsbasslessons.com. If you haven’t already there’s a link below
this video. And there you can check out, I think there’s nearly 100 videos
on there now. They’re all for free, ranging from beginner stuff, to advanced
turn your brain to jelly kind of lessons. In this lesson I’m going to be talking about
a metronome exercise that I’ve been using for a long time, and it really,
really got my subdivisions together. I’m not sure if you’re aware of
this, but timing, well, for any musician but particularly for bass players,
timing is everything. It’s more important than notes. Your groove is so important.
Without any groove you’ve lost the gig. There’s a zillion bass
players out there that can play a million notes an hour, but there’s some
guy there playing, grooving on two notes and he’s playing some of the biggest
gigs in the world. The proof is in the pudding. Okay? Groove is everything.
To be able to play great solos you’ve got to have great timing. To
play great grooves you’ve got to have great timing. So, always be aware that
the foundation of your playing is your groove playing. It’s your time. It’s
your internal time. I want to take you through this exercise today.
It’s an exercise that I’ve done for years and years. It really got my
subdivisions together, and I think it’s going to do you wonders as well. So, the exercise, we’re just going to use
a C major scale. C major scale. Just a simple major scale, you can play it
right down to the G string if you want. It doesn’t matter. The subdivision
is what’s important. Now, what I’m going to do is, there’s a backing track
that’s available for download. If you hit the link below it’ll take you to
a page. You’ll see this video. Right below it there’ll be a download link
for this backing track. All this backing track is, is a C major chord held
on a keyboard and some hi-hats played. Let’s have a listen to it. So, listen to those
hi-hats. Two, three, four. All I want you to do is play C major scale
with each note landing on one of those hi-hats, and I want you to really, really
concentrate on it landing bang on that hi-hat. Two, three, four. Once
again. Really concentrate. Now I want you to play two notes per click.
So, two notes per hi-hat. One, two, three, four. Now I’m going to go between
the two, so… Next one, two. You can kind of play all over the scale like
this as long as you’re keeping it to the subdivision. This next subdivision is three notes per click,
so let’s hear it on its own first. One two three, two two three, three
two three, four two three. Now we’re going to start with the first exercise,
then the second exercise, then the third exercise. One, two, three,
four. Second exercise. Third exercise coming up. Three notes per click.
Back to two. Back to one. Now you can guess that four’s going to be
the next one. So, right from the beginning. No, actually I’ll show you what
four sounds like first. One two three four, one two three four, one two three
four, one two three four, one two three four, one two three four. Now let’s go through the cycle. So, first
of all, we’ll start with one note, then two notes per click, then three
notes per click, then four notes per click. Here we go. One, two, three, four.
Two notes per click. Three notes per click. Four notes per click. What do you think’s coming next? Five notes
per click. Let’s hear that on its own. Let’s hear it in the cycle. Starting
with one. One note per click. Two. Three. Four. Five. I’m going out of the
to C major scale there. Now let’s try and shorten it down. So, we’re
only going to do a few of one, a few of two, a few of three, a few of four,
and a few of five. One, two, three, four. Back down. One two three four.
One two three four. One, two, three. One, two, three. One two three. One
two. One two, One two, one two. One. And you can even go up to six as well. So,
we’ve gone from one right up to six. Let’s see if I can do that. Put my head
on the line here. One, two, three, four. Always in the C major scale.
One note. Two notes. Three notes. Four notes. Five notes. Six notes. Five notes.
Four notes. Three notes. Two notes. One. So by doing this, you are… Hang on, I’ll
just switch this off. By doing this you’re freeing yourself of all of the
barriers that are kind of constricting you at the minute. You’ll be
really used to playing in certain subdivisions. And what happened when I started
using this exercise, is I noticed – I played with a lot of drummers,
and when I first started using this exercise, suddenly, with over a few weeks,
I’d got a few stares, like, ‘Whoa what’s this guy doing?’ I’d hear them
doing subdivisions, and I’d instantly be able to drop by it with them
because I’d been practicing these subdivisions in my own time. It’s something
you should really, really get into your practice routine. Always think about this: groove is the foundation
of your playing. The harmony is just laid on top of it. The actual
foundation of it is your groove. You know, something can groove without
melody. Think of when was the last time you heard some of that African
drummers or something like that. Did it groove? Yes. Did it have any
melody? No. It was just percussion. So, if you think about it like
that it’s the percussive side of your playing. The groove is the foundation.
The percussive side of your playing is the foundation. Then you lay the
harmony on top. So, it’s really worth stripping it back and
working on this thing every day. Maybe not just this exercise. Maybe other
metronome – well, definitely other metronome and rhythmical exercises.
It’s worth putting this practice into your routine every day and making sure
that your foundation, your groove, is the strong detail holding your
playing together as it should do. Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed this lesson. I will
see you soon. I’ve got something really exciting coming up. I’m not
going to tell you about it, but all I want to say is keep an eye out for
it. It’s coming soon. So, take it easy, and get in the shed.

82 thoughts on “Awesome Subdivision Exercise for Bass – with Scott Devine (L#76)

  1. How on earth did you know i needed this lesson? haha! seriously,just a couple of days i recognized i needed some method to do this. Thanks again mate.You Rock. Greetings from Argentina!

  2. The best thing is to find words with the same amount of syllables as the subdivision… then say them out load while trying to play that grouping of notes. i.e…. 2 = 'HOTDOG'… 3 = CHILLI-DOG, 4 = CHILLI-BURGER, 5 = UNIVERSITY, 6 = CHILLI-DOG x2… It makes it 10x easier! POW! Great to hear you're enjoying the lessons! Scott 😉

  3. there's something hilarious (yet brilliant) about the thought of someone repeating chili-dog and chili-burger in their head while playing this. definitely will try this out, hopefully i won't get too hungry

  4. I've seen already a few videos…and I'm sure many people ask you "why the glove in your left hand?". Well, I'm one of those. If you've answered that question before, I haven't seen it.
    By the way…you're right. The grove in the most part of latin and afro music is very important. Some teacher told me once "it doesn't really matter if you play an strange note, that's not a mistake…only try to play it in the right moment"

  5. Devine, man u rock! Your enthusiasm and your devotion to these lessons! And it's all free! Thanks man, it means a lot here!

    Cheers!

  6. Whoa!
    5 note per beat.
    You turned a simple scale into music!
    Whether trading or music it's amazing the power of simplicity.

  7. Fantastic lesson as always Scott. One thing that I think would be great for you to cover is basic sight reading lessons and techniques as it's one thing I struggle with, and I'm sure other people on here would appreciate it as well!

  8. I understand 100% that groove and feel is key, but how do I marry this subdivision exercise into a real life application? Am I to actually subdivide like this live? ie. at the rate of 2 bars each. It sounds more like a soloing concept to me rather than In your average song bassline.

  9. Well to be honest. When I create basslines with my jazz combo, all i do is improvise, however.I think that its more for non-walking bass lines. Where perhaps the groove your trying to play ends up falling on some odd counts within the bar. Where you have to be aware of what count your playing on and be able to carry on the groove while playing on the same counts, or switching between off beats and on beats. You know?

  10. Funniest comment I've read on YouTube in a long time!
    And thanks Scott, this less is superb. I'll be practising this tonight at home!

  11. Congratulations, scott, sorry if I wrote the sentences are a bit confusing but I would say that I am Brazilian and I am a beginner on bass. I've been watching your videos, with a bit of trouble by not understanding the English language much 🙂 but your videos have helped me a lot. thank you!

  12. Scott. Great vids man, Im a performing musician and I get so loaded up playing the "songs" its great to get a refresher on theory and technique , Im in the shed again for the first time in years. Thank mate.

  13. I have just been playing the songs in the bands I have been in. It's so great to have someone like you that I actually enjoy learning from. Doin the exercises with you is great.I have leaned all this stuff before but when I play i dont think about any of the scales but it's great to exercise my bass playing ability.Thx. mate.

  14. Great lesson! You convey the more difficult part of music to teach with a fundamental approach everyone can understand. Great player!

  15. it starts to sound like its in a different time signiture once it gets up to five i dig it it has kind of a bossa nova feel
    l

  16. it was hard.. but very usefull indeed.. i wonder, how many hour you practice a day?

    and thank you scott you are a great teacher

  17. When you put it like that, it all makes sense…

    That droney business in the background definitely helps to make it more musical.

    great!

  18. I love your lessons despite being a wind instrument player. Going to practice this one on sax. Thanks a lot!

  19. I really wanna take up the bass and based on the lesson, the fact that I'm a good drummer should make it slightly easier for me to start. Anyone agree? Disagree?

  20. nice one scott,bt really having issues with bars,counts and beats…..pls kindly help me with this..so dat the video can be broken well…thanks

  21. Dropping five notes per click then going to four notes per click gives me a clear awareness of the space (timing) between clicks and the subtle nuances that exist therein.  This may be one of the most important things you've taught.  Thanks, Scott.  I've been trying 7 but slower clicks. (longer measures)

  22. Must try this very interesting, timing is my issue. Should I admit that as bass player, Of course I should area to fix.

  23. I would like to add this comment to Scott's website but I found an exercise in thirds going up to the 9th scale degree and going down to the 7th scale degree is a good exercise I have used on my tuba and bass as well as other instruments as well.  In C major the notes would be : C D E C D E F D E F G F G A B G A B C A B C D B C aand going down it would be C B A C B A G B AC F A G F E G F E D F E D C E D C B D C.  And then the actual 3rds exercise would be C E D F E G F A G B A C B D C and then going down would be C A B G A F G E F D E C D B C.  You can make up any interval exercise you want and it will help your playing immensely.

  24. Ain't no one gonna subject him/herself to this boring exercise. Victor Wooten, and I fully agree, make all your practice sessions musical. This goes beyond just C major scales. What takes this guy 9 minutes to get to Wooten and even myself and a few others here get down to it. And they aren't scales. They're all aimed at getting you to lay down a BEAT as straight ahead as any drummer worth a crap. The other thing left out of Scott's stuff is how important sound is to music. Here he gets a very muffled sound which kills off one's dynamic range. He talks about groove here but doesn't really illustrate how to create one. I do. And in the most absolute simplest of terms with out all this guy's talking and talking and talking.

  25. great stuff Scott – and so well and musically played !!! I personally would lose the chord (even as a double bass player) to give my mind and ear some more space to concentrate and "be still" ;-).

  26. I am always trying to identify weaknesses in my playing. Within minutes of this exercise, a huge weakness was identified. I never thought of timing as an issue for me. I always just blamed the drummer, until now. Thank you so much!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *