Bassist that apparently can't count needs help

My favorite music is in lack of tabs, and I almost never find any that is easily comprehended and not a notepad full of numbers without ANY notation.

@mpops1990 Thank you! <3 The “And…And 4” made it clearer!

@MC-Canadastan yup, seen the video, I am familiar with galloping, Iron Maiden, not my cuppa tea tho

@Paul Yes. But how am I supposed to slow down in a rhythm I can’t vocalise? Please don’t say the same things to me, I am not an 1diot, I just want to count notations better. If I can’t count, I can’t slow it down.

@John_E On it! Exactly what I need. Blessings thank you

Lol okay good luck mate :+1:

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I started with 1 2 3 4 on the B2B course. Once I’d mastered counting to 4 in various tempos I moved on to Eighth notes. YMMV.

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Really found this video helpful for my own issues reading rhythms. I tend to lock up with mixed lines like this and revert to “playing them by feel”. Never seen it broken down in elements like that, thanks for sharing.


I don’t do 1-e-an-ah, or whatever one wants to call it. I use Carol Kaye’s method of pencil marking the down beats then tapping on my knee (or using a pencil like a drum stick). All I say is dah for each note of the rhythm at a slow tempo, then speed it up to the right tempo (what ever it is). I use my left foot for the down beat as well. I downloaded a pdf of a bunch of pages of different rhythms that start out easy and get progressively more complicated. Rests and ties are mixed in in a logical manner. I also use a metronome to keep my rhythms solid. The important (most important) thing is that I eventually HEAR the rhythm and the faster tempos become very easy to HEAR. It gets to a point that seeing a rhythm and hearing the rhythm in your head occurs simultaneously. Just like reading (I see the word “discombobulated” and know it without dissecting it). This does not happen over night. It takes practice…….I’ll grab my rhythm sheets, pencil, metronome and practice while I’m watching a baseball game or sitting out on my front porch yelling at the neighbor kids to get off my lawn!!! Haha. Then I like to read and play jazz standards from The Real Book (in bass) and put the rhythms I’ve internalized to actual practice. It’s amazing how fun it is to spot a rhythm “nugget” that may look complicated, but know instantly what it sounds like WITHOUT dissecting it note for note.
Many May find Carol Kaye’s methods “out of vogue”, but her reading method works…………again, 1-e-an-ahs remind me of a golf lesson on YouTube…………8,000,000 things to think about just to swing a club and hit a ball in 1 second of time………overwhelms the brain……frustrating……. Plus, it is exactly how Carol marked her music when she was in the studio and had just minutes to learn the music…….I remember reading that she said many movie dates they had zero time for a rehearsal. If it worked for her, I figured it would work for me.
It took me about no time to figure out the OP example by visualizing where I would mark the down beats then tapping through it……then again, it was a very recognizable pattern.
I’m not trying to be a douche’, “oh, look at me, that was so easy!” That’s not my point. I’m just trying to give sound, proven advice to a bass player who wants to improve and be the best they can be. I truly believe Carol’s method is awesome and the best way to learn to read rhythms. By the way, down beats aren’t just quarter notes………if a rhythm has some 16th notes, then one bar in 4/4 time can have eight downbeats. Just start out slow, hit your downbeats……get the rhythm, speed it up, SEE IT, HEAR IT! FEEL IT! Get Carol’s reading method and it will make more sense then how I describe it.


I tried to do the exercises with that video that had the dah dah beat and it was SO much better than the Two-e-and-ah thing.
I will check the method you’re proposing 100%!

@Johnny_StingRay are you talking about Guitar Sightreading Studies by Carol Kaye?

Or maybe her “MusicReading DVD w/Manual” (in bass clef)?

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She has one for bass: Carol Kaye Music Reading Manuel w/DVD for Bass. It’s on her website under Catalog….$30
That’s different from the Guitar Reading book.

Here is a link to a pdf that has A LOT of rhythm patterns for practice using Carol Kaye’s method or any method you’ve been taught/learning.