Playing along with the slow workout

I was not completely sure where exactly to post this, but I figured “Theory” is as good a place as any:

I am specifically talking about playing along with the slow workout lessons on the B2B course. I have noticed that I am almost always off beat on these. Especially with 1/8 and 1/4 note lessons (I am still only on Module 2). I must force myself to slow down. I know Josh says on several of the fast workout lessons that it is just the song at it’s original tempo, so I assume the slow lessons are artificially slowed down to make playing along easier at first.

So I have a few questions regarding this:

    • How crucial is it that I am perfectly on beat for the slow lessons if I am much better on the medium and even fast lessons?

1.a - Do you ever play this slow in the “real” world?

  1. What are some things I could do to help myself stay on beat for the slow lessons that will not hinder my ability to play faster on the fast lessons?

Hi Brandon, what I would suggest for the slow section, is nodding your head down and up on each quarter note.
So you’re dividing the quarter note into two, and your head nodding is a metronome that marks the beat and the half beat/eighth note.
It sounds mad I know, but give it a try.
Cheers, Mark.


I think it is VERY crucial - perhaps the most crucial thing for you to focus on right now!!

There is a chance that you think you can play it well in a faster tempo, while that might not be the case after all; often, at faster tempi, mistakes tend to be smoothened out more easily, but they are still there. They are just a bit harder to notice… so, you also have to be brutally honest with yourself.

And, yes, there could be slow ballads, where precision is probably even more important (as timing mistakes are more obvious) than in faster pieces.

Once you know the bassline, play it without the backing track, but use a metronome (or drum machine) instead. Here, it might help to set the metronome to double the speed that you need. I.e., if the tempo is 60 bpm, then set the metronome to 120 bpm, but still tap the “slow” quarter notes with your foot, while the metronome gives you the subdivisions (as it gives you, in essence, eighth notes). I hope you get my drift!?


@brandoncmurphy Everything they said is true and don’t take what I say here as discounting any of it.

Keep in mind, you’re only on module 2. So, don’t beat yourself up too bad over it. One of the things @JoshFossgreen has said is to not let yourself get bogged down to the point you quit moving forward.

Many of the people here have gone through the course 2 and 3 times to be able to get a better grasp on things that didn’t sink in from the first time around.

If you can play the lesson at any of the speeds it’s a good sign you are ready to move forward.

Lastly, from personal experience, there are songs in the course I just can’t feel at the slow speed. When this happens I go and listen to the medium and fast workouts to get a better idea of how the line goes together. So, there are times I’ve completed the medium workout before I’ve been able to complete the slow workout and there have been times I could do the medium and fast workout and said to hell with the slow workout, I’m moving on.

Having said that, @joergkutter does make a good point of something I will need to pay more attention to when I go through the course for round 2.


Very good point, @eric.kiser - I guess I was approaching the whole thing very “scientifically”, but one should never underestimate “feeling” when discussing music :smile:



Oh, don’t get me wrong, I should not have said I can play it better, but I can be on rhythm better. I don’t feel as if I am missing notes, or playing the wrong notes any more or less often, but I feel like I am playing them at the wrong time much more often on the slow workout. Does that make more sense? So I suppose it is just that I am noticing this specific issue significantly more on this speed where the other issues I have are noticed at all speeds. For some reason, especially with 1/8 notes, I just seem to have a lot of trouble not playing at a “normal” speed.

You mentioned a drum machine; Do you have one you recommend? Also, is this an ‘actual’ machine I need to buy or is there some type of app or program I could use on my laptop? I think I would like this better than a metronome, but prior to this course, I have almost zero music experience so I am willing to take any advice and tips I can get.


I don’t think that is going to be a problem! I am having a ton of fun already, I just don’t want to develop any bad habits early on that will be tough to break later in life.

This is pretty much exactly it! I just sometimes feel like the songs don’t quite sound right without having the proper rhythm.


Being able to play a piece of music well at various arbitrary tempi requires very good timing skill. It is not surprising that it is difficult to play some things slowly even if you think you can feel them better at a faster tempo. In fact it is something that I bet all of us have felt. Like Joerg I recommend you stick with it and try.

Josh gives a very good exercise to work on time relatively late in the course.


Sorry, probably used an arcane term here. You can, of course, get apps for that :grin: The main idea being that it is more fun, more realistic, and more lively to play along a drum track than along a metronome. There are probably any number of apps out there; @Gio has recommended one called Drumgenius, which, I think exists for iOS and Android. I use this as well. There are many rhythms already included, and you can buy more if needed. (In case you can’t find it easily, it has a rather ghastly icon). You might also be able to find rhythm/groove generators online, i.e., as a web-based service. I’ll let others chime here as well…



First let me apologize for the horrible job I am about to do sounding like I know what music is and using what are probably either made up or improperly used musical terms!

I suppose one question I have still is: Is there actually a case where the tempo is this slow for a full beat count? It seems like most songs are played at about 120 BPM, which I think would mean that a full 4 count would take 2 seconds; But these slow lessons seem to be at half that speed, so a 4 count is taking 4 seconds. So is there “real” music played at 60 BPM? If so, why would you not just retain a “normal” tempo and then stretch out the notes over two counts?

In other words, If you are playing an eight note at a 60BPM tempo, wouldn’t that be the same as playing a quarter note at 120BPM?

I suppose this is getting outside the realm of bass playing specifically and is much more general music theory (which again, I know nothing about), but if anyone can provide a Barney style explanation of it I would really appreciate it!


Yes and no. Yes, it would be a note of equivalent duration. No, it would not be the same.

Hysteria is an excellent example of this. Hysteria is actually a relatively mellow tempo of 90 BPM. You would not think this, due to Chris Wolstenholme’s relentless 16th note chugging.

But listen to the drums. And the guitar. And how the bass relates to them.

Similarly, 3/4 and 6/8 are the same time ratios, but not the same time signatures.


@howard I think I have a LOT to learn


Me too :slight_smile:

Put another way, yes you could notate an instrument’s line for a song equivalently with quarter notes at 120 BPM or eighth notes at 60 BPM. But then for one of those you would probably need to notate the other instruments in ways that would make little sense.

As a concrete example, say that at 120 BPM at 4/4 the bass is playing quarter notes on the beat and the drum has a kick on the beat and a snare on the eighth note. To convert this to 60 BPM 4/4, the bass would be playing eighth notes, and the drum would be playing the kick every eighth note and the snare every other 16th. This would be really weird for something marked as 60 BPM. Because that kick really kind of defines the beat, you would end up with something accurately notated in terms of sounding the same when played, but in a way no one would actually notate it.


I take it my suggestion was far too simple and straightforward.
I can only apologise for that, and will endeavour to not make any further simple and straightforward suggestions :+1:


I think your suggestion is great. Often times, simple solutions are the best. For what it’s worth, I nod my head to keep time while I’m playing. It works for me, and my dog finds it amusing.


Not at all. At least, not to me. I just had some additional followup as to why things work the way they do. You got the “How do I fix myself” part of my question answered, but then my nature lead me down a “Why am I wrong in the first place” path…

In the end, I ALMOST wish I hadn’t asked the follow-up questions because I think that it is WAY more advanced than I need (or want) to be right now. I think I’m just going to stick to going through the course once fully before I try and learn other stuff. Let Josh teach me what I need to know when I need to know it.


You asked very good questions. Apologies if I didn’t get my answers across well (it’s 1:30am here).

Excellent plan to just learn it at the pace the course will teach you :slight_smile:


Not to worry, @brandoncmurphy - we are all here to learn, and sometimes it is the combined wisdom of several that finds the “solution”…

Not to repeat what others have said, but I think the “issue” with bpm and counting comes down to convention and convenience. When I see 60 bpm, to me it means 60 quarter notes per minute, so I would count quarters always as default. You could make the convention that it refers to eighth notes, and that would be fine, you’d just have to agree with the others. But, because 4/4 is the most common meter, and not 4/8 or 2/4, that is why it works best with assuming “beats = quarters” (and also because many motifs span a bar and not half a bar, or two bars). Now, there are some very fast pieces, where you may have 240 bpm, and then people would count halve notes, as it would be too “crazy” to count all the quarter note beats. Likewise, in a slow piece, if it is more convenient for you, count the eighth notes - again, convention and convenience!

But, yeah, it is all in all, a bit more complicated than it seems at first glance :smile:


The fact that I understood almost none of this is one reason I know it is too much for me right now! LOL.

To everyone though: Thanks for all of the help. back to my original concern, it seems like just trying to find a way to keep myself on rhythm (like nodding my head in time to the music) will be what I need to focus on for now. I will try to understand the intricacies of music after I can count to four in rhythm on a regular basis!

rhythm…on bass…

I’ll see myself out.:upside_down_face:


Good point and very true, @eric.kiser :slight_smile: I’ve been amazed at how much more sense things made going over the course again.


Sorry, man - didn’t mean to confuse you even more :crazy_face:

That said, I hope this doesn’t keep you from asking stuff in the future either!!