Practice dilemna - Faster or broader?

Best practice approach
  • Faster (practice each groove until nailed down at 100%)
  • Broader (move on and come back later)
0 voters


My son (also my drummer) positively challenged my practice habit

I’m currently doing talkingbass Groove Trainer and have been asking him a few times to “validate” that I nailed the groove… BUT he discovered today that i was playing at 75% speed.

Indeed, after Groove +/-40, I found the 100% speed way too fast and decided that I would be better off moving on when 75% was OK to come back later

My assumption is that each groove is making me work on something different, improving my overall technic / groove and that it should help me improve speed and that nailing down the 100% will be easier when I will come back to the lesson.

He said that this is cheating and that I should only move on when nailed down at 100% as this is the best way to improve.

What do you think ?


I think that both can work, but it can be boring to feel stuck for a long time with the same riff, so the “move on and come back” method may be less discouraging. The real goal is to absolutly avoid giving up.


IMO moving on is way better, unless the goal is absolutely to nail a specific groove for other reasons. Just come back to it later. Nothing kills fun like perfectionism, and keeping it fun makes it much more likely you’ll practice more. It’s kind of a cycle. Practice, have fun while improving, want to do it because it’s fun, practice more, get better, repeat.


I want option 3, which is why I didn’t vote.

Option 3 is move on, keep practicing. If you practice at 75% regularly, someday you will turn it up to 100 and try it, and without knowing it will be easy. This is like the With or Without You or Billie Jean B2B fast workouts. They were hard when starting, but a month out they were easy.

I’m doing this with Peter Gunn, building up my stamina after not playing for a few months or five. I am playing at 75% for the length of the song couple times a night. I can do 100%, but not cleanly for 4 minutes. So I do it at 75. And one day I will do it at 100 and say it was easy.

If you have a gig and need to learn it, that’s a different story


With all due respect to your son, I vote no to chasing 100% speed. Playing bass and playing drums are two completely different things.

With bass, speed comes with dedicated practice, which often means working on different aspects of a bass line: attack, dynamics, fingering variations/accuracy, etc. But chasing speed at the cost of progressing as a musician is counter-productive.

You can always come back to previous grooves in the course and hit them harder for a bit, but you should always add to your experience and knowledge as a musician above all things. Just my take.


Yes this.

I play both bass and drums. There’s a big difference in practicing routines. Both can be pretty easy and tough as heck.

The reason your son chooses the different path doesn’t surprise me, younger people have different view, and they probably have more time to practice as well.

The best way to practice is in bite size and let the take its course and build up the muscle memory. It may takes several sessions and once you get it that will be the session that you “know” how to do it.

Then the fun begins it will takes lots and lots more sessions to get the notes under your fingers. It takes a lot of effort make it looks effortless. Even more effort to make it sounds like the notes are baked in to the grooves and sound worn out. That takes either lots of practice or session recording pros


I kinda do a mix of the two: I always try to nail it up to 100%.
But when I realize that the next step takes longer and it might take a very long time to get it up to 100%, I move on.


I tend towards the “nail it” faction when I don’t stop myself. This may waste progress, since you need to work on all of your technique to get better, not just one aspect. And it is unclear what 100% means. I mean, do you just nail the timing? The attack, note length, tone, …?

So, the real challenge here is to see that this is not an either/or question, as you posed it. It is about “how and when” perhaps.

Like @Al1885 said, drummers have other concepts, and you can benefit from exploring that with your son. Have a talk about what you both would call “rudiments” on bass. See if that inspires better practice.

Best wishes,

PS: I’m probably going to start TB’s Groove Trainer soon-ish, too. :slight_smile:


The big risk with the move on and come back later approach is whether you ever will actually come back later. :wink:


The big risk with the perfection route is you stop altogether :slight_smile:


Yes very much agree, I should have put up both sides not just one. I sort of do a bit of both myself. If it’s a relatively easy groove I’ll look to nail it at full speed; if it’s a difficult one then I don’t want to stop dead and will drop it into my daily warm up/practise routine and move on.

As an example I have been trying to nail a very simplified (and shortened) version of Pachelbel’s Canon in D and I’ve still not managed to get the latter sixteenth note section played at full speed; every time I hit that bit my bpm slows down! I’m slowly getting closer but I don’t worry about it too much and now it’s just one of the regular bits in my warm up routine. It’ll come in time!


Thank you all for your answers !

At this stage, I mean 100% speed but I’m concious that the definition should be much broader

I love it and can find some commonalities with B2B eventhough Mark lessons are : he plays the groove, detail it slowly (left / right hand, tone, rythm…) and then says “now one last time with the track” going full speed again. I play with video speed to recreate the slow / Med and fast workout

Yes ! I’m not ginving up and having fun ! :slight_smile:

Clearly and it can be rewarding as well

This was my view , thanks for doubling down

Surpringly my son said that he was impressed by my bass skills and that he believed Druls were much easier… I had to disagree with him once again, I think drums are super complex and that I still have a long way to go before playing OKish bass !

I’ll keep this in mind before moving to groove training #2

Crossing fingers !


The answer is “yes” :blush: You want to do both those things, depending on their difficulty and how they affect your progress.

Ask yourself “why?” and “what am I gaining from this?” You want to work on something towards achieving 100% as long as that is positively affecting your progress. You want to move on and come back later if your attempt at 100% is holding your progress back.


There can be but there doesn’t have to be. When I first starting bass, I spent about a month just working on plucking, muting, string changes and different rhythms. On drums, I did the same with rudiments and slowly adding in each piece of the kit.

One big difference is I find reading music significantly more useful on drums than bass. I also find it much more fun to improvise on drums, play by ear and transcribe songs.


One big difference between bass and drums practice is you can woodshed a drum parts anywhere can’t do the same with bass.

Funny we are talking about drums and bass yesterday. Last night I stumbled on to this song. I love it for both drum and bass part, well the violin solo to but I can play the fiddle. I’ll try to break down the drum parts this weekend and well the bass part and the bass solo would probably consume a few weeks of my zen time :joy:


You can practice anything anywhere using visualization techniques :slight_smile:

It’s definitely easier to throw my practice pad in my backpack and practice at work than it is to bring a bass :laughing: though i did used to keep my yamaha silent guitar at work when i had an office job :slight_smile:

Threes company was great, I watched a lot of that growing up. So many good bass grooves in TV show theme songs in the 70s and 80s! Barney Miller theme song is one of my faves :slight_smile:


This one is very personal to me. I literally learn to speak English watching that sitcom. Then years later John’s wife was my regular customer at the Panda Express Century City. A few times John would join her. I told him the story and got the autograph. He’s such a nice guy.

Anyways I’ll be doing this cover for sure. It may take a minute to learn as Andrew Gouche played the bass on this song. Piece of cake right? :joy:


I can only speak for me, but I’m firmly in the both column on this. Yes. It’s great to be able to play something at 100% and feel like it’s really solid. and again, this is just me-but i think i get there better by broadening what I’m playing?


My protocol for any gig ready song is to practice it at above original tempo by 10% to even 20% if possible it will not be perfect on all but when dropping back to the original 100% tempo I’m more relaxed.

Try it on your next groove. Push it beyond 100% speed for 10-20 repetitions and drop it back to 100%. It will be surprisingly easy to play.


I don’t gig, and in fact I’ve never even played with other people, but i strongly agree with this
If i can play it faster and get it, i can certainly play it slower. Plus bump that damn yellow song by coldplay up to 150% and it actually becomes a lot of fun to play.