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What does "Playing in the pocket" mean? (written)

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What does "Playing in the pocket" mean? (written)

Post  Admin on Tue Mar 31, 2009 6:04 pm

What does "playing in the pocket" mean?

This question has popped up in a few forums I visit, so i'll do my best to explain it here. Although this term has a few different technical definitions, there are a couple we can all agree on...

When drummers and bass players talk about being "in the pocket", they are talking about that perfect place where the groove is locked. It's when the rhythm section are completely in the zone, tight and perfect. This is what all bass players and drummers strive for!

Technically, it can be explained like this (This isn't my explanation, but my favorite one from round the 'tinternet.)

The phrase “in the pocket” is used to describe something or someone playing in such a way that the groove is very solid and with a great feel. When a drummer keeps a good metronomic pulse, often referred to as keeping time, and makes the groove feel really good, and maintains this feel for an extended period of time, never wavering, this is often referred to as a deep pocket…

Today, the term “in the pocket” has broadened a bit, suggesting that if two musicians (usually the bass player and the drummer) are feeling the downbeats together, feeling and placing beat “one” at the exact same time, they are said to be “in the pocket.”

Whether you are playing ahead (front) of the beat, or behind (back) of the beat, or right on top (middle) of the beat, as long as two musicians (ie. bassist and drummer) feel the downbeat at the same time, they’ll be in the pocket.

Many people feel that the question is not so much what the pocket is as much as how you know when you’ve achieved it. To the musician, it feels like the music is playing itself, as though everything has merged together … all the rhythmic parts being played by one instrument.

Check out my man bootsy here giving a perfect example of what playing in the pocket is all about!

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Re: What does "Playing in the pocket" mean? (written)

Post  stefk0 on Sun Apr 05, 2009 9:37 pm

Think this is a better vid, specially since it's got Flea in it.

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Re: What does "Playing in the pocket" mean? (written)

Post  Cliff em' all on Thu Apr 16, 2009 2:11 pm

stefk0 wrote:Think this is a better vid, specially since it's got Flea in it.


That "flea" thing scared the crap out of me! afro
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Re: What does "Playing in the pocket" mean? (written)

Post  general lee on Thu Apr 16, 2009 6:12 pm

Whoa, Flea sure knows how to play...

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Re: What does "Playing in the pocket" mean? (written)

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