Rhythm Section - Other Variants

Other Variants

Not all rhythm sections follow the standard model of "drummer-bassist-chordal instrument". In some bands, there may be no drummer. In bands without a drummer, one or more instruments from the rhythm section often use playing styles which replace the roles of the drumkit—that is laying down the beat and the backbeat. Traditional bluegrass bands typically do not have a drummer. In bluegrass bands, the timekeeping role is shared between several instruments: the upright bass generally plays the on-beats while the mandolin plays chop chords on the off-beats, with the banjo also keeping a steady eighth note rhythm. This distributed nature allows for rhythmic continuity while players take turns highlighting the melody. In funk-oriented groups that do not have a drummer, the electric bass player may take over some of the drummer's role by using slap bass. With slap bass, the bassist slaps the low strings to create a strong "thump" (similar to the bass drum's role) and "snaps" or "pops" the high strings to create a percussive effect (the latter takes over some of the role played by the hi-hat cymbals). In some bands, there may be no bass player; the basslines may be played by the piano player, synth player, or guitarist. Using a guitar player to provide basslines is particularly effective if a guitar player has a seven-string guitar with a low "B" string.

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