I was making a 4/4 score for a bassist and it had 170 bpm with kick on first beat and snare on 3rd, he said he was used to having the snare on 2nd and 4th with half the bpm. That was news to me, is there a best practice which to do? I'd rather do higher bpm and snare on 3rd, but also want to do way most people are used to. Thanks.
Yeah, in Rock the back beat is usually understood to be 2 and 4.
X: 1 L: 1/8 K: Cmaj M: C Q: 1/4=85 %% score (D1 D2) V:D1 clef=perc V:D2 clef=perc % 1 [V:D1] ffff ffff [V:D2] F2 B2 F F B2
If it's on 3, this is called half-time feeling, which corresponds to the classical notion of alla breve
X: 1 L: 1/8 K: Cmaj M: C| Q: 1/2=85 %% score (D1 D2) V:D1 clef=perc V:D2 clef=perc % 1 [V:D1] ffff ffff | ffff ffff [V:D2] F4 B4 | F2 F2 B4
...though if that's the groove in an entire piece, it's often common time with 16th on the Hi-Hat instead, so the back beat is again on 2 and 4.
X: 1 L: 1/16 K: Cmaj M: C Q: 1/4=85 %% score (D1 D2) V:D1 clef=perc V:D2 clef=perc % 1 [V:D1] ffff ffff ffff ffff [V:D2] F4 B4 F2 F2 B4
The bass player is right (speaking as a drummer here).
As a conductor I'd also prefer to have the downstrokes of the baton land on the bass on 1 and the snare on 2.
It's just the convention for modern pop/rock based music and the players of this style will focus on a strong bass on 1 and 3 and the drummer and rhythm guitar will bring out the 2 and 4.