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  • How High Should I Set My Bass Strings?

    How High Should I Set My Bass Strings?

    Q: What’s your take on string height? For over a decade, I’ve subscribed to Anthony Jackson’s view that the neck must be as flat/straight as possible and the strings as low as possible. And while I’ve spent as much time refining a light touch, I sometimes wonder if I’m spending too much time worrying about... »

  • Should I Go Active? A Discussion for Bass Players

    Should I Go Active? A Discussion for Bass Players

    Q: I’m once again considering using active electronics on my bass, a pre-amp of some kind. It is still a bit of a debate I notice amongst bass players. Some say it’s “colder,” some say it’s difficult to work with, especially on stage. I even had stories from sound engineers who are not too keen... »

  • Serious Play and the Bass Solo

    Serious Play and the Bass Solo

    A good friend of mine came to a gig I had recently in Seattle. Jeremy Sherman lives in San Francisco and our relationship began as one of student and teacher (he would fly to Portland on occasion to take a few lessons from me and hang out for a weekend) and we soon became friends... »

  • Ask Damian: More Album Recommendations

    Ask Damian: More Album Recommendations

    Q: I really dug the last column about albums to check out, if you want to get into jazz. I found a ton of great stuff that I actually liked in there! Do you have any more suggestions that extend beyond the jazz genre? A: Thanks! I’m glad that you discovered some new music. That’s... »

  • Album Suggestions for Getting Into Jazz

    Album Suggestions for Getting Into Jazz

    Q: Do you have any suggestions for what albums I might check out if I wanted to get into jazz? I’ve, of course, heard bits and pieces of things before flipping through radio stations, in restaurants, etc., but nothing ever really grabbed me. What should I check out that might ignite the interest? A: Alright,... »

  • Who is the Best Bassist?

    Who is the Best Bassist?

    So it happened. A reader sent Damian this question: “In your opinion, who is the best bassist?” Damian decided to answer, without it becoming another one of those “Best Bassist”-type columns that cause an uproar. Check out what he has to say on the subject... »

  • Resistance to Change

    Resistance to Change

    Q: Why are some musicians resistant to changing gear and/or playing techniques when the player gets faced with pain, hits a technical wall or is dissatisfied with their own progress? A: Note: I saw this question on a Facebook thread I was tagged in recently and thought it was a good one. I paraphrased it... »

  • Your Top 10 Bass Albums

    Your Top 10 Bass Albums

    Q: I’m curious. What are your top 10 bass albums. What albums do you think everybody should hear? A: I hesitated to answer this because of the inherently subjective nature of the question. My top 10 albums are not likely to coincide with yours, but I ultimately decided that for that reason alone, I should... »

  • The Pros and Cons of Skype Bass Lessons

    The Pros and Cons of Skype Bass Lessons

    Q: I was thinking that maybe I should start taking Skype lessons so that I can reach out to more teachers than I have around me locally. Do you have any advice? Can you have a good lesson over Skype vs. in person? A: It is certainly possible to have a great lesson over Skype... »

  • Surviving the Holidays as a Freelance Bassist

    Surviving the Holidays as a Freelance Bassist

    For non-musicians the winter holidays can be a time for rest, relaxation and extra time with family. For many freelance musicians, however, it is a time of early mornings, late nights, long hours playing, coffee, and lots of time in the car going from gig to gig. The upside is, of course, that it can... »