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  • Dealing with Different Environments and Bass Tone

    Dealing with Different Environments and Bass Tone

    Q: In 25+ years playing, one problem has plagued and perplexed me the entire time… from one band practice to the next I swear the tone of my bass changes. One day my bass tone sounds like it’s dialed in right where it needs to be the next my strings sound dull or my amp... »

  • The Lightbulb Moment: Time For A Change (of Strings)

    The Lightbulb Moment: Time For A Change (of Strings)

    A letter, documenting the moment when you realize that things aren’t what they used to be but that you have the power to amend the situation. This particular moment, and the frequency with which it occurs, is different for everyone. That said, this letter highlights a few subtle signs to help you determine when it’s... »

  • Best Strings for Two-Handed Tapping?

    Best Strings for Two-Handed Tapping?

    Q: I’m looking for the brightest sounding flatwound strings I can find. I play a highly modded ’66 Jazz 5-string with Barto pickups and have used round wound strings consistently since 1972… yes, that long. The sizes I always use are 45 65 85 105, and 125. I want to experiment with the two-handed chordal... »

  • Learning Music: To Pursue a College Degree (Or Not)

    Learning Music: To Pursue a College Degree (Or Not)

    Q: What I want to know is this: by not pursuing a higher education in music (music college), what am I missing out on and what is most important to take away from that experience? A: Professionally speaking, a degree in music won’t do anything for you unless you are are shooting for a career... »

  • Reader Question Roundup: Legato Playing, Short Practice Schedules and Playing Complex Music

    Reader Question Roundup: Legato Playing, Short Practice Schedules and Playing Complex Music

    I’m sitting in my hotel room in Lincoln, Nebraska and sifting through my file with all the questions submitted by readers I have yet to answer. Three of them were short enough to put together a “reader question roundup”. I thought this would be a nice change of pace – and one that would allow... »

  • Lightbulb Moment: The Power of the Pedal Tone

    Lightbulb Moment: The Power of the Pedal Tone

    It’s January 2nd. A brand new year is on the horizon as I stroll through the airport, leaving my hometown once again after the conclusion of the holidays. The airport isn’t as busy as I had anticipated and thanks to my nervous and obsessive nature, I showed up far too early. Lucky for me, I’ve... »

  • A Discussion on Slap Bass Tone and Technique

    A Discussion on Slap Bass Tone and Technique

    I get a an insurmountable number of emailed questions asking about slap tone and technique. While I have mentioned dozens of times in various columns that I never really explored the slap side of bass, I have fiddled with it enough, in addition to knowing quite a few fantastic slappers. I know how to get... »

  • Two-Handed Tapping and Developing Hand Independence for Bass Players

    Two-Handed Tapping and Developing Hand Independence for Bass Players

    Q: I have been practicing two-handed taping and can’t get independence between left and right hand. Specifically, I can’t play rhythm patterns with my fretting hand and independently play harmony with the plucking hand. Can you suggest some workout for this kind of problem? A: While I have very limited experience with two-handed tapping, I... »

  • Bass Players: On Staying Motivated and Avoiding Unhealthy Comparisons

    Bass Players: On Staying Motivated and Avoiding Unhealthy Comparisons

    Q: How do I come to terms to the fact that I will never be a Damian Erskine-caliber player? How do I keep myself motivated to learn when I am always comparing my sucky playing to much better players? Why would anyone – especially another bass player – want to listen to me play? A:... »

  • What’s the Best Way To Learn Electric Bass?

    What’s the Best Way To Learn Electric Bass?

    Q: You can go to school and study electric bass in a jazz program, you can listen to records and learn from them, you can check out lessons on Youtube, you can subscribe to bass player’s online teaching regimens… But how do you know what is the best way to become a competent, professional level... »