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  • Learning Lots of Songs Quickly

    Learning Lots of Songs Quickly

    Q: I have a dep gig in 5 days and need to learn 23 songs. Any tips? I’m quite a good reader and have all the songs transcribed so I can probably read the music as I play but it’s for a rock gig and wouldn’t look particularly cool. A: For those who don’t know... »

  • How To Transition to Pro Level?

    How To Transition to Pro Level?

    Q: My question is this: how did you transition to a pro level and play concerts vs. playing bars and functions? I have been playing for quite a few years and have played with some very good musicians out of Berklee and local players, but I always dream of stepping up to the next level.... »

  • Jam Session Etiquette

    Jam Session Etiquette

    Q: I have never been to a random, strangers-in-the-night jazz jam as a bass player and a lot of jams tend to have their set bass player (ahem – often the organizer of said jam – ahem). What’s the etiquette if you just want to walk a few tunes with everybody? A: First of all,... »

  • The Lightbulb Moment: Learn Lots of Songs

    The Lightbulb Moment: Learn Lots of Songs

    Here I am, once again, on the bandstand with a bass in hand. Two sets down, one to go. It’s a free for all… no official set list and a handful of requests. A guy with a twenty in his hand walks up to the stage and says, “Do ya’ll know ‘Whipping Post’?” The guitar... »

  • Cutting Through a Big Band: A Discussion for Bass Players

    Cutting Through a Big Band: A Discussion for Bass Players

    Q: I’m playing in a jazz band of over 40 people in a song featuring bass guitar. I’m looking for a pedal that will make my sound distinct and rise above the band but not distort it. Any recommendations? Thanks. A: Personally, I wouldn’t change my sound much at all. You might leave yourself a... »

  • Dealing with Sound Engineers

    Dealing with Sound Engineers

    Q: I have a question regarding how I might get my sound man to successfully change all the monitors on stage, (5 stage mixes) before a song with a different lead singer and making the original lead singer a backup and not in the musicians mix anymore. Changing to a song that is led by... »

  • Gigging Without a Car: A Discussion on Gear

    Gigging Without a Car: A Discussion on Gear

    Q: Since I don’t own a car anymore, I was thinking about changing my gear to better fit my new way of moving around (public transportation). Do you have any suggestion about ways to reduce the amount of stock I need to move around while keeping a good sound on stage? A: I think that... »

  • The Lightbulb Moment: Toil And Trouble

    The Lightbulb Moment: Toil And Trouble

    It’s finally jacket weather. The leaves are falling, the sun is setting earlier every day, and the pumpkin spice latte has returned. Halloween is just around the corner, which means that my friends will search for the creepiest haunted houses and hayrides, only to force me to join them on an adventure that will make... »

  • Learning a Tune “On the Spot”

    Learning a Tune “On the Spot”

    Last week I received a question about how to memorize a tune fast: “…For example, [bassist] playing a jazz tune you’ve never played before with a pianist as they shout out the changes for one chorus, then stop for the second. How can we develop skills to memorize these changes instantly?” No doubt the situation... »

  • The Lightbulb Moment: It’s All in Your Head(space)

    The Lightbulb Moment: It’s All in Your Head(space)

    “Um, hey guys… excuse me… guys?!… Can you turn it down a little?” I glance behind me at the drummer and our eyes meet with the same surprised expression. He can’t be serious, right? We’re not playing rock and roll here… the drummer has yet to play with sticks instead of brushes, the keyboard player... »