the online magazine for bass players

Search Menu
  • The Lightbulb Moment: Turn Signals

    The Lightbulb Moment: Turn Signals

    Today’s column is brought to you by the Tennessee Department of Transportation. My usual route to and from downtown involves quite a bit of highway driving and every few days; the TDOT message boards provide a less-than-clever quote to inspire better driving habits. Apparently, plenty of drivers have been neglecting their turn signal, and the... »

  • How Do I Stop Playing Ahead of the Beat?

    How Do I Stop Playing Ahead of the Beat?

    Q: I’m finding it really hard not to play ahead of the beat. I can play on the click with a metronome or other rhythm exercises, but when I put a playback, I’m starting the beat most of the time! It is something to do with too much thinking about the notes I’m playing. Also... »

  • Playing Ahead or Behind the Beat

    Playing Ahead or Behind the Beat

    Q: I hear people talk about playing “behind the beat” of “ahead of the beat”. How can I work on that? A: I call this micro-timing. I think that phrase helps because many students I have tend to overdo it when they play intentionally behind or ahead of the beat. It is a very subtle... »

  • Keeping Time in Jazz

    Keeping Time in Jazz

    I love a good bass solo as much, or probably more, than the next person. In the band, however, our most important job is to “keeping time.” Below are a few things we can do in the practice room to help improve our “time” before we get to the gig. Pick a tune you know... »

  • Writing Bass Lines in Odd Time Signatures

    Writing Bass Lines in Odd Time Signatures

    Q: I have been playing bass for a while now and have recently started a jazz-fusion project where we are creating original material. At our last rehearsal, I was handed a lead sheet for a song written in 5/4. The member then explained that the song wasn’t in two three or three two, but in... »

  • Exercises for Improving Time

    Exercises for Improving Time

    Q: What are some good exercises or practice routines to develop a strong sense of time? A: When I want to work on time, rhythm or technique, I think “What would a drummer do”? There are any number of ways to develop that internal clock. Here are a few ideas for you: 1. Playing Along.... »

  • Improving Time and Rhythmic Accuracy

    Improving Time and Rhythmic Accuracy

    As important as playing with good intonation is, it is even more important to play with good time and rhythmic accuracy. Most of us know that counting, subdividing and practicing with a metronome can help. However, there are things we can do beyond these initial steps. Below are a few suggestions, and a few games,... »

  • Getting Comfortable with Odd Time Signatures

    Getting Comfortable with Odd Time Signatures

    Q: Lately I’ve been finding myself in situations where tunes with odd time signatures are called up on gigs. I’m finding it a challenge to switch gears on the fly and be able to come up with a grooving bass line and not lose the one. How do you handle – and prepare – for... »

  • Achieving Rock Solid Time on Bass

    Achieving Rock Solid Time on Bass

    Q: I was wondering if you could touch on the topic of time, the most important part of being a bassist. Are there ways to get rock solid time anywhere from 60 bpm to 300 bpm other than just playing with a metronome? If so what do you suggest? A: Aside from my usual answers:... »

  • Understanding Rhythm: Mental and Physical Approaches for Bass Players

    Understanding Rhythm: Mental and Physical Approaches for Bass Players

    Rhythm is both mental and physical. Mental The mental aspect of rhythm is the intellectual understanding of how musical time is organized. For any given piece, passage, or note, this includes things such as: Understanding how many beats are in the measure. How each beat is subdivided. Is it by two, three, five, seven? Perhaps... »