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  • Working with Printed Transcriptions

    Working with Printed Transcriptions

    Studying transcriptions of masterful performances can provide a wealth of learning material for a musician. Musically speaking, we will gain the most by completing our own transcriptions, entirely by ear, of course. However, there is still a great deal to be gained by working from published transcriptions by other musicians, provided we approach them in... »

  • Talking Technique: Feeling Rusty?

    Talking Technique: Feeling Rusty?

    So you haven’t gotten to touch your bass in a while. It happens! We all have those times where we don’t get time with our bass for extended periods. When we get the bass in our hands again, our gut instinct is to get all our fast chops back, but that’s not such a great... »

  • Making Practice Meaningful

    Making Practice Meaningful

    Q: I have a shelf full of instructional books, methods, transcriptions, etc., but I feel like they don’t actually help at all. I just play through things and while I feel like I practiced, I don’t really see how any of that stuff is helping. Any thoughts? A: I know exactly how you feel. It... »

  • When You Can’t Get To It All In Practice Sessions

    When You Can’t Get To It All In Practice Sessions

    One of our No Treble readers has this to say: I understand how to structure my practice, but I’m still having trouble figuring out how to set up practice sessions because I have so much stuff to work on. I’m a bit frustrated. Do you have any suggestions? The first thing I’d suggest is to... »

  • Practice Slow/Practice Fast

    Practice Slow/Practice Fast

    “Slow practice is fast practice” they say. To be sure, slow practice is a powerful strategy. Used by itself, however, it is incomplete. Ultimately, to perform fast passages well, we will need to have practiced them at full speed. In fact, if we are not careful, solely practicing a passage under tempo can drive us... »

  • A Quick Left Hand Warmup

    A Quick Left Hand Warmup

    Most people are aware of the importance of warming up before we practice or perform. A slow warmup can protect against injury and help to ensure we are performing at our optimum level. In situations where time is short, however, it can be tempting to forgo the warmup portion of the day. When I am... »

  • Making the Switch from 4- to 5-String Bass

    Making the Switch from 4- to 5-String Bass

    Q: I have recently made the move from 4-string to 5-string bass. I love the extended range (my bass is tuned E-C), but I’m finding I need to add more practice time to accommodate the additional string. There were exercises that I played on 4 strings and I am now expanding that to include the... »

  • Motivation for Practicing

    Motivation for Practicing

    Q: I have days where I feel like I’m the worst player on the planet, and I have no drive to practice even though I should be. Do you have any tips for practicing/motivation on off-days? A: I’ve written about this in one form or another in past columns. I’ve often recommended finding something (that... »

  • Introduction to Chromatic Scales

    Introduction to Chromatic Scales

    For many bassists, the chromatic scale is an underused resource in their practice toolkit. Properly approached, practicing chromatic scales can vastly improve our shifting, intonation and mental map of the fingerboard. Below are a few beginner exercises using the chromatic scale that I find to be useful for those just becoming familiar with the chromatic... »

  • How to Change Up Your Practice Routine When You Don’t Feel Like Practicing

    How to Change Up Your Practice Routine When You Don’t Feel Like Practicing

    Q: What does one do about practice when you just don’t feel like playing and can’t get into it? Do you walk away for a few days or force yourself to play? A: Everyone likely has a different approach, but I have a few things that I try to do before throwing in the towel... »