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  • Improving Your Time and Feel on Bass

    Improving Your Time and Feel on Bass

    Q: I’ve been having some trouble with time. I can keep time and play in time with a metronome or with drummers I know well, but when I play with other drummers who are a little more ahead of me, it’s harder for me to keep time. It happens too when I’m playing Latin music.... »

  • Types of Listening: Three Approaches for Bass Players

    Types of Listening: Three Approaches for Bass Players

    Q: How do you hear music, as in a critical method of hearing? How can your playing or musicality get better just by hearing a certain genre or style? Do you perhaps hear a piano comping and try to do the same if you are digging it? A: The answer to this question could fill... »

  • Playing Bass… Slow

    Playing Bass… Slow

    Every bassist, at some point, wants to learn to play fast. This is a reasonable technical goal to have, of course. Much music demands this sort of technical facility. Furthermore, if we want to be able to truly express ourselves musically, we must have this ability. However, fast playing isn’t everything, in fact it’s only... »

  • Playing Bass… Fast

    Playing Bass… Fast

    At some point most bassists want be able to play “fast.” The question that usually arises is obvious: “How?” The most common barriers to being able play quickly on upright bass are: Poor bass setup Inefficient technique. (Too much tension, etc.) Lack of stamina Lack of familiarity with the passage, tune, line, etc. (Trying to... »

  • How to Build Muscle Memory: A List for Bass Players

    How to Build Muscle Memory: A List for Bass Players

    Q: I hear everybody talking about “muscle memory”, i.e. being able to play without looking at the fingerboard. How do you get there? Any special advice or exercises, especially for fretless? A: Muscle memory is crucial to your development as a player. I also consider the ability to use harmonic devices (like substations and different... »

  • Focused Learning: A Bass Player’s Guide to Practice and Rehearsals

    Focused Learning: A Bass Player’s Guide to Practice and Rehearsals

    Q: I’d like your advice on what a bassist should be thinking during a practice session or when learning new material? What do you think about during those times? What should I be thinking? A: This question struck me as interesting. Primarily, I think it’s because it relates to a conversation I recently had with... »

  • Discovering the Right Practice Routine

    Discovering the Right Practice Routine

    Q: Some people stand strongly by the notion of having a true practice routine while others claim that routines stunt growth, because the same thing is being practiced each day (e.g. scale modes in broken thirds with such-and-such technique striving for X bpm). Will you please elaborate on what a routine is and how to... »

  • Makers of the Melody: Part 2 – Soloing

    Makers of the Melody: Part 2 – Soloing

    Bass solo! Bass solo! The bandleader points his finger at you, giving you the okay and hushing the rest of the band. Great. Now what? We’re not the guitar player… we haven’t worked on Hendrix licks or memorizing the solo section to “Freebird”. We can’t just crank up the distortion or create mesmerizing soundscapes with... »

  • Easy Experimentation for Artistic Growth in Improvisation

    Easy Experimentation for Artistic Growth in Improvisation

    Students of improvisation are often looking for the quickest way to learn vast amounts of new material, all while sounding great immediately. Oftentimes this translates into playing a large number of tunes for a few minutes each. In the short term, such practice sessions can be helpful. This is especially true if we need to... »

  • Makers of the Melody: Part 1

    Makers of the Melody: Part 1

    As we begin our journey as bass players, we are drawn to particular types of grooves. Perhaps our ears perk up with a soulful R&B line, the sound of a walking upright, or a rock tune where the bass is pedaling the roots. Many of us are intrigued by vibrant staccato grooves, the slaps and... »