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  • Connecting Chords: A Guide to Playing Fluid Bass Lines

    Connecting Chords: A Guide to Playing Fluid Bass Lines

    Q: I would like to ask about voicing/phrases on bass when it comes to chord progressions. How should I step into the next chord when I’m phrasing the actual one? Should I try walking lines? Are there any standard licks that can bring the feel of translating to a next chord? Or they are all... »

  • Getting the Most Out of Music Books

    Getting the Most Out of Music Books

    Q: Do you think you could run through / give some examples of how to make use of rhythm books like Modern Reading Text In 4/4, and theory books like Jazz Theory by Mark Levine or Thesaurus of Scales and Melodic Patterns by Nicolas Slominsky? A: Nice selection of books! Generally speaking, my approach is... »

  • Grouping Multiple Notes Into a Single Action/Thought

    Grouping Multiple Notes Into a Single Action/Thought

    When playing at slow speeds we can concentrate on our physical movements for every single note we play. However, this becomes impractical at high rates of speed. When playing at high speed it helps to group notes, and motions, together into a single action. The number of notes we can combine will depend on the... »

  • Building Confidence: Thoughts for Bass Players

    Building Confidence: Thoughts for Bass Players

    Q: I’m a 16 year old bassist from England, and I’ve been playing for around three years. Ive been told I am very good for my age but I struggle with my confidence sometimes. One day I want to be as good as yourself or people like Janek Gwizdala, Marcus Miller or Victor Victor Wooten,... »

  • Soloing on Bass: What Do You Think About?

    Soloing on Bass: What Do You Think About?

    Q: What should one be thinking when soloing? Do you simply hum the melody in your head or do you think of the solfege/scale degree at the same time? I try to sing the solfeggi, but when it comes to some scalar sequences or faster phrases, I feel like my head might explode. But if... »

  • 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... »

  • 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... »