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  • Competing with the “Bass Virtuosos”

    Competing with the “Bass Virtuosos”

    Q: I have been feeling a bit defeated lately. I want to be a professional bassist more than anything but whenever I watch YouTube, I feel like I just don’t have what it takes. I see nothing but a sea of players with blazing chops, piano like chordal abilities, solo players who sound like an... »

  • Bass Players: On Staying Motivated and Avoiding Unhealthy Comparisons

    Bass Players: On Staying Motivated and Avoiding Unhealthy Comparisons

    Q: How do I come to terms to the fact that I will never be a Damian Erskine-caliber player? How do I keep myself motivated to learn when I am always comparing my sucky playing to much better players? Why would anyone – especially another bass player – want to listen to me play? A:... »

  • Musical Goals and Self Evaluation

    Musical Goals and Self Evaluation

    For those of us involved in formal education, the end of the year is a time for evaluation in all our classes, e.g. final exams, papers, presentations etc. When it comes to instrumental study, most students play what is known as a “jury.” This is performance by the student for panel of faculty. The charge... »

  • Starting Back Up on Bass After a Long Break

    Starting Back Up on Bass After a Long Break

    Even those of us who maintain a regular practice routine may find ourselves taking an extended period of time away from our instrument. Vacations, travel, illness, work, incarceration, etc. can keep even the most dedicated musician away from their instrument. With an instrument as physically demanding as the double bass, we would be wise to... »

  • Bass in the Spotlight and Overcoming Self-Doubt

    Bass in the Spotlight and Overcoming Self-Doubt

    Q: A couple of months ago, I quit my band and because of the state of the guitarists in my area, I decided to start go small, with bass, drums and vocals. Now that some time has passed, I feel that everything is falling apart, which is depressing. Do you think it is a good... »

  • Self Expression: Thoughts and Discussion for Bass Players

    Self Expression: Thoughts and Discussion for Bass Players

    Q: Most pros say that playing with other musicians is one of the most important things a bassist can do. After practicing alone for a few years, I’ve returned to the band setting. I love gigging and I love band practice, but I find myself playing very conservatively. In no way am I trying to... »

  • Thoughts on Improving Your Technique on Bass

    Thoughts on Improving Your Technique on Bass

    There are voluminous technical exercises designed to make us better instrumentalists. Nearly all have benefit when executed properly. Unfortunately, many people focus solely on the musical result expected (e.g. How fast can I play that trill today?) when doing technical work. However, the best results are gained when we balance our focus between the musical... »

  • Developing Your Musical Ear

    Developing Your Musical Ear

    Q: My problem is that I dont have “ears” for music. I’ve always tried and failed, and this is frustrating me. I only play what is written, or what somebody played. I want to play my own bass lines for any song of my choice. I’ve learned scales, modes, appregios… I’m not sure what to... »

  • How To Groove at Jam Sessions

    How To Groove at Jam Sessions

    Q: During jam sessions, I normally have a “hit and stick” approach to coming up with grooves. Essentially, there’s a lull between grooves where I end up peddling notes or playing the one. My keyboard player pointed this out and it bothers me. Is this something that I should be worried about? How do I... »

  • Pace Yourself: Thoughts on the Process of Practicing and Learning

    Pace Yourself: Thoughts on the Process of Practicing and Learning

    Whether you’re embarking on a long distance run, sitting down to a delicious plate of food, or facing a mountain of material to learn, keep one thing in mind: pace yourself. Establishing a good pace for learning material or practicing a new technique is extremely important, especially when you’re looking at a deadline. It’s easy... »