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  • Challenges to Good Intonation in a Live Situation

    Challenges to Good Intonation in a Live Situation

    Good intonation is a lifelong concern for every double bassist. We train our ears, we work constantly to match pitch, and we devote large sections of our individual practice sessions to improving it. Among other things, the sheer size of the instrument demands our constant attention to pitch. Sometimes though, even players who normally have... »

  • A Discussion on Slap Bass Tone and Technique

    A Discussion on Slap Bass Tone and Technique

    I get a an insurmountable number of emailed questions asking about slap tone and technique. While I have mentioned dozens of times in various columns that I never really explored the slap side of bass, I have fiddled with it enough, in addition to knowing quite a few fantastic slappers. I know how to get... »

  • Connecting Written Rhythms to Your Bass Playing

    Connecting Written Rhythms to Your Bass Playing

    Q: I can read the notes on the staff and I can tell you if it’s a 16th note or a whole note, and yet, I can’t seem to play the rhythm. Any advice on fixing this? A: As I’ve said before, learning to read music fluently takes a lot of practice, just like learning... »

  • Hal Leonard Publishes “Essential Bass Guitar Techniques…”

    Hal Leonard Publishes “Essential Bass Guitar Techniques…”

    Don’t keep faking your way through songs. Learn how those great players created the sounds you love. Usually, it’s all about a technique — like Flea’s slapping, or Jaco Pastorius’ finger-style and harmonics. A new book aims to provide you with need-to-know techniques. is a 74-page book that’s accompanied by library of 86 audio tracks... »

  • 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... »

  • Adjusting to Alternate Tunings on Bass

    Adjusting to Alternate Tunings on Bass

    Q: As you may know, many bassists who play Urban Gospel music will detune their basses to a low B♭ or lower to achieve that extra low range. About a year ago, I decided to give detuning a try and detuned my 5-string bass to B♭. It was strange at first, because I had to... »

  • 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... »

  • The Great Bass Picksperiment

    The Great Bass Picksperiment

    I was a pretty picky eater when I was a kid. Okay, a very picky eater. Oh yeah, and I still am. Wednesday nights typically revolved around my father making pasta and having to put up with my self-imposed dietary restrictions: I was an anti-tomatite. Dad tried as hard as possible, time and time again,... »

  • 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... »