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  • Simple Exercise for Increased Bow Control on Bass

    Simple Exercise for Increased Bow Control on Bass

    When using the bow, the natural tendency is to play louder at the frog and softer at the tip. We must, of course, counteract this predisposition on a regular basis. Simply playing a full bow with consistent timbre and volume requires it. Generally, we do this by adding pressure, via arm weight, to the bow... »

  • Fast Fretboard Position Shifting on Bass

    Fast Fretboard Position Shifting on Bass

    Here’s a lesson I’d consider more beginner/intermediate-level, but it is a great refresher for all of us. Many times, we have to play a line which requires some quick shifting along the fretboard. Here’s a simple exercise for fast position shifts. Follow along with the video. »

  • Beginning Exercise for Improving Left Hand Finger Independence

    Beginning Exercise for Improving Left Hand Finger Independence

    The four movements of the left hand fingers necessary for string playing (to paraphrase the great violin pedagogue Demetrius Constantine Dounis) are: Lifting: Raising a finger from the fingerboard/string Dropping: Lowering a finger/Pressing a string to the fingerboard Sliding: Moving a finger along the string so the pitch rises or lowers accordingly Holding: leaving a... »

  • Seven Planes of the Bow Arm

    Seven Planes of the Bow Arm

    If we are aiming for a consistent sound, the shape of our bow arm should be the same no matter which string, or combination of strings, we are playing on. To do this, we must raise or lower our arm, depending upon which string, or combination of strings, we are playing on. For example, while... »

  • 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... »