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  • 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... »

  • Lesson: How To Play Funky Bass with Tap, Slap and Pluck

    Lesson: How To Play Funky Bass with Tap, Slap and Pluck

    Time to get funky! In this lesson, we’ll play a groove in A minor using a left hand tap technique – one of Abe Laboriel’s many slap bass techniques, which was later popularized by Victor Wooten. This technique requires strength in the left hand, or low action. Download this transcription (standard notation and TAB), and... »

  • Single String Shifting Exercise

    Single String Shifting Exercise

    Single string shifting exercises are great for teaching us the geography of the fingerboard. Not to mention the help they provide in solidifying pitch accuracy and bow control. As a result, variations of the exercise given below have likely been in existence since the first human put first put bow to string. Edouard Nanny has... »

  • Bass Lesson: The Fast “Fade” Trick (All in the Fingers)

    Bass Lesson: The Fast “Fade” Trick (All in the Fingers)

    Here’s a quick lesson about a little trick for manually fading a note without using a volume control. It really is all in the fingers, and I bet it’ll come in handy. »

  • Improving Vibrato Control: A Guide for Bassists

    Improving Vibrato Control: A Guide for Bassists

    If the first step in acquiring control of our vibrato is to obtain a smooth motion that we can turn on or off at will, then the next step is to gain control over the speed and width of the vibrato. Being able to adjust the speed and width of a vibrato is indeed a... »

  • Lesson: Getting Funky with Trills on Bass

    Lesson: Getting Funky with Trills on Bass

    In our last lesson, we focused on using vibrato to your bass lines for better phrasing. This time around, we’re going to spend time working on trills on the electric bass. As you’ll hear in the video, playing a line without trills is not bad. But when you add those trills, the line has so... »

  • Finger Independence for Bassists: A Preparatory Double Trill Exercise

    Finger Independence for Bassists: A Preparatory Double Trill Exercise

    Complete independence of the left hand fingers is a laudable goal for every serious bassist, guitarist and string player. Below is a short beginning exercise designed to prepare us for playing double trills, (trills on two notes simultaneously). Strictly speaking, there are no double trills in the exercise below. However, it is a necessary step... »