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  • Expanded Harmonics: More on Locations and Patterns

    Expanded Harmonics: More on Locations and Patterns

    Last time we talked about how to find out where harmonics occur on a string by dividing the string into equal parts. Below you will find a more straightforward representation of the specific harmonics that can be found at the end of the fingerboard on each string. We will be placing the thumb on the... »

  • Bass Fretboard Workbook: Essential Music Principles and Concepts for Fretboard Mastery

    Bass Fretboard Workbook: Essential Music Principles and Concepts for Fretboard Mastery

    Hal Leonard announced a few new bass-focused books at this year’s NAMM Show, including a new one by author Chad Johnson. For many bassists, complete fretboard knowledge is lacking. Bass Fretboard Workbook – Essential Music Principles and Concepts for Fretboard Mastery was written to overcome these unknown spots with Johnson’s method for becoming comfortable with... »

  • Harmonics: A Starter Guide for Bassists

    Harmonics: A Starter Guide for Bassists

    Whatever the genre, we bassists seem to love harmonics. From Jaco to Dittersdorf, bass music is full of them. When we are introduced to playing harmonics however, the prospect can be a bit tricky. At first, we may be unsure where the harmonics are on the string, or what note will sound when we attempt... »

  • Left Hand Flexibility for Bassists

    Left Hand Flexibility for Bassists

    When playing the bass, flexibility is far more important than strength. In fact, if body mechanics and gravity are used intelligently it takes surprisingly little strength to play our instrument. Flexibility, however, is paramount to many of the things we must do well. In the left hand (or fingering hand for the lefties!) it is... »

  • How to Improve Your Phrasing

    How to Improve Your Phrasing

    Q: I’m looking to make my phrasing more dynamic. What would you suggest? A: For this week’s column, I decided to make a little video to answer this question, and demonstrate what I do to work on my phrasing. Check it out: »

  • Dealing with Awkward Keys when Transposing on Bass

    Dealing with Awkward Keys when Transposing on Bass

    Q: I’ve been asked to play Billy Ocean’s “When The Going Gets Tough” transposed down to B, which is down in the murky depths of the B string, and I feel it takes away from the bass line. Going up an octave makes it seem thin. Any advice on how I could remedy this issue,... »

  • Isolating Your Right Hand: Exercises for Bassists

    Isolating Your Right Hand: Exercises for Bassists

    When confronted with a difficult passage that just isn’t getting any better, most of us will isolate the left hand to improve our accuracy. We may change from arco to pizzicato to isolate the left hand. We may “shadow bow” the passage. Perhaps we may finger the strings in the left hand alone, completely taking... »

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  • Singing and Playing: A How-To Guide for Independence for Bass Players

    Singing and Playing: A How-To Guide for Independence for Bass Players

    Q: I have great vocal chops, which I exercise frequently in my alter ego solo acoustic guitarist thing. I play bass in a blues/R&B band and have the best vocal talent in the band. But I can’t sing over a bass line to save my behind. Can this be learned? Any tips? A: Keep in... »

  • Developing Speed on the Bass: Take Your Time

    Developing Speed on the Bass: Take Your Time

    Q: I have been playing upright for about a year and wanted to know what I can do about developing speed. I mostly play jazz and at the college I go to it seems like everyone wants to play uptempo tunes (Charlie Parker, Rhythm Changes, etc.) I feel as though I’m falling behind trying to... »

  • More Forked Fingering Techniques: Using the Thumb

    More Forked Fingering Techniques: Using the Thumb

    Last time we talked about playing fourths across strings using two adjacent fingers, a concept sometimes called “forked fingering.” For example: We can, of course, use the same exact concept in the upper registers of the bass, or thumb position. For example: As mentioned before, this can be easier to execute effectively in the upper... »