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  • Staying Creative While Practicing

    Staying Creative While Practicing

    Q: So I reach a point now and again where I feel like I’m not practicing musically or in a creative way. Instead, I seem to be practicing things that are useful (technique, location of notes on the fretboard, arpeggios, inversions, and scales) but the way I’m going about it feels rote and not much... »

  • The Lightbulb Moment: Rehearsal — Treat It Like A Gig

    The Lightbulb Moment: Rehearsal — Treat It Like A Gig

    Your phone lights up with a text message about a gig next Saturday night… score! You’re available, the money is decent, and your drummer friend recommended you. It’s an overall win! You accept the gig and receive a follow up text: “Let’s rehearse Tuesday night.” Thankfully, you’re free, but you realize that you only have... »

  • Should I Learn Older Music To Understand Newer Music?

    Should I Learn Older Music To Understand Newer Music?

    Q: I struggled with asking if I HAVE to learn trad jazz or if I SHOULD learn it, so take this question as both. And just as a disclaimer, I’m using “trad jazz” to mean the standards and the jazz being played predominantly from the ’20s to the ’60s and the styles that encompassed. I’ve... »

  • How High Should I Set My Bass Strings?

    How High Should I Set My Bass Strings?

    Q: What’s your take on string height? For over a decade, I’ve subscribed to Anthony Jackson’s view that the neck must be as flat/straight as possible and the strings as low as possible. And while I’ve spent as much time refining a light touch, I sometimes wonder if I’m spending too much time worrying about... »

  • Bass Players To Know: Red Callender

    Bass Players To Know: Red Callender

    Diving into the deep end of the LA session pool, there are plenty of bassists (in addition to those in “The Wrecking Crew”) who have achieved successful and eclectic recording careers. Without a doubt, Red Callender is one of them. With an extensive background in jazz as both an upright bassist and tuba player, he... »

  • Should I Go Active? A Discussion for Bass Players

    Should I Go Active? A Discussion for Bass Players

    Q: I’m once again considering using active electronics on my bass, a pre-amp of some kind. It is still a bit of a debate I notice amongst bass players. Some say it’s “colder,” some say it’s difficult to work with, especially on stage. I even had stories from sound engineers who are not too keen... »

  • Preparing for Multiple Gigs

    Preparing for Multiple Gigs

    Q: What advice do you have for making time for all the different gigs that you have to prepare for? I freelance with more than 20 different groups ranging from standards on the upright, to a wedding band (lots of pop soul tunes to learn accurately), to original music and sometimes orchestral reading concerts. It’s... »

  • On the Road with Peat Rains from You Bred Raptors?: Part 4

    On the Road with Peat Rains from You Bred Raptors?: Part 4

    Part 4 – Tallahassee/Atlanta/Chattanooga/Charlotte/Louisa Tallahassee, FL – The Wilbury Our original tour routing didn’t include Florida. But like the songs we play, the original concept greatly varies from the final product. We had heard so many mixed reports of touring in Mississippi and Alabama from other musicians, as well as some close comedian friends. Half... »

  • The Lightbulb Moment: Touch Of Gray

    The Lightbulb Moment: Touch Of Gray

    Cauliflower, that kind-of-like-broccoli-but-perhaps-less-exciting vegetable, was completely absent from my childhood. I honestly didn’t know what it was, other than something my mother breezed over in the produce section of the super market. She was not a fan of the baby-tree-like vegetables and therefore, it was often excluded from the communal veggie tray at parties and... »

  • Getting Your Students to Practice

    Getting Your Students to Practice

    Q: I’m a semi-professional bassist who has been taking more students lately. I find that it’s a good way to challenge myself, maybe help somebody along in their path, and it’s a nice way to make a little extra bread. I’ve been struggling lately, though. It seems that most of my students are attentive during... »