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  • Soloing When The Band Drops Out

    Soloing When The Band Drops Out

    Q: I’ve been reading through your No Treble columns and had a question pop into my head. I’ve been asked to play more solos recently at a lot of different gigs from jazz to R&B. I find that half (or more) of the time, when it comes to the bass solo, everyone stops playing except... »

  • Some Thoughts on Playing at Fast Tempi

    Some Thoughts on Playing at Fast Tempi

    At some point, someone at the gig is going to call a tune at breakneck speed. Trying to keep solid time at a blistering pace can be physically and mentally exhausting for a bassist. We might drag, or miss a change. We can help mitigate these issues by applying a few ideas when playing an... »

  • Bass Players To Know: Chris Wolstenholme

    Bass Players To Know: Chris Wolstenholme

    Again spotlighting the anchor of a power trio, this Bass Players To Know features Chris Wolstenholme, bassist for Muse. Since the mid-90’s, Muse has released innovative and intelligent music that continues to push the boundaries of rock. Their larger-than-life stage presence, persistence in the industry, and brilliant multi-instrumentalism continues to result in hit records and... »

  • Could I Work as a Transcriptionist?

    Could I Work as a Transcriptionist?

    Q: I have a question and was wondering if you could point me in the right direction. Lately I’ve been thinking about a career change. Quick background: I graduated from Missouri State University two and a half years ago with a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing. I’m not happy at my current job, and a part... »

  • String Gauge vs. Speed

    String Gauge vs. Speed

    Q: I had a major breakthrough in part inspired by our visit. For the first time in years I’m playing normal, not light strings. I guess I thought all the pro virtuosos used G=40 strings. Victor does I think. Anyway when I stopped feeling like that was my path I tried the stiffer strings and... »

  • Why Memorize Music?

    Why Memorize Music?

    Some musical situations all but require the use of printed music. For example, larger ensembles, such as a Jazz Big Band or a Symphony Orchestra, universally use printed music. This is primarily due to the complexity of the compositions/arrangements, the short rehearsal time for each work, the sometimes-enormous length of the works, etc. However, in... »

  • The Lightbulb Moment: Studio Tones

    The Lightbulb Moment: Studio Tones

    For most musicians, walking into a professional recording studio is like setting foot in Disneyland. There are so many colors, so many shiny microphones, so many synthesizers! You want to touch everything, including those knobs on the console that are so perfectly aligned. The faint scent of aged wood, treated walls, and ghostly vibrations transport... »

  • Reading Complex Rhythms

    Reading Complex Rhythms

    Q: I’ve only been playing bass about 1.5 years – still a newbie trying to learn the tricks of the trade. I mostly learn a song and play basic, but as of late, I’ve been learning to read. I’m not fluent in reading, but that’s not my problem. My problem is trying to play the... »

  • Jam Session Etiquette

    Jam Session Etiquette

    Q: I have never been to a random, strangers-in-the-night jazz jam as a bass player and a lot of jams tend to have their set bass player (ahem – often the organizer of said jam – ahem). What’s the etiquette if you just want to walk a few tunes with everybody? A: First of all,... »

  • Working with Printed Transcriptions

    Working with Printed Transcriptions

    Studying transcriptions of masterful performances can provide a wealth of learning material for a musician. Musically speaking, we will gain the most by completing our own transcriptions, entirely by ear, of course. However, there is still a great deal to be gained by working from published transcriptions by other musicians, provided we approach them in... »