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  • Dealing with Dead Spots on the Fretboard

    Dealing with Dead Spots on the Fretboard

    Q: I’ve played a Fender ’61 Anniversary Precision the last year or so. It sounds great and is very comfortable to play, but I have drama with the G note on the E string being noticeably “plonky” sounding. A slight truss rod adjustment clockwise moves this down a semi tone. I’m fearing a dead spot…... »

  • Classification of Three Types of Thumb Position on the Double Bass

    Classification of Three Types of Thumb Position on the Double Bass

    When we speak of thumb position on the bass we are referring to a left hand (l.h.) fingering system where the thumb is used to depress the string. The thumb is on top of the board (rather than behind the neck) and it presses the string down like any other finger. However, often telling someone... »

  • The Lightbulb Moment: It Takes One To Know One

    The Lightbulb Moment: It Takes One To Know One

    How do I play that bass line? Why do I have to use my pinky? Can’t we skip all the theory stuff? These are just some of the questions raised by a student in a recent lesson. Some of these are easy to answer… like the usefulness of the pinky finger (two heads are better... »

  • Playing Over Long Lasting Chords

    Playing Over Long Lasting Chords

    Q: I’ve been messing around with playing over the changes, but I always stumble upon an issue: chords lasting 2, 4, 8 or even 16 bars! I know there’s a ton of different ways to approach this, but I have problems with approaching chord tones. Things like enclosures, double chromatics, diatonic and chromatic approach notes.... »

  • Getting “Unstuck” from the Blues Scale

    Getting “Unstuck” from the Blues Scale

    Q: How do I get myself unstuck from using the blues scale? Whenever I solo in fingerstyle or slap, I can’t help but to be stuck on the blues scale. I want to move on from it. Also, when I’m doing slap, I stick to octaves, but I want to be able to do different... »

  • Thumb Position Below the Half Point of the String on Double Bass

    Thumb Position Below the Half Point of the String on Double Bass

    Although I sometimes use a 1-2-3-4 fingering technique below the half point of the string (12th fret, if we had frets), I often find a thumb position fingering to be more efficient, easier on the hand and, most importantly, more accurate. Of course, many bass players first learn thumb position starting at the half point... »

  • Bass Players to Know: Leroy Hodges

    Bass Players to Know: Leroy Hodges

    The Funk Brothers, the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, Booker T and The MGs — most of us have heard of these incredible studio groups. James Jamerson and Bob Babbit at Motown Studios, David Hood at Fame and Muscle Shoals Sound, and Duck Dunn at Stax… these session players (and their respective studio affiliations) have defined... »

  • Left Hand Exercises and Resources for Bass Players

    Left Hand Exercises and Resources for Bass Players

    Q: I live in Ethiopia and I am a 4th year bass student. I have some problems my left hand. Do you have advanced finger exercises? A: For this question, I’m going to point you to a variety of resources – here on No Treble, and across the web. There are a variety of stretching... »

  • Talent vs. Hard Work

    Talent vs. Hard Work

    Q: I have a question on talent. Here is some background first: three years ago, I took up learning electric guitar (aged 45) without any prior learning of music, instruments, etc. – truly from scratch. I took classes in a music school and practiced daily a half and hour to 2 hours every day. I... »

  • Some Thoughts on the 1-2-3-4 Fingering System for Double Bass

    Some Thoughts on the 1-2-3-4 Fingering System for Double Bass

    For as long as there have been bassists, there has been debate about what fingering system to use. While most players today use a three-finger technique (1-2-4, or the Italian 1-3-4) some suggest a four-finger technique, especially in the middle positions (i.e. between D and G on the G string). One of the main arguments... »