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  • 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... »

  • 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... »

  • What Scales Do I Use Over a Minor ii-V Progression?

    What Scales Do I Use Over a Minor ii-V Progression?

    Q: I have a question about minor ii-V’s. In a major ii-V7-I progression, each chord is diatonic to the I chord. The ii chord is Dorian, the V chord is Mixolydian and it resolves to a Major tonic. In a minor ii-V, the 1 would be natural minor, which makes the ii chord Locrian (7th... »

  • Should I Quit the Bass? A Discussion on Burn Out (and More)

    Should I Quit the Bass? A Discussion on Burn Out (and More)

    Q: I’m a semi-pro bassist of 15 years and have been playing for about 25 now, I’ve been with my current band for nearly six years and are about to release our second album. For the past two years, I’ve not been very happy playing, and it is a real conflict because of how much... »

  • Learning the Fretboard Without Getting Bored

    Learning the Fretboard Without Getting Bored

    Q: I’m wondering how to develop an expanded knowledge of the fingerboard without falling into a rut. I have been working on “Straight, No Chaser” for a couple of months. I know I should bifurcate my practice time to learn tunes I like and add melodic and technical ideas to my “bag of tricks.” However,... »

  • Going Wireless: What to Look for in a Wireless System

    Going Wireless: What to Look for in a Wireless System

    Q: Every so often, I get a question and have no experience with the subject matter. Rather than ignoring it, I like to get someone else involved who can answer it better than I could. Case in point: I received a question some months ago asking about wireless systems and for suggestions as to what... »

  • Serious Play and the Bass Solo

    Serious Play and the Bass Solo

    A good friend of mine came to a gig I had recently in Seattle. Jeremy Sherman lives in San Francisco and our relationship began as one of student and teacher (he would fly to Portland on occasion to take a few lessons from me and hang out for a weekend) and we soon became friends... »

  • Ask Damian: More Album Recommendations

    Ask Damian: More Album Recommendations

    Q: I really dug the last column about albums to check out, if you want to get into jazz. I found a ton of great stuff that I actually liked in there! Do you have any more suggestions that extend beyond the jazz genre? A: Thanks! I’m glad that you discovered some new music. That’s... »

  • Album Suggestions for Getting Into Jazz

    Album Suggestions for Getting Into Jazz

    Q: Do you have any suggestions for what albums I might check out if I wanted to get into jazz? I’ve, of course, heard bits and pieces of things before flipping through radio stations, in restaurants, etc., but nothing ever really grabbed me. What should I check out that might ignite the interest? A: Alright,... »