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  • Gigging Without a Car: A Discussion on Gear

    Gigging Without a Car: A Discussion on Gear

    Q: Since I don’t own a car anymore, I was thinking about changing my gear to better fit my new way of moving around (public transportation). Do you have any suggestion about ways to reduce the amount of stock I need to move around while keeping a good sound on stage? A: I think that... »

  • Finding the Right Tone Setting For Slap Bass

    Finding the Right Tone Setting For Slap Bass

    Q: I have seen a lot of Slap Pop tutorials, but none of them cover which pick up on the bass to use or tonal settings on the bass or amp. I am still working on proper striking technique, but I am wondering if part of getting the proper sound might be that I am... »

  • Choosing the Right Bass Strings

    Choosing the Right Bass Strings

    Q: I’m making a custom 5 stringer tuned from E to C. It’s a 34 inch scale and the string spacing are 18mm. What strings are recommended, and what gauge are preferred to get both tighter E and a great high C? I’m used to nickel medium gauge. My luthier promised me it wouldn’t have... »

  • Making the Switch from 4- to 5-String Bass

    Making the Switch from 4- to 5-String Bass

    Q: I have recently made the move from 4-string to 5-string bass. I love the extended range (my bass is tuned E-C), but I’m finding I need to add more practice time to accommodate the additional string. There were exercises that I played on 4 strings and I am now expanding that to include the... »

  • Motivation for Practicing

    Motivation for Practicing

    Q: I have days where I feel like I’m the worst player on the planet, and I have no drive to practice even though I should be. Do you have any tips for practicing/motivation on off-days? A: I’ve written about this in one form or another in past columns. I’ve often recommended finding something (that... »

  • Writing Bass Lines in Odd Time Signatures

    Writing Bass Lines in Odd Time Signatures

    Q: I have been playing bass for a while now and have recently started a jazz-fusion project where we are creating original material. At our last rehearsal, I was handed a lead sheet for a song written in 5/4. The member then explained that the song wasn’t in two three or three two, but in... »

  • Dealing With Songs That Go Beyond Your Last Fret

    Dealing With Songs That Go Beyond Your Last Fret

    Q: I have a student entering his final year of secondary education. He has just purchased a 5-string Fender Jazz Bass. He is focusing on two handed tapping for his music subject. My worry… much of the music we have accessed (“Overjoyed”, “Rock and Roll” Bass Solo, etc.) requires between 21 and 24 frets according... »

  • Making Transcribing Easier

    Making Transcribing Easier

    Q: I have no real problem (anymore) performing publicly with groups/bands, with taking a solo, or with people overhearing me practice (though of course I try to be considerate). But I have an anxiety around transcribing that feels almost like stage fright, and I can’t quite get myself to incorporate it into my daily practice... »

  • Where to Use Whole Tone and Other Scales

    Where to Use Whole Tone and Other Scales

    Q: So, do you play whole tone scales over the ♯5, and altered scales over the dominant chords. Major chords – do use use whole tone? Minor scales – do use use dorian? or a jazz minor? A: Much of what goes into deciding what scale to use over any given chord is all about... »

  • Learning to Jam

    Learning to Jam

    Q: Okay, I am an old rookie bass player. I always wanted to play, but I just took a long time to get started. I am playing with the praise band at my church currently, which is great; it’s making me take it seriously, and is a very forgiving environment as I learn. So far,... »