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  • Making Arpeggios Musical

    Making Arpeggios Musical

    Q: I know how to outline chords but how do you play them so they don’t sound mechanical or like an exercise? Any particular patterns that you like when approaching a chord? Thanks bud for all of your hard work! A: I’ve written quite a bit about playing arpeggios and inversions through changes (using the... »

  • On Harmony

    On Harmony

    I spend quite a bit of time traveling both within the U.S. and abroad. As of this moment, I have been on a month-long trip that has brought me through Canada, Italy, Denmark, Norway, Cyprus, and I’m currently in Lebanon. Before this trip, I was in Hong Kong. In a few months, I’ll be in... »

  • Promoting Yourself as a Bassist

    Promoting Yourself as a Bassist

    Q: I’m currently playing for a punk band that has pretty good local success in that genre, however, having done this for a while I know no band lasts forever and I would like to aim higher. I would also like to get my name out as a bassist available for side projects, lessons, etc.... »

  • Solving Finger Pain To Continue Practicing

    Solving Finger Pain To Continue Practicing

    Q: As a bass player, having practiced all day until one’s fingernails are aching, what is the solution for a quick pain relief so I can continue to practice the next day, without skipping a day? A: While I can’t imagine what kind of practice makes your fingernails hurt (double thumb workouts?), I do have... »

  • 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... »

  • 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... »

  • 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,... »

  • How To Come Up With New Groove Ideas

    How To Come Up With New Groove Ideas

    Q: Do you have any tips for how to come up with new groove ideas? A: I spent quite a few years doing what I call “fishing”. What I mean by that is, aimlessly using different notes and rhythms hoping to stumble upon something interesting (This is especially true with my soloing back in the... »