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  • Preparing for a College Bass Audition

    Preparing for a College Bass Audition

    Q: I am thinking about entering a music program when I get to college. How should I prepare for playing bass in a college program? What will I need to know? How good do I need to be? A: Whenever I speak with younger players getting ready to enter a collegiate music program, my first... »

  • What Makes a Good Bassist?

    What Makes a Good Bassist?

    Q: I was wondering what – in your opinion – makes a good bassist? A: This will be the most subjective article I’ve ever written, most likely, and I imagine that many of you will have a different view by one degree or another. There are many valid view points to be shared. I think... »

  • Thinking Fast When Improvising

    Thinking Fast When Improvising

    Q: I have been practicing with some jazz musicians who are more experienced than I am. For the most part, everything is fine, but I’m having trouble keeping up with the more up tempo numbers – walking and especially soloing. I just feel like my brain and fingers can’t keep up with the music. How... »

  • Defining “Practice”: A Discussion for Bass Players

    Defining “Practice”: A Discussion for Bass Players

    Q: How do you define “practice”? I’m curious because a friend asked me how I practice, and I said that I just play a lot and wasn’t sure how to answer the question. He said that “there’s a difference between playing and practicing”. Do you agree with that? A: My quick answer is yes, I... »

  • Learning Lots of Songs Quickly

    Learning Lots of Songs Quickly

    Q: I have a dep gig in 5 days and need to learn 23 songs. Any tips? I’m quite a good reader and have all the songs transcribed so I can probably read the music as I play but it’s for a rock gig and wouldn’t look particularly cool. A: For those who don’t know... »

  • Getting the Most Out of Your Bass

    Getting the Most Out of Your Bass

    Q: I use a Fender American Standard Jazz bass and have Labella Flats on it. It’s a great bass, but not suitable for the type of genres that I play. I am seeking for a fatter and tighter sound, as deep as possible but with a lot of clarity. I have been looking into different... »

  • Arranging for a Band

    Arranging for a Band

    Q: Admittedly, this is not a bass specific question, but I am curious to know your thoughts on arranging standards and original tunes for a jazz quintet consisting of trombone, alto sax, drums, guitar, and upright/electric bass. I’ve written 15 or so tunes for the band, and we play some standards (“Satin Doll”, “Ornithology”, “A... »

  • How To Transition to Pro Level?

    How To Transition to Pro Level?

    Q: My question is this: how did you transition to a pro level and play concerts vs. playing bars and functions? I have been playing for quite a few years and have played with some very good musicians out of Berklee and local players, but I always dream of stepping up to the next level.... »

  • Making Walking Bass Lines Come Naturally

    Making Walking Bass Lines Come Naturally

    Q: I would like to ask you about improvising bass lines. Could it be unconscious? I recognized that when I play walking bass, I’m always think about how to reach the next chord. I sometimes have great ideas that I hear in my mind’s ear, but most of the time it’s a really conscious procedure.... »

  • 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... »