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  • Deciding if the Gig is Worth It

    Deciding if the Gig is Worth It

    Photo by Chris Smart Q: I auditioned last night for a seventeen year old up-and-coming female country star. She has recorded an album with well known Nashville producer and has hits with a few her songs. I feel it is just a matter of time before she is signed to a major deal. She has… »

  • Musical Diplomacy: Bassists, Drummers and Locking In

    Musical Diplomacy: Bassists, Drummers and Locking In

    Photo by Jens Wessling Q: I'm having trouble grooving with the drummer in my band. My bread and butter is hip-hop and R&B, and he is coming from the world of straight-ahead jazz. We play in a very backbeat-oriented group, and the only time there is ever a pocket is if I put him in… »

  • Articulations and Expression: A Bass Video Lesson

    Articulations and Expression: A Bass Video Lesson

    Q: I’m at a point where I’m trying to finally get into soloing, and playing bass as a vocal, expressive instrument. But I'm running into a wall. Any chance you’d be down to do a quick video on articulations? As in, the slick slides you use, the fantastic trills, expressions and so on. And blue… »

  • Saving Your Ears: A Discussion for Gigging Bass Players

    Saving Your Ears: A Discussion for Gigging Bass Players

    Photo by Charles Kaiser Q: I regularly gig in a blues-rock power trio, and I have to solo over one or two tunes. Every time, the lead guitarist asks me to crank up the volume because he plays at a really high volume... too loud in my humble opinion. I don't want to crank up… »

  • Replacing Lead Guitar with Piccolo Bass?

    Replacing Lead Guitar with Piccolo Bass?

    Photo of Zander Zon, the man who defines piccolo bass for us. Q: I am a high school musician in a relativly serious band with my friends, and we are about to make the transition into college. Unfortunately, our fantastic lead guitarist is going away for college, so rather than find a new lead guitarist,… »

  • Playing Bass without Sheet Music: Time, Feel & Harmony

    Playing Bass without Sheet Music: Time, Feel & Harmony

    Photo by Gwen the Monster Q: I’ve been playing bass for about 7 years. Before bass I was a very good tuba player and a halfway decent cellist. My problem is I never learned to play without music notation. I can’t even play tabs. I either need the notation or the chord progression. What’s the… »

  • Playing Under Pressure and Facing Your Fears

    Playing Under Pressure and Facing Your Fears

    Photo by Dominik Gwarek Q: I've been playing electric bass for about five years, and I’m currently attending the third year in a Music Conservatory. When I play music while other musicians observe me (not the members of the band), I become quite uncomfortable. I feel judged, and my heart starts pounding, especially if it’s… »

  • Connecting Chords: A Guide to Playing Fluid Bass Lines

    Connecting Chords: A Guide to Playing Fluid Bass Lines

    Q: I would like to ask about voicing/phrases on bass when it comes to chord progressions. How should I step into the next chord when I'm phrasing the actual one? Should I try walking lines? Are there any standard licks that can bring the feel of translating to a next chord? Or they are all… »

  • Getting the Most Out of Music Books

    Getting the Most Out of Music Books

    Q: Do you think you could run through / give some examples of how to make use of rhythm books like Modern Reading Text In 4/4, and theory books like Jazz Theory by Mark Levine or Thesaurus of Scales and Melodic Patterns by Nicolas Slominsky? A: Nice selection of books! Generally speaking, my approach is… »

  • Building Confidence: Thoughts for Bass Players

    Building Confidence: Thoughts for Bass Players

    Photo by Gonzalo G. Useta Q: I’m a 16 year old bassist from England, and I've been playing for around three years. Ive been told I am very good for my age but I struggle with my confidence sometimes. One day I want to be as good as yourself or people like Janek Gwizdala, Marcus… »