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  • Bass in Death Metal?

    Bass in Death Metal?

    Q: What is your opinion of the role of bass in both Death Metal and Black Metal? I’m a big fan of both styles and have tried to work out by ear, exactly what the bass is doing, but within these styles, the bass is very seldom heard. In a situation like this, what’s the... »

  • Learning Music by Writing Down Your Transcriptions

    Learning Music by Writing Down Your Transcriptions

    Q: I have been practicing bass on my own for two years while attending college. My goal is to become a working musician and I would like to at least get a gig at a church this year. I’m at a point now where I can hear a piece of music and get pretty close... »

  • Multiple Basses or Just One? A Discussion for Working Bass Players

    Multiple Basses or Just One? A Discussion for Working Bass Players

    Q: I’m a fairly busy bass player working with five or six different bands ranging from funk to soul to hip-hop/neo-soul to jazz to disco to metal and a few function bands which encompass just about everything else! For the last four years, I’ve mainly used one sound (neck pickup, flatwound strings) on one bass... »

  • Playing without a Chordal Instrument

    Playing without a Chordal Instrument

    Q: I was curious about your approach to playing jazz without a piano player or guitarist. I lead a secret, soon to be a quintet because our piano player is moving away. I respect the kind of stuff presented by Charlie Haden in his work with Ornette Coleman, but aside from the free really “out... »

  • Adding Some New School Playing to an Old School Bassist

    Adding Some New School Playing to an Old School Bassist

    Q: I’ve been playing a certain way or style (as in thump, pop or blues) for as long as I can remember. Today’s bass players tend to play a lot – it seems way busier. What do you recommend for an old school bassist who wants to update to today’s styles so it sticks? A:... »

  • Turning Exercises into Real Music

    Turning Exercises into Real Music

    Q: I’ve been studying for a while now, and I’ve been practicing my scales and modes as much as possible over changes. I’ve also been working through arpeggios, including the methods you talk about in your Improvisor’s Path book. For example, I’ll work arpeggios through tunes in different inversions and so on. However, when I... »

  • Practicing vs. Performing for Musical Growth

    Practicing vs. Performing for Musical Growth

    Q: I’ve been playing the bass in a blues band for two years. Then we started playing rock and funk songs, and my practicing has always been based on what I hear and what I feel. I don’t really count in my head, and I’ve hardly worked my scales but my band keeps telling me... »

  • Increasing Concentration for Focused Practice and Performance

    Increasing Concentration for Focused Practice and Performance

    Q: I play at a semi-professional level. I work a regular 9-to 5-job and play in the evenings. I am lucky enough that I get a few hours every evening to just shed and work on my playing and lately I’ve been doing a lot of classical etudes to work on technique and maintain my... »

  • Learning Music: A Discussion on Bass Tab, Notation and Ears

    Learning Music: A Discussion on Bass Tab, Notation and Ears

    Q: I have been interested in music all my life, but never played an instrument. Now that I’m retired, I have taken up playing the bass for the last six months from an instructor. I started out learning the notes on the bass itself and one song using notes. But since then, all of my... »

  • Creating Tasteful Bass Lines

    Creating Tasteful Bass Lines

    Q: I’d like to know what your thoughts are on the subtle art of variation within bass lines; the where’s and whys, and indeed, the where nots and the why nots. I believe that this kind of understanding is one of the key factors separating good bass players from great ones. I know for myself,... »