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  • Finding A Quality Luthier

    Finding A Quality Luthier

    Q: How does one go about finding a quality luthier for the bass? We all have heard, “I know this guy…” Yet, how do you know if they are “your guy” too? I can do complete basic set-ups on my own instruments: truss adjustments, bridge/saddle adjustments, intonation, and other general maintenance, etc. Yet when I... »

  • Fighting The Urge To Improvise

    Fighting The Urge To Improvise

    Q: I’ve been a bassist for 14 years now, when I started out (much like everyone, I assume) I played what we know as “bass lines”, the notes that the bassist played on the recording to the song. As I developed and learned more about chord construction and harmony I started to understand how these... »

  • Staying Motivated Without Playing Opportunities

    Staying Motivated Without Playing Opportunities

    Q: I read your column for years, but I don’t know if you have answered this already: I have been playing bass for many years and, due to circumstances beyond my control, I cannot find people in my hometown to play (long story, small Greek city). I am taking some jazz theory lessons (via Skype),... »

  • Playing Etiquette While Subbing

    Playing Etiquette While Subbing

    Q: While I am stoked that I have been asked, I am a wee bit apprehensive. I have been asked to be a substitute bassist for a classic rock cover and original band by the band leader. My current gig is as a bassist in a trio which plays punk and alternative originals. The slight... »

  • Incorporating What We Practice

    Incorporating What We Practice

    Q: In your opinion, how does what we work on when practicing make it’s way into our playing? I’ve been thinking about the best ways to incorporate what I shed into my “vocabulary.” A: There are as many ways to incorporate what we practice into our actual musical vocabulary as there are ways to absorb... »

  • What To Practice When You Don’t Have Gigs

    What To Practice When You Don’t Have Gigs

    Q: My question to you is this: what do you do when you’re not playing with a group and have no gigs on the horizon, particularly what to practice? Without a set of songs or even a style to give the context of what the bass should be playing, I find myself grasping for inspiration... »

  • Dealing with Feeling Overwhelmed

    Dealing with Feeling Overwhelmed

    Q: How do you deal with feeling overwhelmed with everything you want to/feel you should be working on? A: I’ve written a column in the past relating to how to maximize your work flow and time management. I thought that I’d take a bit of a different approach this time, although I would encourage you... »

  • Recording Audio and Video

    Recording Audio and Video

    Q: I want to record audio/video simultaneously that I can easily post to social media. I’d want the range to go from solo bass pieces or pedal reviews recorded at home to live coffeehouse/house party “warts and all” mono live duo/trio recordings. I’d want to use two cameras for close-ups on the solo pieces/demos and... »

  • What Should I Play At Soundcheck?

    What Should I Play At Soundcheck?

    Q: What should I play at soundcheck? I always feel like I should be impressive or something when the sound tech says “okay, let’s hear the bass,” But maybe just pulsing on the open E string is enough? What’s your soundcheck agenda? A: This is the perfect opportunity for me to: a) make a suggestion... »

  • Finding the Groove Vs. Letting the Groove Find You

    Finding the Groove Vs. Letting the Groove Find You

    Q: When making music, i.e. improvising, making a song, creating a groove, etc., I find myself sometimes approaching it from what I hear while fiddling around, and at other times approaching it more cerebral, as in “let’s create a groove that has a flat nine in it.” I like to call these the bottom up... »