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  • Right Hand Endurance for Bass Players

    Right Hand Endurance for Bass Players

    Q: I’d like to ask something about right hand endurance. I’m playing in two metal bands, so some of our songs are rather fast-paced (I play 95% of the time with a pick). When rehearsing, everything seems just okay – no problems. But when playing live, my right tends to get this irregular muscular tension,... »

  • Exploring Vertical Harmony in Bass Playing

    Exploring Vertical Harmony in Bass Playing

    Q: I have never studied an instrument aside from bass. In watching countless guitarists pick up my bass and rip out some cool lines (and the left hand of pianists), I’ve realized that I’ve never really found an effective way to internalize “vertical harmony”, and thus my lines lack coherence as a whole. How do... »

  • Best Strings for Two-Handed Tapping?

    Best Strings for Two-Handed Tapping?

    Q: I’m looking for the brightest sounding flatwound strings I can find. I play a highly modded ’66 Jazz 5-string with Barto pickups and have used round wound strings consistently since 1972… yes, that long. The sizes I always use are 45 65 85 105, and 125. I want to experiment with the two-handed chordal... »

  • Exploring Practice with Non-Standard Bass Tunings

    Exploring Practice with Non-Standard Bass Tunings

    Q: I know some pros play using non-standard tuning (drop D, DADG, D standard DGCF, semitone E♭A♭D♭G♭, etc.), and I read somewhere that practice with other tunings can be good to help think in terms of the notes rather than finger patterns. What is your take? Is it a good idea to practice using non-standard... »

  • Quickly Figuring Out Available Notes For Given Chord Types

    Quickly Figuring Out Available Notes For Given Chord Types

    Q: I’ve been trying to learn how to figure out what notes are available for any given chord type. I’ve read columns here (yours are very helpful), Googled it, bought books… I just seem to get more confused at every turn. Once I think I’ve got it, I’ve lost it. Do you have any quick... »

  • Learning Music: To Pursue a College Degree (Or Not)

    Learning Music: To Pursue a College Degree (Or Not)

    Q: What I want to know is this: by not pursuing a higher education in music (music college), what am I missing out on and what is most important to take away from that experience? A: Professionally speaking, a degree in music won’t do anything for you unless you are are shooting for a career... »

  • Reader Question Roundup: Legato Playing, Short Practice Schedules and Playing Complex Music

    Reader Question Roundup: Legato Playing, Short Practice Schedules and Playing Complex Music

    I’m sitting in my hotel room in Lincoln, Nebraska and sifting through my file with all the questions submitted by readers I have yet to answer. Three of them were short enough to put together a “reader question roundup”. I thought this would be a nice change of pace – and one that would allow... »

  • A Discussion on Slap Bass Tone and Technique

    A Discussion on Slap Bass Tone and Technique

    I get a an insurmountable number of emailed questions asking about slap tone and technique. While I have mentioned dozens of times in various columns that I never really explored the slap side of bass, I have fiddled with it enough, in addition to knowing quite a few fantastic slappers. I know how to get... »

  • Thinking In Modes or Scales and Constructing Bass Lines

    Thinking In Modes or Scales and Constructing Bass Lines

    Q: I’ve been trying to learn how to play over the changes, but I’m super confused about one particular aspect: I don’t know I should think of scales. For example when I’m playing over a G dominant chord, should I think G mixolydian or should I think fifth mode of the C major scale? In... »

  • Two-Handed Tapping and Developing Hand Independence for Bass Players

    Two-Handed Tapping and Developing Hand Independence for Bass Players

    Q: I have been practicing two-handed taping and can’t get independence between left and right hand. Specifically, I can’t play rhythm patterns with my fretting hand and independently play harmony with the plucking hand. Can you suggest some workout for this kind of problem? A: While I have very limited experience with two-handed tapping, I... »