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  • Should I Play French or German Bow?

    Should I Play French or German Bow?

    Q: I’m just starting out and I can’t figure out if I should play French or German bow? – Marisol G. A: One of the seemingly most controversial, yet entirely manufactured non-controversies among double bass players is whether one should play using an overhand (aka “French”) bow or an underhand (aka “German”) bow. Note: “German”... »

  • Bass Players to Know: Bob Cranshaw

    Bass Players to Know: Bob Cranshaw

    One of my favorite pastimes is reading album credits. Who played on that song? This guy did the whole record! They were also the backing band for those guys! It’s music trivia galore and these discoveries are sweet little surprises that build the timeline of music history. It’s often fun to play guessing games, to... »

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  • 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.... »

  • Dealing with Stamina Issues on Bass

    Dealing with Stamina Issues on Bass

    Q: I’ve been playing upright for the past few months, and I’m having some stamina problems in my left hand. Someone said that maybe the neck is too thick. Do you think having the neck thinned out would help with my stamina? Thanks! – Marian A: It’s great to hear you are playing upright bass... »

  • The Lightbulb Moment: Support Your Local Economy, Part 2

    The Lightbulb Moment: Support Your Local Economy, Part 2

    I remember the day that I got my first bass. Months of daydreaming culminated in a trip to Medley Music, a local music store just outside of Philadelphia. I knew that place well. It was a few blocks down the street from an ice cream parlor, a movie theater, restaurants, and various businesses. A frequent... »

  • 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... »

  • Maximizing Resonance with the Bow

    Maximizing Resonance with the Bow

    If you play the bass long enough you’ll hear someone talking about making a “resonant” sound. When we are searching for a resonant sound we are attempting to create an unrestricted sound, one with some “depth,” where the strings and the bass itself both vibrate freely. Obviously, some basses vibrate more easily than others. These... »

  • Bass Players To Know: Norbert Putnam

    Bass Players To Know: Norbert Putnam

    There’s something special about overturning the rocks of musical history and revealing the identity of a bass player to know. It’s a treasured moment of discovery, a series of lines connecting the dots, and a great reason to be inspired by our instrument and those who have played it best. This Bass Players to Know... »