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  • The Lightbulb Moment: Turn Signals

    The Lightbulb Moment: Turn Signals

    Today’s column is brought to you by the Tennessee Department of Transportation. My usual route to and from downtown involves quite a bit of highway driving and every few days; the TDOT message boards provide a less-than-clever quote to inspire better driving habits. Apparently, plenty of drivers have been neglecting their turn signal, and the... »

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  • How Do I Stop Playing Ahead of the Beat?

    How Do I Stop Playing Ahead of the Beat?

    Q: I’m finding it really hard not to play ahead of the beat. I can play on the click with a metronome or other rhythm exercises, but when I put a playback, I’m starting the beat most of the time! It is something to do with too much thinking about the notes I’m playing. Also... »

  • Re-evaluating Your Technique

    Re-evaluating Your Technique

    Q: Do you ever re-evaluate your technique (posture, strap height, string height) or do you feel it’s just set? A: At this point, I feel like I am pretty well set-up and understand my physical relationship with my instrument. This, however, is because I spent much of my life experimenting and studying what others had... »

  • Bass Players To Know: Tommy Shannon

    Bass Players To Know: Tommy Shannon

    Austin, Texas, here we come! As the plane takes off, I think about everything that I want to experience on my short visit. Tacos, BBQ, and of course, blues. Austin has an incredible live music scene and, in addition to popular festivals such as SXSW and Austin City Limits, an equally impressive list of musicians... »

  • Getting It Perfect Vs. Practicing New Material

    Getting It Perfect Vs. Practicing New Material

    Q: I am finding it difficult to combine not practicing what I know and practicing for perfection. I practice fretless almost exclusively, and good intonation is a constant pursuit, including with something as conceptually simple as a major triad arpeggio. Add speed and the desire to play smoothly with controlled dynamics, and one can spend... »

  • Applying Licks from Transcriptions

    Applying Licks from Transcriptions

    Q: I consider myself as a good reader. I can sight read music both in bass and treble clef, and I like to challenge myself with complex etude like those on the Patitucci book or classical pieces. But every time I come across jazz studies, (bebop in particular), I struggle to understand what’s in the... »

  • The Lightbulb Moment: Substitutions

    The Lightbulb Moment: Substitutions

    For those of you who haven’t noticed, I enjoy learning about food almost as much as I enjoy exploring the bass. Lucky for me, there are plenty of parallels between the world of food and the world of music. Both rely on unique combinations of ingredients in order to make a final product. Both can... »

  • How to Practice Double Stops (with the Bow)

    How to Practice Double Stops (with the Bow)

    Double stops can present a major challenge for double bassists just being introduced to them, specifically in the arena of intonation. Finger spacing, shifting, and dropping and lifting of multiple fingers are all areas that can trip someone up. Below, using a famous passage from Edouard Nanny’s Concerto attributed to Dragonetti, are a few ways... »

  • Should I Cancel A Gig for a Better Opportunity?

    Should I Cancel A Gig for a Better Opportunity?

    Q: Have you ever been put into a situation where you have booked yourself for a gig in one place (even months in advance) but had a even greater opportunity come calling after? How have you handled bowing out of the prior engagement for a greater one? A: This is a tough but all-too-common quandary... »

  • Bass Players To Know: Sean Hurley

    Bass Players To Know: Sean Hurley

    There’s a lot to be said for bass players who know how to play a song. While it may seem like a simple thing, it takes a mature attitude and a keen ear to do so. Sure, soloing is fun, and many of us want to showcase our slap technique, but exhibiting those skills doesn’t... »