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  • Intonation or Feel? Practicing Scales Purposefully

    Intonation or Feel? Practicing Scales Purposefully

    Q: I was wondering what I need to pay attention to when practicing. It’s easy to learn a scale, or to play chord tones, but what should I really pay attention to hearing more? Should that be a focus on the tones, or the difference in intonation or the “feel” between them? A: The short... »

  • Getting Back in the Practice Room: Regaining Inspiration

    Getting Back in the Practice Room: Regaining Inspiration

    Everyone who stays at this music thing for a time will likely find themselves lacking in motivation at some point or another. If practicing has become a chore, or if you can’t even bring yourself to pick up the instrument, perhaps some of these strategies might bring some fire back into your musical life. Take... »

  • Bass Players to Know: Gail Ann Dorsey

    Bass Players to Know: Gail Ann Dorsey

    To quote one of my favorite musical guilty pleasures, it’s time to throw a little girl power into the mix. As a stellar vocalist and compelling player, Gail has had a reputable solo career and has recorded and toured with artists including David Bowie, Tears for Fears, Lenny Kravitz, Dar Williams, The Indigo Girls, and... »

  • Effects: Straight In or Through the Loop?

    Effects: Straight In or Through the Loop?

    Q: Is it ok to plug my bass directly into my chain of effects pedals and out to my amp, or is it better to run the pedals through the effects loop, and plug my bass straight into my amp? A: I seem to be on a roll with the topics I have limited experience... »

  • Maintaining Your Tone Between Fingerstyle and Slap

    Maintaining Your Tone Between Fingerstyle and Slap

    Q: Most of the time, I play fingerstyle, but sometimes in the middle of some songs, I change to slap-style. In those situations, I find I just don’t have enough punch to come through. I don’t think that’s a matter of technique or strength. What do you suggest? Do I need a gearbox to augment... »

  • Starting Back Up on Bass After a Long Break

    Starting Back Up on Bass After a Long Break

    Even those of us who maintain a regular practice routine may find ourselves taking an extended period of time away from our instrument. Vacations, travel, illness, work, incarceration, etc. can keep even the most dedicated musician away from their instrument. With an instrument as physically demanding as the double bass, we would be wise to... »

  • Bass Players to Know: Oteil Burbridge

    Bass Players to Know: Oteil Burbridge

    Each time I embark on a new column, I find myself humbled and overwhelmed by the talent and contributions of the chosen “Bass Player to Know.” There’s no doubt in my mind that I’ll discover new music, recognize the birth of different styles, and become more in tune with the virtuosity of the player. As... »

  • Achieving Rock Solid Time on Bass

    Achieving Rock Solid Time on Bass

    Q: I was wondering if you could touch on the topic of time, the most important part of being a bassist. Are there ways to get rock solid time anywhere from 60 bpm to 300 bpm other than just playing with a metronome? If so what do you suggest? A: Aside from my usual answers:... »

  • Fingernail Care: A Discussion for Bass Players

    Fingernail Care: A Discussion for Bass Players

    Q: As I’m getting pretty deeply into a right hand technique using a ramp, light touch, etc… I’d like to hear your thoughts on fingernail care, particularly for your plucking hand. I keep mine pretty short (it’s hard to open canned drinks), and I’m guessing yours might be similar. Also wondering if you so anything... »

  • How Much Should I Practice?

    How Much Should I Practice?

    This is a question I get often from both serious students and amateurs alike. Since the answer depends on a person’s goals, and every person is unique, there is no single answer for everyone. However, I can make some general suggestions. My suggestions will presuppose a few things: You practice on a regular basis Daily,... »