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  • Playing Bass… Fast

    Playing Bass… Fast

    At some point most bassists want be able to play “fast.” The question that usually arises is obvious: “How?” The most common barriers to being able play quickly on upright bass are: Poor bass setup Inefficient technique. (Too much tension, etc.) Lack of stamina Lack of familiarity with the passage, tune, line, etc. (Trying to... »

  • How to Build Muscle Memory: A List for Bass Players

    How to Build Muscle Memory: A List for Bass Players

    Q: I hear everybody talking about “muscle memory”, i.e. being able to play without looking at the fingerboard. How do you get there? Any special advice or exercises, especially for fretless? A: Muscle memory is crucial to your development as a player. I also consider the ability to use harmonic devices (like substations and different... »

  • Spend Money to Make Money: A Discussion for Bass Players

    Spend Money to Make Money: A Discussion for Bass Players

    Yes, that’s right, the words of my college accounting professor ring true to this day. You need to spend money to make money. While we often think of this term in reference to the boring section of the local paper or as the guiding principle behind buying lemons to sell lemonade, it’s impossible to think... »

  • Focused Learning: A Bass Player’s Guide to Practice and Rehearsals

    Focused Learning: A Bass Player’s Guide to Practice and Rehearsals

    Q: I’d like your advice on what a bassist should be thinking during a practice session or when learning new material? What do you think about during those times? What should I be thinking? A: This question struck me as interesting. Primarily, I think it’s because it relates to a conversation I recently had with... »

  • Self Expression: Thoughts and Discussion for Bass Players

    Self Expression: Thoughts and Discussion for Bass Players

    Q: Most pros say that playing with other musicians is one of the most important things a bassist can do. After practicing alone for a few years, I’ve returned to the band setting. I love gigging and I love band practice, but I find myself playing very conservatively. In no way am I trying to... »

  • Makers of the Melody: Part 3 – Time to Take that Solo

    Makers of the Melody: Part 3 – Time to Take that Solo

    It’s official. You’ve been given the nod from the guitar player and called out by the vocalist… time for a solo. Against your better judgment, you accept and try to switch your thinking from root notes and walking to playing the lead, expressing your thoughts, and showing off your musicality. You’re stepping out of your... »

  • On Stage Monitor Mix Advice for Bass Players

    On Stage Monitor Mix Advice for Bass Players

    Q: I play on a weekly gig and I use in-ear monitors. Things sound fine during sound check, but I don’t realize I need something until I’m lost in the middle of a song and find myself unable to find the keys or guitar in my monitor. This happens fairly regularly. I’ve even had most... »

  • Single String Shifting Exercise

    Single String Shifting Exercise

    Single string shifting exercises are great for teaching us the geography of the fingerboard. Not to mention the help they provide in solidifying pitch accuracy and bow control. As a result, variations of the exercise given below have likely been in existence since the first human put first put bow to string. Edouard Nanny has... »

  • Discovering the Right Practice Routine

    Discovering the Right Practice Routine

    Q: Some people stand strongly by the notion of having a true practice routine while others claim that routines stunt growth, because the same thing is being practiced each day (e.g. scale modes in broken thirds with such-and-such technique striving for X bpm). Will you please elaborate on what a routine is and how to... »

  • Makers of the Melody: Part 2 – Soloing

    Makers of the Melody: Part 2 – Soloing

    Bass solo! Bass solo! The bandleader points his finger at you, giving you the okay and hushing the rest of the band. Great. Now what? We’re not the guitar player… we haven’t worked on Hendrix licks or memorizing the solo section to “Freebird”. We can’t just crank up the distortion or create mesmerizing soundscapes with... »