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  • Truly Listening: Playing Bass with Impaired Hearing

    Truly Listening: Playing Bass with Impaired Hearing

    Q: I’m an intermediate level hearing-impaired bassist who cannot identify notes or pitch or key by ear. I play songs by memory. How would I go about breaking through to the next level? A: Wow, this may be the hardest question I’ve ever had to attempt to answer. The impression that I have is that... »

  • Settling into a Groove: A Guide for Bass Players

    Settling into a Groove: A Guide for Bass Players

    One of the most important things we do as bass players is to create and lock into a groove. When I practice this I prefer a drum machine to a metronome. Here’s a guide to working with a drum machine to master the groove: 1. Set the tempo and style. Choose all the styles you... »

  • Choosing a Bass: Price, Age, Quality, and Other Questions

    Choosing a Bass: Price, Age, Quality, and Other Questions

    Q: I’d like to know the difference between a quality bass and a mediocre one. I have a 1977 Fender Precision bass I absolutely love (I paid $450.00 for it in 1976. Until this year, I thought it was a ’76 P bass, but according to the serial number it’s a ’77). I also have... »

  • A Different Way To Listen: Thoughts on Transcribing Bass Lines

    A Different Way To Listen: Thoughts on Transcribing Bass Lines

    Think about all of the ways we can hear music… we can listen to it in our car, hear it as we walk through a super market, be encompassed by it in a movie theater, experience a private listening session on our headphones, or hook a record player up to a great set of speakers.... »

  • Musical Growth: Finding Those “Aha” Moments

    Musical Growth: Finding Those “Aha” Moments

    Q: What were some of the breakthroughs or “aha” moments in your bass playing? Specifically, what are some of the things you’ve learned that unlocked a higher level of knowledge and technique? A: That’s an interesting question… and the answer tends to be different for everyone. Everyone learns differently and is likely to have different... »

  • Finger Stamina Exercises for Bassists

    Finger Stamina Exercises for Bassists

    In our quest to develop left hand strength, flexibility, speed and stamina, we will discover and create many exercises and finger twisters. Sometimes, however, the simplest exercises are the best. Apply the two practice techniques below to your trills and reap the benefits. Trills for time Play a fast trill between two fingers (i.e. 1-2)... »

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  • Fretless Bass: A Guide for Choosing the Best Strings

    Fretless Bass: A Guide for Choosing the Best Strings

    Q: I’ve been wanted to get a fretless bass recently to expand my horizons, and a question that’s come up in my mind is the type of stings I’d play on fretless. Roundwounds, flatwounds, half wounds… so many to chose from and all with different pros and cons. Right now I play roundwounds. What are... »

  • The Blues: It’s Not “Just a Blues”

    The Blues: It’s Not “Just a Blues”

    Believe it or not, I’m a huge fan of the blues. This particular genre caught my attention at a young age and it has taken years (and, I expect, will require many more) to appreciate some of its subtleties. If you’ve had an opportunity to check out my series on blues bass playing, then this... »

  • Life as a Working Bassist: Where Does the Money Come From?

    Life as a Working Bassist: Where Does the Money Come From?

    Q: What is the reality of how guys like you earn a living? I don’t mean to imply that you are “rolling in it,” but how do bassists who focus on freelance work actually make ends meet? A: Great question! Although I’ve talked about the various ways to make things happen in a career or... »

  • Understanding and Getting Around Roadblocks in Musical Development

    Understanding and Getting Around Roadblocks in Musical Development

    For this column, I wanted to answer a question I received on Facebook, as it is an important component in our musical development. Q: I’ve been working on these exercises for six months now and I haven’t made any progress on them. I am very frustrated and do not know how to move forward. Do... »