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  • The Most Influential Blues Bassists: Part 2

    The Most Influential Blues Bassists: Part 2

    After reading the previous column in this two-part series, I’m hoping you’ve had a chance to check out some music featuring the playing of Willie Dixon and Duck Dunn. Their old school approaches to playing blues compliments the players they accompanied and reflects how novel full-band blues recordings were in the 1950′s and ’60′s. Early... »

  • Custom Shop: An Interview with Grant Freifeld of Grant Bass

    Custom Shop: An Interview with Grant Freifeld of Grant Bass

    Armed with passion and determination, Ontario-based bassist Grant Freifeld got his start building instruments after becoming disgusted with “cheap painted plywood guitars” and basses that are “someone else’s idea of custom.” After apprenticing with Joe Kovacic of Lado Guitars, Freifeld created his own brand, Grant Bass. His humility allows him to be more open to... »

  • On Improvising: Modal vs. Chordal Approaches

    On Improvising: Modal vs. Chordal Approaches

    Q: I’ve been playing for a little bit now and would consider myself a solid player, but I’m looking to really up my level of expression. There seems to be a dichotomy on modal vs. chordal approaches to theory, I figured I’d ask you where the break is. Both seem necessary, but some seem to... »

  • Left Hand Thumb: Position

    Left Hand Thumb: Position

    For all instrumentalists, excess tension should be a source of concern. We should work to eliminate it as much as possible. For string players, and especially bassists, excess tension can not only lead to technical and musical inaccuracies, but also to physical discomfort and injury. Sometimes these injuries can be resolved or worked around, other... »

  • Location, Location, Location. Does it Matter for a Pro Musician?

    Location, Location, Location. Does it Matter for a Pro Musician?

    Q: Having read previous columns, I noticed that you’ve lived all over the US. I was wondering if you’d found that developing a music career was any more beneficial in one place than another. I live in Edinburgh, Scotland, and get the impression from a lot of musicians and friends that Glasgow, Scotland or London,... »

  • The Most Influential Blues Bassists: Part 1

    The Most Influential Blues Bassists: Part 1

    One of the common bonds between a lot of us bass players is that we learned how to play by ear. Unlike other instruments, such as the clarinet or piano, we didn’t start out by taking private lessons, nor did we play in the fourth grade orchestra at school. Instead, we heard songs on the... »

  • Reading Requirements: Bass and Treble Clef?

    Reading Requirements: Bass and Treble Clef?

    Q: I can already read treble clef fairly instinctively, having played the clarinet for years. I started playing jazz (on bass) a few months ago, and now can find my way around most lead sheets, but my question is: should I bother to learn bass clef, when treble clef feels more natural to me? I... »

  • Dr. D’s Guide to Improving Your Walking Bass Lines

    Dr. D’s Guide to Improving Your Walking Bass Lines

    I regularly see students who are unhappy with their walking bass lines. Perhaps they don’t like how their lines lead (or don’t lead) from chord to chord. Perhaps they find themselves falling into predictable patterns over and over again. Perhaps their range is limited. Perhaps they just don’t find their lines satisfying. All of this... »

  • All Bass, No Treble: When is a Bass Not “Bass”?

    All Bass, No Treble: When is a Bass Not “Bass”?

    Here at No Treble HQ, we watch a ton of bass videos, read a ton of email from bassists, and get all the news releases about everything bass. Our name is obviously an attempt at being clever. No Treble, after all, is another way of saying “All Bass”. We love the instrument, we love bassists,... »

  • Custom Shop: An Interview with Mike Lull

    Custom Shop: An Interview with Mike Lull

    As one of the world’s most respected bass luthiers, Mike Lull’s work has been heard around the world. His Seattle, Washington-based shop has allowed Lull to work on nearly all of the instruments used by bands from the area known as “the grunge capital”, including Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam and others. His story began as... »