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  • Getting to Know Your Bass: All About the Neck

    Getting to Know Your Bass: All About the Neck

    In part one of Getting to Know Your Bass, we discussed the importance of knowing what the tone knobs do on your instrument. Now, we’ll continue our discussion by learning about how your instrument’s neck influences where, what and how you play. We’ll begin with scale length and how it may impact your tone or... »

  • Custom Shop: Brubaker Guitars

    Custom Shop: Brubaker Guitars

    For Kevin Brubaker, an aesthetic mod led to a lifetime of luthiery. Coupling his need to tweak his bass with his background in woodworking, he soon started building his own basses. Since his start nearly 30 years ago, Brubaker has created over a thousand custom instruments. Brubaker Guitars often feature distinctive book-matched tops with exotic... »

  • Exploring Polyrhythms: A Practice Guide

    Exploring Polyrhythms: A Practice Guide

    Q: What is a “polyrhythm”, and how can I use them? A: Technically speaking, a polyrhythm is exactly what it says… more than one rhythm happening at the same time. This could be a Cascara rhythm combined with a Clave, or even just a swing pattern on the ride along with the hi-hat on 2... »

  • Thumb Position: Major Scale Fingering for Bass

    Thumb Position: Major Scale Fingering for Bass

    There are a multitude of fingerings for any particular scale, and no single fingering is appropriate for every situation. In fact, the most effective fingering for any specific passage will be related to musical issues, not technical ones. Some scale fingerings, however, prove to be useful in a great many situations and are worth having... »

  • The Culture of Free

    The Culture of Free

    The game theory of discovery and the birth of the free-gap It all started because of the discovery problem. Too many things to choose from, more every day. No efficient way to alert the world about your service, your music, your book. How about giving it away to help the idea spread? The simplest old... »

  • Chord Substitutions, Tritones and Bass

    Chord Substitutions, Tritones and Bass

    Q: When is it ok to use chord substitutions on standards? Also, can you explain tritone substitutions? A: The use of chord substitutions is fun to practice but must be used with caution on the gig. Our role as a bass player is to support the harmonic foundation for the rest of the band, as... »

  • Getting to Know Your Bass: Part 1 – Tone Controls

    Getting to Know Your Bass: Part 1 – Tone Controls

    Last night, I got to experience a true musical treat: the Tedeschi Trucks Band at the historic Ryman auditorium in Nashville. The band is somewhat of a super-group of talent and each player has a distinctive voice that contributes to the overall awesomeness of the music. Listening to players like Oteil Burbridge and Derek Trucks,... »

  • Expanding Your Voice on Bass: Inflections and Articulations

    Expanding Your Voice on Bass: Inflections and Articulations

    Q: I notice bassists adding what I would call a “slur”, but I think the correct term would be trill at the end of lines and phrases. I really dig the effect, but my hands and mind are not naturally inclined to do this. What would you recommend to help me work on this? A:... »

  • Strategies for Better Intonation

    Strategies for Better Intonation

    If you are an upright bassist, then intonation is on your mind. I’ve talked in the past about using drones to help solidify intonation, but this is just one of seemingly innumerable strategies to improve pitch. Today we’ll touch on a few other approaches. You can do all of these exercises with music you are... »

  • Choosing the Right Tone for the Song: On Stage and In Studio

    Choosing the Right Tone for the Song: On Stage and In Studio

    Q: How do you decide what tone to use for different songs? A: This is a great question. And it is one that is very subjective. This will be different for everyone, but I’m happy to share my personal take on it. This is also something that may be very different live than it is... »