the online magazine for bass players

Search Menu
  • Consistency: From the Practice Shed to the Bandstand

    Consistency: From the Practice Shed to the Bandstand

    Q: I seem to have an issue with consistency. I seem to be able to pull certain licks and lines together when practicing, but it always falls apart when I’m actually playing with the band. Any tricks to develop consistency? A: Tricks? No. But I do have some thoughts. 1. Context I had a realization... »

  • Improving your Technique: Habits and Awareness for Bass Players

    Improving your Technique: Habits and Awareness for Bass Players

    Most bassists are looking to improve some aspect of their technique. Certainly if there is something in our technique that is creating a problem, physical or musical, then we need to make a change. Sometimes this is a major change, other times this is simply a refinement. Oftentimes, it is the acquisition of technique that... »

  • Instinct vs. Learning: Ideas for Musical Growth

    Instinct vs. Learning: Ideas for Musical Growth

    Q: I’ve been learning to play the bass for about a year now, and I have a concern: I am a very instinctual bassist. I tried playing guitar when I was younger, but didn’t connect. I took to the bass right away. I “hear” a groove in my head, and I’m able to reproduce it... »

  • Refresh Yourself: Some Thoughts on Musical Growth

    Refresh Yourself: Some Thoughts on Musical Growth

    As we grow and develop as bassists, we tend to go through different stages of learning. Sometimes we feel inspired and creative, other times we feel as if we’ve plateaued or burnt out. During the good times, it’s easy to find new concepts to work on, specific ideas to write about, or ways to make... »

  • Do I Really Need to Go To Music School?

    Do I Really Need to Go To Music School?

    Q:I’m a bass player from Mexico and I am currently studying in Paris and looking for some gigs. I am a little overwhelmed right now by school, which is a jazz-oriented school. I like jazz, but I feel a little forced to learn licks and that stuff. I’m not saying I’m the greatest bass player... »

  • Artificial Harmonics: The Basics

    Artificial Harmonics: The Basics

    In the last several columns we have talked about harmonics using open strings. These are often referred to as “natural” harmonics. If we play harmonics on a string while fully stopping the string somewhere else, (for example, if we press down an A on our G string and then play a harmonic above that) these... »

  • Bass Ramps: The How and Why

    Bass Ramps: The How and Why

    Q: I see a lot of people talking about the use of bass ramps. I see that’s it’s basically a piece of wood in between the pickups, but I’m not sure what the benefits are. Also, how do you make one? A: A ramp (or finger ramp) was created out of the desire to broaden... »

  • Earplugs… A Love-Hate Relationship (Part 2: Where, When, and Why)

    Earplugs… A Love-Hate Relationship (Part 2: Where, When, and Why)

    Photo by Quinn Dombrowski In Part 1 of this series, we looked at two different types of earplugs, the over-the-counter ones as well as the custom molded ones, and some of the benefits of each. Now, let’s think about when to use them and how to get comfortable playing with them in. Before we jump... »

  • Controlling Rhythm and Expressing it Musically

    Controlling Rhythm and Expressing it Musically

    Q: This week’s column was written in part from a response to a FaceBook question I had about controlling rhythm and expressing it musically. I was also asked about my approach with my right hand, and where it came from with regard to rhythm and how I use it in my lines. I took that... »

  • Bass Harmonics: Middle of the String Harmonics

    Bass Harmonics: Middle of the String Harmonics

    We’ve found where the most common harmonics are at the end of the fingerboard, and also toward the nut. Today, let’s find the most common harmonics in the middle part of the string. In the examples below, the lower staff tells us where to put place our fingers and find the harmonic. The upper staff... »