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  • 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... »

  • Learning the Song – Part 2: Comparing and Contrasting Multiple Versions of a Tune

    Learning the Song – Part 2: Comparing and Contrasting Multiple Versions of a Tune

    Welcome to Part 2 of “Learning the Song.” If you checked out the first part of this series, you’ll be familiar with some of the essential elements of learning a song, such as the key, the chord progressions, the form, and so on. Learning “the song” is a great exercise in ear training, adapting theory... »

  • Performing Live: Adapting to Your Environment

    Performing Live: Adapting to Your Environment

    Q: I had a gig last night at a church and the room resonated right on F#. The designer of the church could not have designed it any better to mess up anybody playing F#. When I would hit an F#, it would instantly double or almost triple my output. Very crazy. I tried to... »

  • Bass Strings: Tips for Finding the Right Sound

    Bass Strings: Tips for Finding the Right Sound

    This week’s column comes thanks to a question from Maria G. Maria asks: I’m a pretty new player, but I’m not happy with my upright bass strings. I know I need something different, but there are so many different kinds of strings out there I don’t know where to start. They are also expensive (!)... »

  • Exploring Turnarounds

    Exploring Turnarounds

    Q: I really enjoy and find great value in your columns on No Treble. In your last column, you discussed the modal and chordal approaches and mentioned this: “Don’t forget to also practice and transcribe things, which will make you a stronger bassist (walking, common endings and turnarounds, time, various time-feels, and so on.)” Could... »

  • Learning the Song – Part 1: Breaking It Down for Performance

    Learning the Song – Part 1: Breaking It Down for Performance

    It’s time for a real life gig story. I was recently given a set list for an upcoming gig… two sets, roughly 25 tunes, mostly classic rock and soul. Glancing over the set list, I saw many tunes that I already knew, so I figured I’d be fine, right? Guess again. As it turns out,... »

  • Playing Chords: A Guide for Bassists

    Playing Chords: A Guide for Bassists

    Q: I recently bought a 6-string bass and started working on playing chords. How should I voice more complex chords (e.g. Gm13) using few (3 to 4) notes, while maintaining the quality of the chord? A: It is important to note a few things when doing this. Much of this is learned by doing it... »

  • Audition and Performance Preparation: Recording Yourself

    Audition and Performance Preparation: Recording Yourself

    One very enlightening way to prepare for an audition or performance is to record yourself prior stepping on the stage, or into the audition room. Expensive equipment is not required to gain benefit from recording yourself. Although better recording equipment means you can listen back in greater detail, the fact is that free recording software... »

  • To Effect or Not to Effect? A Discussion for Bassists

    To Effect or Not to Effect? A Discussion for Bassists

    Q: What’s your take on effects pedals? Do you use any? A: I have been exploring many different pedals and having fun with the sonic possibilities, though I rarely use them outside of my home. My most used pedal is my reverb pedal, because I like the what it offers when playing in small group... »