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  • Finding the Musical Treasures in Your Own Backyard

    Finding the Musical Treasures in Your Own Backyard

    A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to check out the Summer NAMM show in Nashville. Although it was great to walk around the showroom floor, check out all of the new gear, and run into some friends, the most exciting part of the show was the congregation of truly fantastic players. The NAMM... »

  • Getting Over Extended Range (and Other Musical) Ruts

    Getting Over Extended Range (and Other Musical) Ruts

    Q: I’ve been playing bass for many years, and started playing the 6-string bass only about six years ago. I’m currently stuck in a dormant sludge of un-creativity! Any thoughts on who offers a good 6-string finger exercise, scale patterns, a book or even a good video? I can’t seem to get out of the... »

  • Thumb Position Exercises for Bassists

    Thumb Position Exercises for Bassists

    “Thumb position” is a left hand technique in which the thumb is used on top of the board to press down the strings. In essence, we use it just as we use our other fingers. Although the technique can be used anywhere on the instrument, this technique is most often used at the midpoint of... »

  • Bass in an Acoustic Setting: Knowing How to Play Your Role

    Bass in an Acoustic Setting: Knowing How to Play Your Role

    Q: I think I have a good suggestion for an area you may have not covered: the role of a bassist in an acoustic setting. No drummer (maybe a Djembe), just acoustic guitar, bass and vocals. How do you keep it grooving, how do you fill the space, how do you make it sound good?... »

  • I Wish I Knew That: Making The Music Better

    I Wish I Knew That: Making The Music Better

    Let’s face it, sometimes we find ourselves in not-so-ideal playing situations. In a perfect world, we would always have our favorite drummer on the gig and could lock in and groove all night long. We would never have to compete with the busy left hand of a keyboard player, stay alert during the 15-minute guitar... »

  • How and Why Woods Affect Your Bass Sound

    How and Why Woods Affect Your Bass Sound

    Q: Experience and all instrument makers tell us that the choice of wood affects the sound of a bass. Of course we know and feel the difference of alder vs. ash bodies, ebony vs. rosewood vs. maple fingerboards, and so many other differences. But, do we know why exactly this affects the amplified sound? What... »

  • Left Hand Dexterity Drills on Three and Four Strings

    Left Hand Dexterity Drills on Three and Four Strings

    After mastering the exercises on one and two strings, you will be ready to challenge yourself with some three-string exercise, like the ones below. Some Notes: These exercises can be done pizzicato or arco. If done pizzicato, I suggest beginning each pattern using the second finger of your right hand, followed by the first (i.e.... »

  • Gigging Life: Elevating Your Game with the Right Musicians (or Vice Versa)

    Gigging Life: Elevating Your Game with the Right Musicians (or Vice Versa)

    Q: I’ve found myself in somewhat of a middle-ground with my gigs. Some gigs I have are with much better musicians than me, and I find that I actually play better with these guys. But many more of my gigs are just your everyday bar gigs. I’m noticing that I just can’t play the same... »

  • Getting to Know Your Bass: How Many Strings Does It Take to Screw In A Lightbulb?

    Getting to Know Your Bass: How Many Strings Does It Take to Screw In A Lightbulb?

    Ok, this column’s title is a bad joke (feel free to come up with you own punch line). In the past few columns of this “Getting To Know” series, we’ve examined a number of topics that relate to what your instrument can do, why you prefer it, and how that impacts your playing ability on... »

  • Getting the Same Swing Feel on Electric and Upright (or… Be Patient in Practice)

    Getting the Same Swing Feel on Electric and Upright (or… Be Patient in Practice)

    Q: I can’t get the same swing feel on electric as upright. Any advice? A: While I don’t play upright, this does present an opportunity to share a broader concept that may help you. Patience, padawan… patience (and focused practice). I’ve found with a vast majority of my students that whenever something is not “clicking”,... »