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  • Overcoming Tone Loss When Switching from Finger-Style to Slap Bass

    Overcoming Tone Loss When Switching from Finger-Style to Slap Bass

    Q: I have a question regarding when switching between finger-style and slap. I set my amp up predominantly for finger-style playing, but when I switch to slap – particularly mid-song – or if I throw in a slap embellishment, the slap gets buried underneath everything else and is barely audible, consequently losing the momentum and... »

  • Exercises and Schedules for Building Stamina on Bass

    Exercises and Schedules for Building Stamina on Bass

    My experience has been that when musicians work, they really work. It is completely feasible that we can play gigs morning, afternoon and evening. When times are good, we can find ourselves playing nine hours a day, or more, many days in a row. Needless to say, when these periods come around our stamina needs... »

  • Developing Your Musical Ear

    Developing Your Musical Ear

    Q: My problem is that I dont have “ears” for music. I’ve always tried and failed, and this is frustrating me. I only play what is written, or what somebody played. I want to play my own bass lines for any song of my choice. I’ve learned scales, modes, appregios… I’m not sure what to... »

  • Playing Music with an Open Mind

    Playing Music with an Open Mind

    Playing music is a curious thing. We excite at the opportunity to play with and for other people. We look forward to it, prepare for it, take pleasure in it, and enjoy the feeling of making music together. Sounds perfect, right? Well, the funny thing is that the more you play in a “formal” scenario... »

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  • Perfecting the Double Thumb Technique

    Perfecting the Double Thumb Technique

    Q: I’m hoping you can help me perfect my double thumb technique. I have a few questions: How can I improve the sound of the upstroke so that it sounds more like a slap as opposed to a ghost note? When I try the technique on the A string I always strum the E string... »

  • The “Bloody Thumb” Exercise for Thumb Position Playing

    The “Bloody Thumb” Exercise for Thumb Position Playing

    Thumb position is an essential technique for upright bass. Players like Steve Bailey and Brian Bromberg have even adapted it for use on the electric bass. However, when people first start using their left hand thumb to stop a note (i.e. play in thumb position) they often experience discomfort. This is sometimes due to their... »

  • Buying a Bass: A Checklist by No Treble Readers

    Buying a Bass: A Checklist by No Treble Readers

    As the instrument that expresses your musical ideas, it’s important to choose a bass that fits you and your music. But with so many options available, what do you look for? Active or passive electronics? Maple or rosewood fingerboard? How many strings? Which brand? The choices can be daunting, and finding a worthy instrument can... »

  • How To Groove at Jam Sessions

    How To Groove at Jam Sessions

    Q: During jam sessions, I normally have a “hit and stick” approach to coming up with grooves. Essentially, there’s a lull between grooves where I end up peddling notes or playing the one. My keyboard player pointed this out and it bothers me. Is this something that I should be worried about? How do I... »

  • Looping the Bass: 7 Activities for Musical Growth

    Looping the Bass: 7 Activities for Musical Growth

    Fruit loops, drum loops, loop-the-loop roller coasters… there are all kinds of loopy things out there. Lucky for us, the looping pedal is one of them. After a recent acquisition and an afternoon of messing around I wondered “why didn’t I get one of these sooner?” As a matter of fact, I did. I just... »

  • Practicing Without Your Bass: Some Exercises to Keep the Music Going

    Practicing Without Your Bass: Some Exercises to Keep the Music Going

    Q: Are there any exercises that you could recommend that can be done when away from the bass? A: You know, I’m surprised that I’ve never written about this before as I do actually have a number of things to recommend when you’re without your bass, to keep the music going. 1. Visualization of the... »