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  • Self Expression: Thoughts and Discussion for Bass Players

    Self Expression: Thoughts and Discussion for Bass Players

    Q: Most pros say that playing with other musicians is one of the most important things a bassist can do. After practicing alone for a few years, I’ve returned to the band setting. I love gigging and I love band practice, but I find myself playing very conservatively. In no way am I trying to... »

  • Makers of the Melody: Part 3 – Time to Take that Solo

    Makers of the Melody: Part 3 – Time to Take that Solo

    It’s official. You’ve been given the nod from the guitar player and called out by the vocalist… time for a solo. Against your better judgment, you accept and try to switch your thinking from root notes and walking to playing the lead, expressing your thoughts, and showing off your musicality. You’re stepping out of your... »

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  • On Stage Monitor Mix Advice for Bass Players

    On Stage Monitor Mix Advice for Bass Players

    Q: I play on a weekly gig and I use in-ear monitors. Things sound fine during sound check, but I don’t realize I need something until I’m lost in the middle of a song and find myself unable to find the keys or guitar in my monitor. This happens fairly regularly. I’ve even had most... »

  • Single String Shifting Exercise

    Single String Shifting Exercise

    Single string shifting exercises are great for teaching us the geography of the fingerboard. Not to mention the help they provide in solidifying pitch accuracy and bow control. As a result, variations of the exercise given below have likely been in existence since the first human put first put bow to string. Edouard Nanny has... »

  • Discovering the Right Practice Routine

    Discovering the Right Practice Routine

    Q: Some people stand strongly by the notion of having a true practice routine while others claim that routines stunt growth, because the same thing is being practiced each day (e.g. scale modes in broken thirds with such-and-such technique striving for X bpm). Will you please elaborate on what a routine is and how to... »

  • Makers of the Melody: Part 2 – Soloing

    Makers of the Melody: Part 2 – Soloing

    Bass solo! Bass solo! The bandleader points his finger at you, giving you the okay and hushing the rest of the band. Great. Now what? We’re not the guitar player… we haven’t worked on Hendrix licks or memorizing the solo section to “Freebird”. We can’t just crank up the distortion or create mesmerizing soundscapes with... »

  • Heavy Music with a Hollow Body Bass?

    Heavy Music with a Hollow Body Bass?

    Q: Here’s my problem: I’m a big fan of archtop guitars and I love the lighter tonal quality. I also don’t like playing solid body basses since they don’t go well with my slightly weaker left shoulder (which is made worse since I’m left-handed but play right-handed). That’s not the real problem though. The big... »

  • Easy Experimentation for Artistic Growth in Improvisation

    Easy Experimentation for Artistic Growth in Improvisation

    Students of improvisation are often looking for the quickest way to learn vast amounts of new material, all while sounding great immediately. Oftentimes this translates into playing a large number of tunes for a few minutes each. In the short term, such practice sessions can be helpful. This is especially true if we need to... »

  • Thoughts on “Making It” in the Music Business

    Thoughts on “Making It” in the Music Business

    Q: I’m a bass player in Chicago. I’m 17 and have been playing for 10 years. I’ve always wanted to be a bass player and I always will be. I wanted to ask you about being a bass player in today’s society. When you listen to interviews with older bass players, they say they played... »

  • Makers of the Melody: Part 1

    Makers of the Melody: Part 1

    As we begin our journey as bass players, we are drawn to particular types of grooves. Perhaps our ears perk up with a soulful R&B line, the sound of a walking upright, or a rock tune where the bass is pedaling the roots. Many of us are intrigued by vibrant staccato grooves, the slaps and... »