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  • Better Soloing: An Introduction to Key Center Improvising

    Better Soloing: An Introduction to Key Center Improvising

    There are many methods we can use to come upon satisfying note choices when improvising over a predetermined set of chord changes (i.e. a tune). One common way to approach note choice is using chord/scale theory, equating every chord to a scale. For example: A minor 7 = A dorian. It’s this approach that has... »

  • Custom Shop: Kinal Guitars

    Custom Shop: Kinal Guitars

    With a career spanning over 40 years, Vancouver-based Mike Kinal knows a thing or two about luthiery. Trained as a cabinetmaker, Mike got into building basses early in his musical career and has since made hundreds of instruments. His basses have evolved over the years from following the pattern of large manufacturers to creating his... »

  • A Guide to Making the Switch Fretless Bass

    A Guide to Making the Switch Fretless Bass

    Q: I’ve just removed the frets from my first bass, and this is my first experience with a fretless bass. What advice do you have to start out? A: There are two areas of focus for making the switch. At a glance, these might seem to contradict each other, but one applies to practicing and... »

  • Food for Thought: A Guide to Healthy Eating for the Working Bassist

    Food for Thought: A Guide to Healthy Eating for the Working Bassist

    We all know that it’s important to eat right, get exercise, have a healthy lifestyle, and stay away from fried foods and candy, but what does that have to do with playing music? The fact is, playing an instrument is both a mental and physical endeavor that requires a certain amount of fuel. It may... »

  • Amp Stands: How to Raise Your Amp without Losing the Bottom?

    Amp Stands: How to Raise Your Amp without Losing the Bottom?

    Q: I recently down-sized my amp from a classic SVT setup 8×10 with a head to a combo amp. Obviously much smaller. I want to raise it off the floor without losing the bottom end because I have used my Ampeg rig exclusively for 20+ years, and I am used to having that stage sound... »

  • In the Studio: Part 3 – Aural Communication

    In the Studio: Part 3 – Aural Communication

    Today, we continue where we left off in this “In the Studio” column series. Be sure to check out part one and two of this series. Mixes In my experience, (unless you are all in the same room and not using headphones) it is extremely beneficial for each musician in the studio have their own... »

  • Improving Your Playing: What’s Your Story?

    Improving Your Playing: What’s Your Story?

    Q: What are you personally working on to improve your playing? A: Okay, getting more personal than usual here <grin>… I am in a constant state of flux with my practice habits. Different things bug me about my playing depending on the gigs I have one week versus the next, causing me to switch gears... »

  • Repeat After Me: Metronomes (and Drum Machines) Are Fun

    Repeat After Me: Metronomes (and Drum Machines) Are Fun

    First things first, I’m not trying to open a “metronome debate.” I’m also not trying to lecture people about using (or not using) a metronome during their practice sessions. Instead, I’m going to shed some light on why and how metronomes can be useful tools when it comes to practicing and experimenting with your instrument.... »

  • Custom Shop: Wilkins Guitars

    Custom Shop: Wilkins Guitars

    Pat Wilkins of Wilkins Guitars is a man who can appreciate the Old School. After getting his start in amps in the ’70s, he soon switched to guitar building, where he eventually started his own brand. Most recently, Wilkins has turned to recreating vintage basses, right down to the smallest detail. Of course, his work... »

  • The Bass Debate: Pick vs Fingers

    The Bass Debate: Pick vs Fingers

    Q: I prefer playing the bass using my fingers, but I see a lot of bassists these days using a pick. What’s your take on that? A: As with all things that come down to taste and music, I say: “follow your ears!” If you don’t like the sound of a pick, or it just... »