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  • Effects: Straight In or Through the Loop?

    Effects: Straight In or Through the Loop?

    Q: Is it ok to plug my bass directly into my chain of effects pedals and out to my amp, or is it better to run the pedals through the effects loop, and plug my bass straight into my amp? A: I seem to be on a roll with the topics I have limited experience... »

  • Maintaining Your Tone Between Fingerstyle and Slap

    Maintaining Your Tone Between Fingerstyle and Slap

    Q: Most of the time, I play fingerstyle, but sometimes in the middle of some songs, I change to slap-style. In those situations, I find I just don’t have enough punch to come through. I don’t think that’s a matter of technique or strength. What do you suggest? Do I need a gearbox to augment... »

  • Starting Back Up on Bass After a Long Break

    Starting Back Up on Bass After a Long Break

    Even those of us who maintain a regular practice routine may find ourselves taking an extended period of time away from our instrument. Vacations, travel, illness, work, incarceration, etc. can keep even the most dedicated musician away from their instrument. With an instrument as physically demanding as the double bass, we would be wise to... »

  • Bass Players to Know: Oteil Burbridge

    Bass Players to Know: Oteil Burbridge

    Each time I embark on a new column, I find myself humbled and overwhelmed by the talent and contributions of the chosen “Bass Player to Know.” There’s no doubt in my mind that I’ll discover new music, recognize the birth of different styles, and become more in tune with the virtuosity of the player. As... »

  • Achieving Rock Solid Time on Bass

    Achieving Rock Solid Time on Bass

    Q: I was wondering if you could touch on the topic of time, the most important part of being a bassist. Are there ways to get rock solid time anywhere from 60 bpm to 300 bpm other than just playing with a metronome? If so what do you suggest? A: Aside from my usual answers:... »

  • Fingernail Care: A Discussion for Bass Players

    Fingernail Care: A Discussion for Bass Players

    Q: As I’m getting pretty deeply into a right hand technique using a ramp, light touch, etc… I’d like to hear your thoughts on fingernail care, particularly for your plucking hand. I keep mine pretty short (it’s hard to open canned drinks), and I’m guessing yours might be similar. Also wondering if you so anything... »

  • How Much Should I Practice?

    How Much Should I Practice?

    This is a question I get often from both serious students and amateurs alike. Since the answer depends on a person’s goals, and every person is unique, there is no single answer for everyone. However, I can make some general suggestions. My suggestions will presuppose a few things: You practice on a regular basis Daily,... »

  • Bass Players to Know: Richard Davis

    Bass Players to Know: Richard Davis

    As a college student, I spent many an afternoon roaming the streets of New York City, finding new routes to take me from my hole-in-the-wall apartment to the halls of academia, and creating new musical playlists along the way. I developed a healthy obsession to certain songwriters… Van Morrison, Janis Ian, Paul Simon, and even... »

  • Exploring the Value of Slap Bass

    Exploring the Value of Slap Bass

    Q: I get so excited with seeing and hearing amazing slap bass playing. However, I’m wondering how many eggs to put the “slap basket.” I have tried a couple of different books and videos and have finally settled on Louis Johnson’s DVD from 1984. I am still working on the first lick and able to... »

  • From the Shed to the Stage: Translating Practice to Performance

    From the Shed to the Stage: Translating Practice to Performance

    Q: I’m having a difficult applying what I’ve learned into playing. When I play, my fingers can’t seem to do what they did when I practiced. Is there any suggestion to making things stick? A: The first word that pops into my head is repetition. Lines, licks and harmonic devices – such as arpeggios, scales... »