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  • Custom Shop: Roks Instruments

    Custom Shop: Roks Instruments

    Earlier this year we featured the Roks Instruments Futura bass as a bass of the week. It garnered so much interest that we decided to get the inside scoop on the company with luthier Axel Roks. Based in the Netherlands, Roks describes his basses as “tools for musicians created in the twilight zone between craftsmanship... »

  • Making Practice Meaningful

    Making Practice Meaningful

    Q: I have a shelf full of instructional books, methods, transcriptions, etc., but I feel like they don’t actually help at all. I just play through things and while I feel like I practiced, I don’t really see how any of that stuff is helping. Any thoughts? A: I know exactly how you feel. It... »

  • Keeping Time in Jazz

    Keeping Time in Jazz

    I love a good bass solo as much, or probably more, than the next person. In the band, however, our most important job is to “keeping time.” Below are a few things we can do in the practice room to help improve our “time” before we get to the gig. Pick a tune you know... »

  • The Lightbulb Moment: Major? Minor? Why Bother?

    The Lightbulb Moment: Major? Minor? Why Bother?

    Being a bass player is awesome. Not only do you get to hang in the back and groove, but you get to skate by on all of that “theory” stuff that guitar players have to deal with. You know… like chords and whatnot. We only have to play one note at a time! That’s like…... »

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  • How to Reharmonize a Song

    How to Reharmonize a Song

    Q: I’ve heard jazz musicians talk about “reharms”, which are just reharmonization of a song (or so I’m told). Can you explain how to “reharmonize” a song? A: There was a time where I was also mystified by whatever the process of reharmonizing a tune might be. I figured that it must require some deep,... »

  • How To Get “Your Sound” In The Studio

    How To Get “Your Sound” In The Studio

    Q: I was recently listening to your newer album and was really loving the tone you get. Can you talk a little about how make sure to get “your sound” in the studio? Also, any general tips for recording in the studio would be helpful, too. I’m about to record our band’s first album and... »

  • When You Can’t Get To It All In Practice Sessions

    When You Can’t Get To It All In Practice Sessions

    One of our No Treble readers has this to say: I understand how to structure my practice, but I’m still having trouble figuring out how to set up practice sessions because I have so much stuff to work on. I’m a bit frustrated. Do you have any suggestions? The first thing I’d suggest is to... »

  • Bass Players To Know: Mike Dirnt

    Bass Players To Know: Mike Dirnt

    In the previous BPTK column, we took a look at the early years of punk rock with Paul Simonon of The Clash. It’s time to fast forward to the 1990’s and the punk renaissance that popularized bands such as Green Day, Blink-182, The Offspring, and Weezer. Exercising a modern take on this musical counter-culture, Green... »

  • Overcoming Learning Disabilities in Music

    Overcoming Learning Disabilities in Music

    Q: What advice do you have for someone who has problems with playing 16th notes and has learning disability in math? I have goals to play music in my own gigs and play at a couple venues, but I’m doubting whether it’s even possible to play on one’s own. A: I don’t think that a... »

  • Ask Damian Erskine: Mailbag

    Ask Damian Erskine: Mailbag

    As readers send in questions, one of three things happens: a) I turn it into an “Ask Damian” column, or b) I respond directly, because the question doesn’t quite warrant an entire column (I do try to respond to everybody) or c) it gets put into the folder of questions that I’d like to answer... »