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  • Who is the Best Bassist?

    Who is the Best Bassist?

    So it happened. A reader sent Damian this question: “In your opinion, who is the best bassist?” Damian decided to answer, without it becoming another one of those “Best Bassist”-type columns that cause an uproar. Check out what he has to say on the subject... »

  • Remembering Written Bass Lines

    Remembering Written Bass Lines

    Q: When I learn a song by ear, I can generally memorize it really well, probably because of all the work that’s gone into learning it. My ear is not great and concentrating on actually listening is harder to do than it sounds! I sometimes miss little bits here and there. However, when I read... »

  • The Lightbulb Moment: This Is Why I Practice

    The Lightbulb Moment: This Is Why I Practice

    There’s an old saying that goes: if it were easy, everyone would do it. Playing music isn’t easy. Navigating the fretboard is confusing, playing with a metronome can be tedious, and there’s a never-ending list of songs to learn. Despite all of the work that goes into playing music, most of us love it and... »

  • Making the Time for Practice

    Making the Time for Practice

    Q: It seems like you are a pretty busy guy and travel a lot (I follow your social media feeds). I feel like I’m not half as busy but somehow still can’t seem to find the time to work on stuff like I should. Any tips? A: I got asked a similar question at a... »

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  • Moving from Upright to Electric Bass

    Moving from Upright to Electric Bass

    If you are an electric bassist looking to learn upright, getting your double bass skills up to snuff can be daunting. When deciding to become a “switcher,” most of us coming from the electric bass side of things approach the new, bigger instrument with some amount of trepidation. The usual feeling seems to be that... »

  • When Personal Beliefs Conflict with The Gig

    When Personal Beliefs Conflict with The Gig

    Q: I spent this past Saturday marching the streets of Austin, TX with about 50,000 like-minded fellow Americans. Felt great… both humbling and inspiring! The next morning, I was playing my regular church gig – a place with a very different worldview and some decidedly harsh perspectives regarding my fellow marchers. I kept my mouth... »

  • Melodic Minor vs. Diminished Scales Over Dominant Chords

    Melodic Minor vs. Diminished Scales Over Dominant Chords

    Q: You know, jazz theory can be really, really confusing! I know that you can use a melodic minor a half step above a dominant chord as a substitution before resolving to the I-chord to emphasize tension notes (creating an out-sound). But, apparently, you can also use a whole-half diminished scale a half step up... »

  • Finger Substitutions

    Finger Substitutions

    When we play the same note, usually on the same string, consecutively, but with different fingers, it is called a finger substitution. For example: This technique is most often employed is when we want to avoid shifting within a slur. While we should be able to shift silently within a slur, it is sometimes musically... »

  • How Much Should I Get Paid for Gigs?

    How Much Should I Get Paid for Gigs?

    Q: I gig about 10-16 times a month on double bass and electric and live in a rural part of the UK. Some gigs involve a drive of 50-100 miles for about £50-75. Do you have a minimum fee for local work, and a max distance you will drive for small bar type gigs? I... »

  • Relative vs. Parallel Minor Scales

    Relative vs. Parallel Minor Scales

    Q: What is the difference between “relative” and “parallel” when talking about jazz theory? I hear “relative minor” a lot, but I recently heard someone at school talk about “parallel minor.” A: Good question! First, I’ll take a look at this column I wrote in 2014 concerning modes (and the relative minor). The term “relative... »