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  • The Lightbulb Moment: Batman and Bruce Wayne

    The Lightbulb Moment: Batman and Bruce Wayne

    It’s a cold, dark night and a white light beckons in the distance. We’re drawn to it, like a moth to the flame, acknowledging how it signifies the evening’s potential for adventure. Perhaps that image is the bat signal, or maybe it’s just the marquee of the club that we’re loading in to. Gosh, I... »

  • Is Bass Face Okay on the Gig? A Discussion on Stage Presence

    Is Bass Face Okay on the Gig? A Discussion on Stage Presence

    Q: Is “bass face” acceptable or not on a gig? I know a band where the leader was telling the bassist not to have their (un)usual bass face on; they should smile or relax their face. I just performed at a gig where my head is in the jazz charts in front of me (I... »

  • Troubleshooting a Clicking Sound From Your Bass

    Troubleshooting a Clicking Sound From Your Bass

    Q: I read your column on active vs. passive basses. I have been playing for a lot of years and am having issues with any Bartolini preamp/pickup combination that I use. I think one thing missed in the article was active vs passive pickups (or maybe I overlooked that). Anyway, I’m hearing a clicking sound.... »

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  • Bass Players To Know: Alphonso Johnson

    Bass Players To Know: Alphonso Johnson

    As a Philadelphia native, there’s a lot to live up to as a bass player. Stanley Clarke, Christian McBride, Jaco Pastorius, Gerald Veasley, Gail Ann Dorsey, Victor Bailey, and our latest bass player to know, Alphonso Johnson, all hail from the City Of Brotherly Love. Heck, you may even say that bass playing is “in... »

  • Bass Effects Overview

    Bass Effects Overview

    I recently met a player in Portland who completely blew me away. (We soon realized, we only live two blocks away from each other!) He’s new to town and hasn’t been gigging here yet. His girlfriend plays in the symphony and he’s been getting his bearings in the new city. Long story short, we got... »

  • What to Do When They Don’t Give You the Gig Details

    What to Do When They Don’t Give You the Gig Details

    Q: I recently had a strange experience when I got asked to play a gig, but was given practically no information. When I asked for more details (when, where, how long, how much, etc.), I got vibed hard by the guy, as if I was only in it for the money and why couldn’t I... »

  • The Lightbulb Moment: Setting The Stage

    The Lightbulb Moment: Setting The Stage

    I’m standing in front of my amp. I’m sure of it. It’s two feet behind me, the light is on, and there’s definitely sound coming out of it – well, at least I’m pretty sure that there’s sound coming out of it. There comes a time in every musician’s life when you realize that a... »

  • Dyslexia and Music

    Dyslexia and Music

    Q: I’m 28 and I have played bass since I was 18. I’ve always been a hard-working student but always had trouble in reading music, no matter how I hard I tried. Now I’m a bass student at the Palermo Conservatory in Sicily, and despite my very good grades in all other subjects, I keep... »

  • Should I Be Afraid of Breaking the Rules of Harmony When Composing?

    Should I Be Afraid of Breaking the Rules of Harmony When Composing?

    Q: I have been playing bass for others for years but when it comes to writing my own music I constantly question myself about the rules. I understand if it sounds good play it but, “what key could this be and, can I play a dominant 7 here, and will it still be in a... »

  • Bass Players To Know: Lloyd Trotman

    Bass Players To Know: Lloyd Trotman

    As a soul music enthusiast, one of the greatest assets to my record collection has been the Atlantic Rhythm And Blues 1947-1974 compilation. It documents the early years of popular American music, the rise of the R&B genre, and the classic recordings that continue to show up in film, television, and radio. The musical selections... »