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  • Challenges to Good Intonation in a Live Situation

    Challenges to Good Intonation in a Live Situation

    Good intonation is a lifelong concern for every double bassist. We train our ears, we work constantly to match pitch, and we devote large sections of our individual practice sessions to improving it. Among other things, the sheer size of the instrument demands our constant attention to pitch. Sometimes though, even players who normally have... »

  • Lightbulb Moment: The Power of the Pedal Tone

    Lightbulb Moment: The Power of the Pedal Tone

    It’s January 2nd. A brand new year is on the horizon as I stroll through the airport, leaving my hometown once again after the conclusion of the holidays. The airport isn’t as busy as I had anticipated and thanks to my nervous and obsessive nature, I showed up far too early. Lucky for me, I’ve... »

  • A Discussion on Slap Bass Tone and Technique

    A Discussion on Slap Bass Tone and Technique

    I get a an insurmountable number of emailed questions asking about slap tone and technique. While I have mentioned dozens of times in various columns that I never really explored the slap side of bass, I have fiddled with it enough, in addition to knowing quite a few fantastic slappers. I know how to get... »

  • Thinking In Modes or Scales and Constructing Bass Lines

    Thinking In Modes or Scales and Constructing Bass Lines

    Q: I’ve been trying to learn how to play over the changes, but I’m super confused about one particular aspect: I don’t know I should think of scales. For example when I’m playing over a G dominant chord, should I think G mixolydian or should I think fifth mode of the C major scale? In... »

  • Improving Practice: 4 Pitfalls to Avoid in the Practice Room

    Improving Practice: 4 Pitfalls to Avoid in the Practice Room

    We learn and grow musically from a variety of sources. Teachers, performances, fellow musicians, etc. all play a role in our progress, but our most direct improvement comes from our time in the practice room. That’s why spending time practicing each day is so important. Sometimes, however, even when are putting in time daily, we... »

  • Bass Players to Know: Dee Murray

    Bass Players to Know: Dee Murray

    Every now and then, the car radio takes me by surprise. A station spins just the right song to pique my insatiable curiosity as I sit in traffic, easing the pain of running late by distracting me with a sing-along. An Elton John song is no anomaly when it comes to commercial radio, and for... »

  • Two-Handed Tapping and Developing Hand Independence for Bass Players

    Two-Handed Tapping and Developing Hand Independence for Bass Players

    Q: I have been practicing two-handed taping and can’t get independence between left and right hand. Specifically, I can’t play rhythm patterns with my fretting hand and independently play harmony with the plucking hand. Can you suggest some workout for this kind of problem? A: While I have very limited experience with two-handed tapping, I... »

  • Exploring New Ways to Practice Chord Changes on Bass

    Exploring New Ways to Practice Chord Changes on Bass

    Q: I was wondering if you had any new ways of practicing playing through changes? I have been working on my arpeggios and modes but feel like I’m just hitting a wall. A: I don’t know if this counts as a new way of playing through changes, but there are an endless number of options... »

  • Making a Living in Music

    Making a Living in Music

    I get a lot of questions from aspiring musicians on how to make a career in music. There isn’t one answer to this, and everyone’s circumstances are different. However, below are some of my more general suggestions for those considering a life in music. Specialize I’m usually talking to upright bassists, so I generally suggest... »

  • The Light Bulb Moment: Men In Black and Anonymity on the Gig

    The Light Bulb Moment: Men In Black and Anonymity on the Gig

    Another rehearsal called for 5:30pm. If it were my band, I’d wait until 7:00 so that no one would fall victim to rush hour traffic. But it’s never my band, so, 5:30 it is. As expected, I-40 was jammed in both directions and the guitar player’s GPS took him to the wrong house. We started... »