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  • Teaching (and Learning) Chords on the Bass

    Teaching (and Learning) Chords on the Bass

    Q: I had a student ask if there was some way of learning chords like kids learn multiplication tables. Sounds like it would be handy but I couldn’t think of anything like that. Any ideas? A: I assume your student was thinking of the grid-like table for learning multiplication. I also couldn’t think of a... »

  • The Lightbulb Moment: NAMM Chops or Lamb Chops?

    The Lightbulb Moment: NAMM Chops or Lamb Chops?

    Walking through the NAMM show is like transporting yourself to the largest Guitar Center in the universe on Black Friday. The instruments on the walls don’t quietly beckon to you — they are in a constant state of demonstration. The showroom floor seems to extend for miles, making you feel disoriented in a sea of... »

  • Gigging Without a Car: A Discussion on Gear

    Gigging Without a Car: A Discussion on Gear

    Q: Since I don’t own a car anymore, I was thinking about changing my gear to better fit my new way of moving around (public transportation). Do you have any suggestion about ways to reduce the amount of stock I need to move around while keeping a good sound on stage? A: I think that... »

  • A Quick Left Hand Warmup

    A Quick Left Hand Warmup

    Most people are aware of the importance of warming up before we practice or perform. A slow warmup can protect against injury and help to ensure we are performing at our optimum level. In situations where time is short, however, it can be tempting to forgo the warmup portion of the day. When I am... »

  • Finding the Right Tone Setting For Slap Bass

    Finding the Right Tone Setting For Slap Bass

    Q: I have seen a lot of Slap Pop tutorials, but none of them cover which pick up on the bass to use or tonal settings on the bass or amp. I am still working on proper striking technique, but I am wondering if part of getting the proper sound might be that I am... »

  • Bass Players To Know: Wilbur Bascomb, Jr.

    Bass Players To Know: Wilbur Bascomb, Jr.

    “Come Dancing”, “Play With Me”, “Led Boots”… these were some of the funkiest songs I had ever heard! It was 2005 and a bass player friend had just turned me on to Jeff Beck’s Wired. The groovy keyboard parts, punchy bass lines, and space-age sounds of Beck hooked me like a fish. It was a... »

  • Choosing the Right Bass Strings

    Choosing the Right Bass Strings

    Q: I’m making a custom 5 stringer tuned from E to C. It’s a 34 inch scale and the string spacing are 18mm. What strings are recommended, and what gauge are preferred to get both tighter E and a great high C? I’m used to nickel medium gauge. My luthier promised me it wouldn’t have... »

  • Ensuring a Productive Rehearsal

    Ensuring a Productive Rehearsal

    Over the years I’ve been involved with ensembles of varying sizes and genres. As a result, I’ve experienced some extremely productive rehearsals, and some less than productive rehearsals. Below are a few things that can help your next series of rehearsals run well. Be Prepared It is important to have your part ready to the... »

  • Making the Switch from 4- to 5-String Bass

    Making the Switch from 4- to 5-String Bass

    Q: I have recently made the move from 4-string to 5-string bass. I love the extended range (my bass is tuned E-C), but I’m finding I need to add more practice time to accommodate the additional string. There were exercises that I played on 4 strings and I am now expanding that to include the... »

  • Motivation for Practicing

    Motivation for Practicing

    Q: I have days where I feel like I’m the worst player on the planet, and I have no drive to practice even though I should be. Do you have any tips for practicing/motivation on off-days? A: I’ve written about this in one form or another in past columns. I’ve often recommended finding something (that... »