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  • Bass Players to Know: Bunny Brunel

    Bass Players to Know: Bunny Brunel

    Like any aspiring bass player, I went through a “fusion phase” (otherwise known as college). I spent countless hours infatuated with complicated harmony, the wild and masterful displays of technical ability, and the jammiest of jams. It wasn’t long before I discovered the CAB albums featuring Tony MacAlpine, Dennis Chambers, Brian Auger, and bass player... »

  • Getting Away from Playing the Root on Beat One

    Getting Away from Playing the Root on Beat One

    Q: I play mostly jazz and am a pretty facile walker, but I’ve gotten into the habit of playing lines that almost invariably lead to the root being on the 1 (or the 3 if it’s a 2-chord measure in 4/4, etc.). While I am guessing that some of the folks I play with don’t... »

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  • Drinking on the Gig?

    Drinking on the Gig?

    Q: I know that my question is very sensitive because this affects us in different ways and it might raise ideas to others I would like to ask: How does alcohol affect your playing? I do not want to hear that it is not suitable at all to play and drink (or drive) but rather... »

  • The Lightbulb Moment: Turn Signals

    The Lightbulb Moment: Turn Signals

    Today’s column is brought to you by the Tennessee Department of Transportation. My usual route to and from downtown involves quite a bit of highway driving and every few days; the TDOT message boards provide a less-than-clever quote to inspire better driving habits. Apparently, plenty of drivers have been neglecting their turn signal, and the... »

  • How Do I Stop Playing Ahead of the Beat?

    How Do I Stop Playing Ahead of the Beat?

    Q: I’m finding it really hard not to play ahead of the beat. I can play on the click with a metronome or other rhythm exercises, but when I put a playback, I’m starting the beat most of the time! It is something to do with too much thinking about the notes I’m playing. Also... »

  • Re-evaluating Your Technique

    Re-evaluating Your Technique

    Q: Do you ever re-evaluate your technique (posture, strap height, string height) or do you feel it’s just set? A: At this point, I feel like I am pretty well set-up and understand my physical relationship with my instrument. This, however, is because I spent much of my life experimenting and studying what others had... »

  • Bass Players To Know: Tommy Shannon

    Bass Players To Know: Tommy Shannon

    Austin, Texas, here we come! As the plane takes off, I think about everything that I want to experience on my short visit. Tacos, BBQ, and of course, blues. Austin has an incredible live music scene and, in addition to popular festivals such as SXSW and Austin City Limits, an equally impressive list of musicians... »

  • Getting It Perfect Vs. Practicing New Material

    Getting It Perfect Vs. Practicing New Material

    Q: I am finding it difficult to combine not practicing what I know and practicing for perfection. I practice fretless almost exclusively, and good intonation is a constant pursuit, including with something as conceptually simple as a major triad arpeggio. Add speed and the desire to play smoothly with controlled dynamics, and one can spend... »

  • Applying Licks from Transcriptions

    Applying Licks from Transcriptions

    Q: I consider myself as a good reader. I can sight read music both in bass and treble clef, and I like to challenge myself with complex etude like those on the Patitucci book or classical pieces. But every time I come across jazz studies, (bebop in particular), I struggle to understand what’s in the... »

  • The Lightbulb Moment: Substitutions

    The Lightbulb Moment: Substitutions

    For those of you who haven’t noticed, I enjoy learning about food almost as much as I enjoy exploring the bass. Lucky for me, there are plenty of parallels between the world of food and the world of music. Both rely on unique combinations of ingredients in order to make a final product. Both can... »