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  • 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... »

  • Multi-Stop Travel With Your Bass – Part 3: On the Plane, Bass and Travel

    Multi-Stop Travel With Your Bass – Part 3: On the Plane, Bass and Travel

    Most people realize that there are special considerations when flying with your upright bass. These considerations are significantly expanded if your musical journey requires a series of planes, trains, and automobiles, before you arrive back at your home door. To wrap up my discussion on this topic, below are a few ways I prepare for... »

  • Writing Bass Lines in Odd Time Signatures

    Writing Bass Lines in Odd Time Signatures

    Q: I have been playing bass for a while now and have recently started a jazz-fusion project where we are creating original material. At our last rehearsal, I was handed a lead sheet for a song written in 5/4. The member then explained that the song wasn’t in two three or three two, but in... »

  • The Lightbulb Moment: A Matter of Taste

    The Lightbulb Moment: A Matter of Taste

    I love pasta. Spaghetti, Bucatini, Ziti, Rigatoni. There are dozens of different types, each originating from different regions of Italy or morphing after be adopted by other cultures and taken across seas. Some are made to look like pumpkins or little ears, some are long cuts, some are bite size, some contain filling, and some... »

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  • Dealing With Songs That Go Beyond Your Last Fret

    Dealing With Songs That Go Beyond Your Last Fret

    Q: I have a student entering his final year of secondary education. He has just purchased a 5-string Fender Jazz Bass. He is focusing on two handed tapping for his music subject. My worry… much of the music we have accessed (“Overjoyed”, “Rock and Roll” Bass Solo, etc.) requires between 21 and 24 frets according... »

  • Making Transcribing Easier

    Making Transcribing Easier

    Q: I have no real problem (anymore) performing publicly with groups/bands, with taking a solo, or with people overhearing me practice (though of course I try to be considerate). But I have an anxiety around transcribing that feels almost like stage fright, and I can’t quite get myself to incorporate it into my daily practice... »

  • Multi-Stop Travel With Your Bass – Part 2: Packing/Luggage/Bass

    Multi-Stop Travel With Your Bass – Part 2: Packing/Luggage/Bass

    Most people realize that there are special considerations when flying with your upright bass. These considerations are significantly expanded if your musical journey requires a series of planes, trains, and automobiles, before you arrive back at your home door. With this in mind, I’d like to continue my discussion from last time by talking about... »

  • Bass Players to Know: Willie Weeks

    Bass Players to Know: Willie Weeks

    Time and time again, I must pay homage to the movie that sparked the flame of my musical obsession… the one that introduced me to a style with more passion and groove than I had ever experienced, with an eclectic history and diverse idioms, and with more influence than any other American genre: Blues Brothers…... »

  • Where to Use Whole Tone and Other Scales

    Where to Use Whole Tone and Other Scales

    Q: So, do you play whole tone scales over the ♯5, and altered scales over the dominant chords. Major chords – do use use whole tone? Minor scales – do use use dorian? or a jazz minor? A: Much of what goes into deciding what scale to use over any given chord is all about... »

  • Learning to Jam

    Learning to Jam

    Q: Okay, I am an old rookie bass player. I always wanted to play, but I just took a long time to get started. I am playing with the praise band at my church currently, which is great; it’s making me take it seriously, and is a very forgiving environment as I learn. So far,... »