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  • Developing Timing and Feel: Rhythmic Studies for Bass Players

    Developing Timing and Feel: Rhythmic Studies for Bass Players

    Q: My question is about timing. I realize that the choice of notes make a line hip, but the rhythm and the timing make the groove! How do you practice timing, Damian? A: Truer words have never been spoken! It’s all about the groove and time-feel (fancy words for “pocket”). Here are some goals for... »

  • The Backline Blues: Preparing for the Mystery Rig

    The Backline Blues: Preparing for the Mystery Rig

    Getting hired for a gig is great! Knowing that you’re getting paid well is awesome! And then finding out they’ve got backline? The stars have aligned. This gig just got easy. Will you have to wrestle your cabs into the car? Nope. Drag them back into the house at 2am? No way, Jose! What if... »

  • Holiday Gigging: A Moveable Feast

    Holiday Gigging: A Moveable Feast

    Hear ye, hear ye, it’s holiday time again. Time to gear up for big dinners, excessive shopping, family gatherings – and yes – holiday gigs. It’s time for celebration, relaxation, days off from work, and days in cleaning and preparing for company. As a professional musician, the holidays have quite an impact, both on the... »

  • Adjusting to the Upper Register on a 6-String Bass

    Adjusting to the Upper Register on a 6-String Bass

    Q: I have an issue with playing my 6-string bass so I searched the No Treble archives and found that you once wrote tips for making the shift from 4- to 6-string bass. I followed your advice there, but when playing a two octave scale past 12th fret (lets say F-Ionian), beginning on the B... »

  • Ten Prescriptions for Productive Practice

    Ten Prescriptions for Productive Practice

    Playing is fun, and important, but real progress happens when we practice. In fact, the most significant element in our development is our daily practice regimen. So, how we approach it is vital. To help us get the most out of our sessions, here are ten principles for productive practice: For best results, practice 6... »

  • To Audition or Not to Audition

    To Audition or Not to Audition

    Q: I’ve applied to audition for a band. My problem is that I’m not actually convinced about their music. The reason that I still want to try it is because they play gigs that are a higher level than mine, plus the fact that they play, because I haven’t been doing much lately. I have... »

  • Preparing for Studio Success

    Preparing for Studio Success

    Going into the studio to make a record can be a pretty daunting task. Yes, there are a select few who do that every day, but for the rest of us mortals, a session on the books is a pretty rare and special occurrence. Although some folks have sufficient equipment to record at home, there’s... »

  • When to Play with the Harmony: A Discussion for Bass Players

    When to Play with the Harmony: A Discussion for Bass Players

    Q: The (new) guitarist in my band has mentioned a few times that I’m not “holding it down” because I don’t always play the root, and he finds it “detracts from the song.” He is an extremely good musician and I respect his opinion. However the chords in our songs are super vanilla. Our vocalist... »

  • Thoughts on Improving Your Technique on Bass

    Thoughts on Improving Your Technique on Bass

    There are voluminous technical exercises designed to make us better instrumentalists. Nearly all have benefit when executed properly. Unfortunately, many people focus solely on the musical result expected (e.g. How fast can I play that trill today?) when doing technical work. However, the best results are gained when we balance our focus between the musical... »

  • Setting a Path to Session Work

    Setting a Path to Session Work

    Q: I have been toying with the idea of starting a session band. I have the right musicians, we are already tight and working on our own stuff, but I have started wondering how one would go about promoting themselves as a session musician. I have been trying to get in with some professional organizations... »