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  • Doing the Best You Can

    Doing the Best You Can

    Q: I tend to get very nervous before any live performance. How do you deal with performance anxiety? A: Everyone, at some point in their development, gets nervous before a gig or feels inadequate to the task at hand. It’s natural. The best thing you can do is over prepare! Still, the nerves are there.... »

  • Technique Series: Pizzicato (Plucking) Exercises

    Technique Series: Pizzicato (Plucking) Exercises

    The simple, straightforward exercises below are the best I have seen to develop and maintain right hand pizzicato (plucking) on the upright bass. They isolate the technique to focus one just one thing: your right hand technique. There is certainly room in a practice routine to work on right hand/left hand coordination, or tricky patterns,... »

  • When the Song Plays Itself

    When the Song Plays Itself

    I just got back from a week spent in a recording studio in Northern California, a singer-songwriter session with Alice DiMicele. The band was absolutely smoking and we tracked 16 tunes in four days (complete with horns). The band included some guys who have been around the block quite a few times and have recorded... »

  • Soup or Sound (aka, the Diva Complex)

    Soup or Sound (aka, the Diva Complex)

    Although I was not asked a question relating to the following, a recurring theme came up in several conversations while at the NAMM show last week. I’d like to say first that I had no bad experiences with anyone while hanging at the show. I did hear some fans talk of a few negative experiences... »

  • Flying with an Upright Bass

    Flying with an Upright Bass

    Many bassists will, at some point, find it necessary to fly with their upright bass. Although a professional bassist should be able to play acceptably on any bass that is thrown at them, there are a number of reasons why we want to play our own instrument on the road. If you are doing anything... »

  • Ask Damian Erskine: Music as a Language

    Ask Damian Erskine: Music as a Language

    Q: I often hear people speak of music as a language but for the life of me, I can’t figure out how to relate to that idea and make it useful. Any thoughts? A: You’re not alone. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, and I’ve been in the same boat you’re in. I... »

  • Plucking Patterns: Right Hand Exercises for Bass

    Plucking Patterns: Right Hand Exercises for Bass

    Q: You covered playing chords on the bass and going beyond the roots. I use chords a lot when I compose/write and when I practice different things. I often find myself short when it comes to rhythms and different strumming patterns over the chords. Do you have some good ideas for strumming patterns? A: The... »

  • The Lowdown with Dr. D: Mastering a Difficult Passage with Repetition

    The Lowdown with Dr. D: Mastering a Difficult Passage with Repetition

    In the course of mastering a difficult passage, we will end up playing the passage many, many times. However, if we do so blindly, we just waste our time. In fact, such mindless repetition can be detrimental. Additionally, if our mind wanders, then it is unlikely that we are actually improving the passage, so again... »

  • Bass Chords: Going Beyond the Root

    Bass Chords: Going Beyond the Root

    Q: Lately I’ve been trying to expand my knowledge of basic chords on bass. Any advice! A: This seems a good time to expand on a previous column about developing chords on the bass. Previously, we had really just focused on root position chord shapes. Now let’s look at some ways to get beyond that.... »

  • Fretboard Knowledge

    Fretboard Knowledge

    Q: I have wanted to really get to know the fretboard inside out for a long time but have always struggled with visualizing a scale or the notes of a chord over the full range of my instrument. So I often find I’m playing in the same familiar patterns and am not really able to... »