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  • No Bass Amp? A Guide to Hearing Yourself Practice

    No Bass Amp? A Guide to Hearing Yourself Practice

    Q: My amp and most of my gear got confiscated when I got to college because they said it was a fire hazard. What do you recommend for some amp-less ways for me to get my sound amplified? I really have no idea. A: My first question is: what kind of amp did you have... »

  • Play Other Instruments! Such as… Guitar

    Play Other Instruments! Such as… Guitar

    In the previous column, we introduced an exciting concept: the importance of learning your way around on a few other instruments. Aside from being able to sit down at a piano or pick up an acoustic guitar, a bit of musical variety can influence your approach to the bass. Having some basic knowledge of piano... »

  • Bass Players: Get Out of the Shed and Into the World

    Bass Players: Get Out of the Shed and Into the World

    Q: I practice a lot, but I don’t get to play music with other people all that often. How important do you think it is that I play with other actual humans? A: The short answer? Extremely important. There is no shortage of reasons why this is important, but here are the most important in... »

  • Arpeggio Work for Bass Players: A Daily Practice Routine

    Arpeggio Work for Bass Players: A Daily Practice Routine

    I have mentioned previously that our daily scale practice should include arpeggio work. There are numerous ways to approach this, and most scale books devote some time to various approaches to arpeggios. I find the patterns below to be good solid foundational patterns for any bassist’s daily routine. The patterns below are presented in C... »

  • Life as a Bassist: Balancing Art and Income

    Life as a Bassist: Balancing Art and Income

    Q: I do regular cover gigs, but I also play with a few original artists and I’m worried about them conflicting. I was wondering how you balance your “work” gigs with your “fun” gigs? A: I have touched on this in previous columns, but this is a topic worthy of its own dedicated discussion. For... »

  • Play Other Instruments! Such as… Piano

    Play Other Instruments! Such as… Piano

    Like many other bass players, I’ve traveled a long and winding road before discovering my passion for the instrument. A few years of piano lessons, three months of playing the flute, and a handful of years in the school band’s percussion section were just a few of my “trial and error” experiences before making the... »

  • Rhythm Bass? What To Do When the Rhythm Guitar is Missing

    Rhythm Bass? What To Do When the Rhythm Guitar is Missing

    Q: I play bass in a rock/metal band with only one guitarist, who does plenty of guitar solos. I was wondering if you had suggestions on how to fill up the space, so to speak, to overcome the lack of rhythm guitar. Any insight you might have would be greatly appreciated! A: Although it’s been... »

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  • Trill Exercises for Bassists

    Trill Exercises for Bassists

    For better or worse, trills grab the listeners attention. If a trill is quick, clear and under the performer’s control it can generate excitement in the listener. If it is slow, clumsy and uncontrolled, however, it can have a most deleterious effect. To ensure trills are at our command, we should train our fingers to... »

  • Creating Bass Lines: Getting Your Mind Right

    Creating Bass Lines: Getting Your Mind Right

    Q: I’m struggling with the thought process behind coming up with bass lines. What advice would you give for ways to approach and think about constructing lines? A: This is another question that is ripe for comments, as everyone probably has something unique to them going through their minds when developing a bass line. To... »

  • Going Unnoticed: Our Role as Bassists (Or: The Not-So-Obvious Compliment)

    Going Unnoticed: Our Role as Bassists (Or: The Not-So-Obvious Compliment)

    Photo by philippe leroyer There’s an old saying in the musical world that goes a little like this: “I didn’t even notice the bass until it wasn’t there!” While this may seem a bit unfair – as if all of the other instruments receive the listening attention they deserve while we stand in the back... »