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  • Let’s Talk About the Blues Scale

    Let’s Talk About the Blues Scale

    The Blues Scale. Why do so many players talk about this as the quintessential soloing tool? Have you ever wondered why the blues scale doesn’t always sound good while being played over a blues progression? Aren’t you looking for something more “realistic” in terms of an approach for soloing? Although this column is starting to... »

  • Getting Started with a Looper: A How to Guide

    Getting Started with a Looper: A How to Guide

    Q: I recently bought a looper after reading some of your columns. It’s for practicing, not for performing, but I’m stumped as to what I should actually do with it. Any thoughts on good (or bad) ways to use a looper for practicing? A: Good for you! Looping pedals are a wonderful tools for practice... »

  • To Mod or Not to Mod: Considerations for Modifying Your Bass

    To Mod or Not to Mod: Considerations for Modifying Your Bass

    You guys have followed me through a few projects now and, if Iʼve done my job, some of you have been inspired to take an instrument and make it fit you better in some way. This month, I want to talk about why we do this and pose some questions you should answer for yourself... »

  • Consistent Weight and Legato Bowing

    Consistent Weight and Legato Bowing

    One of the most common deficiencies bass players have when using the bow is an inconsistency of tone in various parts of the bow. There may be times when such inconsistency is musically desirable, but it should always happen “on purpose” and not merely as a result of a lack of bow control. For example... »

  • Playing As One

    Playing As One

    I’m pushing the pause button on questions this week thanks to an experience I had just last night, which is a great lesson for all musicians. I’m traveling to Tokyo with the Jaco Pastorius Big Band at the moment. Last night, we had our warm up concert in Sunrise, FL. After the gig, I got... »

  • More Blues Feels! Rumbas, Funky Blues, and Rock-n-Roll

    More Blues Feels! Rumbas, Funky Blues, and Rock-n-Roll

    Here are three more feels to have at your fingertips whenever you’re stepping into a blues gig or jamming situation. As I’ve mentioned in previous “feels” columns, bandleaders enjoy putting their own spin on certain tunes and will often deviate from the recorded version of the song by changing the feel. It’s also nice to... »

  • A Guide to Memorizing Tunes

    A Guide to Memorizing Tunes

    Q: Do you have any tips on how to memorize tunes? I have the hardest time remembering tunes! A: I’ve been there. But a few years ago, I discovered the key: repetition, repetition, repetition, repetition, repetition, repetition… For years, I’ve always been a chart reader on gigs. I never understood how people could memorize so... »

  • Basic Vibrato on the Upright Bass – A How To Guide

    Basic Vibrato on the Upright Bass – A How To Guide

    Many students have trouble mastering vibrato technically and understanding its usage musically. There are numerous debates regarding vibrato usage in musical contexts, so today we will focus on a simpler matter: how to achieve technical mastery of this skill. From an instrumental point of view, our goal is to have complete control over the width... »

  • Bass vs. Guitar: The 6-String Debate

    Bass vs. Guitar: The 6-String Debate

    Q: I mean this in the most respectful of ways but, when I listen to six string bassists who play a lot of chords and solo. I can’t help but wonder why they don’t just play guitar. A: I’ve heard this question before, and thanks for being respectful. I’m a 6-string player, so I’ll share... »

  • Blues Bass: Jump Blues, Two-Beat and “The Bump”

    Blues Bass: Jump Blues, Two-Beat and “The Bump”

    So far, we’ve examined different kinds of blues progressions, tips for playing on the bandstand, and two common blues feels: the shuffle and the slow blues. In this column, as well as the following one, I’d like to dig deeper and discuss other standard blues feels that you’ll be likely to play. I’ll try to... »