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  • The Bass Solo: A Guide to Soloing More Freely

    The Bass Solo: A Guide to Soloing More Freely

    Q: I am at a stage with playing jazz where I feel confident playing bass lines, such as walking through challenging pieces. Given time to learn the chord sequence, I am pretty confident at playing solos over the top of backing tracks and grooves. My problem is that when playing with a jazz band –... »

  • Capturing Your Ideas: Transform Your Musical Inspiration into Reality

    Capturing Your Ideas: Transform Your Musical Inspiration into Reality

    If you’re a fan of the Rolling Stones, you’re probably familiar with the story of Keith Richards coming up with the lick to “Satisfaction.” If not, here’s the story: the classic guitar riff came to him in the middle of the night, and luckily, he had a cassette player by his bed and was quickly... »

  • Performing Live: Memorization vs. Reading vs. Improvisation

    Performing Live: Memorization vs. Reading vs. Improvisation

    Q: I’m not a professional musician, but lately I’ve been performing a lot more often. I play both upright bass and bass guitar, and I like to play just about any style of music: pop, funk, folk, jazz. These two things have made me somewhat “in demand” in part-timers’ circles and has led me to... »

  • Musical Growth: Thought Process, Practice and Dedication

    Musical Growth: Thought Process, Practice and Dedication

    Over the years, I have had the opportunity to hear expressed all manner of explanation as to why someone is not progressing as they wish. Although every situation and individual is unique, some common “explanations” are the result of fallacious thinking. For those who wish to be serious in their study, the two ideas below... »

  • Right Hand Technique for Bassists: Expanding Your Finger Patterns

    Right Hand Technique for Bassists: Expanding Your Finger Patterns

    Q: How do I improve my playing by using the three-finger technique and yet maintain the groove with my thumb? A: Something I’ve come across with many students is a preconception of how they want to use their thumb. With some students, this has actually stood as an obstacle to their growth. I think this... »

  • I Ain’t Superstitious: Personal Quirks and Why They Work

    I Ain’t Superstitious: Personal Quirks and Why They Work

    It’s 6pm… time to get the gear in the car, enter the club’s address into the GPS, and get on the road. It takes exactly five minutes and three trips to pack: one trip for each cabinet (the two fit side by side in the trunk), and one trip for the amp head, bag o’... »

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  • Consistency: From the Practice Shed to the Bandstand

    Consistency: From the Practice Shed to the Bandstand

    Q: I seem to have an issue with consistency. I seem to be able to pull certain licks and lines together when practicing, but it always falls apart when I’m actually playing with the band. Any tricks to develop consistency? A: Tricks? No. But I do have some thoughts. 1. Context I had a realization... »

  • Improving your Technique: Habits and Awareness for Bass Players

    Improving your Technique: Habits and Awareness for Bass Players

    Most bassists are looking to improve some aspect of their technique. Certainly if there is something in our technique that is creating a problem, physical or musical, then we need to make a change. Sometimes this is a major change, other times this is simply a refinement. Oftentimes, it is the acquisition of technique that... »

  • Track by Track: Janek Gwizdala Talks “Theatre by the Sea”

    Track by Track: Janek Gwizdala Talks “Theatre by the Sea”

    Janek Gwizdala is staying ahead of his goal of putting out an album every year with the release of Theatre by the Sea. His third record in 18 months, the album features nine tracks of the bassist’s own compositions and lush arrangements performed by a host of heavyweight musicians including Peter Erskine, Mike Stern, Randy... »

  • Instinct vs. Learning: Ideas for Musical Growth

    Instinct vs. Learning: Ideas for Musical Growth

    Q: I’ve been learning to play the bass for about a year now, and I have a concern: I am a very instinctual bassist. I tried playing guitar when I was younger, but didn’t connect. I took to the bass right away. I “hear” a groove in my head, and I’m able to reproduce it... »