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  • When It’s “Go” Time, Make Sure to Hit the Gas!

    When It’s “Go” Time, Make Sure to Hit the Gas!

    As so often happens, I was recently having a conversation with a musician before a gig and we both commented on how that conversation would make a great No Treble column. First a little background: This guy is a great guitarist that I know and play with relatively often. He’s been actively trying to make... »

  • The Lightbulb Moment: Key Change!

    The Lightbulb Moment: Key Change!

    There comes a time in every player’s life when we listen to a song and are able to identify a perfectly executed lift in tonal center. The energy heightens, the chorus takes on a slightly new character, and the band keeps grooving with a new sense of intention. This extraordinary moment can only be one... »

  • Do I Have To Like Jazz To Improve My Playing?

    Do I Have To Like Jazz To Improve My Playing?

    Q: I’ve read some interviews of yours, and you mentioned that when you started studying jazz, you weren’t actually all that into the music, but you came to appreciate it later through study, etc… I’ve been trying to work through standards, exercises through chord changes and bebop/chromatic-type stuff, but I don’t know what I’m trying... »

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  • Getting Back to Basics in a Band

    Getting Back to Basics in a Band

    Q: I’d like some advice on a sensitive issue. I find myself working with a band whose musical ambitions seem quite often to outstrip their technical abilities. While it is always a good thing to stretch yourself, I can’t help but feel that a grasp of some the fundamentals might be something worth considering. How... »

  • Bass Players to Know: Bunny Brunel

    Bass Players to Know: Bunny Brunel

    Like any aspiring bass player, I went through a “fusion phase” (otherwise known as college). I spent countless hours infatuated with complicated harmony, the wild and masterful displays of technical ability, and the jammiest of jams. It wasn’t long before I discovered the CAB albums featuring Tony MacAlpine, Dennis Chambers, Brian Auger, and bass player... »

  • Getting Away from Playing the Root on Beat One

    Getting Away from Playing the Root on Beat One

    Q: I play mostly jazz and am a pretty facile walker, but I’ve gotten into the habit of playing lines that almost invariably lead to the root being on the 1 (or the 3 if it’s a 2-chord measure in 4/4, etc.). While I am guessing that some of the folks I play with don’t... »

  • Drinking on the Gig?

    Drinking on the Gig?

    Q: I know that my question is very sensitive because this affects us in different ways and it might raise ideas to others I would like to ask: How does alcohol affect your playing? I do not want to hear that it is not suitable at all to play and drink (or drive) but rather... »

  • The Lightbulb Moment: Turn Signals

    The Lightbulb Moment: Turn Signals

    Today’s column is brought to you by the Tennessee Department of Transportation. My usual route to and from downtown involves quite a bit of highway driving and every few days; the TDOT message boards provide a less-than-clever quote to inspire better driving habits. Apparently, plenty of drivers have been neglecting their turn signal, and the... »

  • How Do I Stop Playing Ahead of the Beat?

    How Do I Stop Playing Ahead of the Beat?

    Q: I’m finding it really hard not to play ahead of the beat. I can play on the click with a metronome or other rhythm exercises, but when I put a playback, I’m starting the beat most of the time! It is something to do with too much thinking about the notes I’m playing. Also... »

  • Re-evaluating Your Technique

    Re-evaluating Your Technique

    Q: Do you ever re-evaluate your technique (posture, strap height, string height) or do you feel it’s just set? A: At this point, I feel like I am pretty well set-up and understand my physical relationship with my instrument. This, however, is because I spent much of my life experimenting and studying what others had... »