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  • Finger Substitutions

    Finger Substitutions

    When we play the same note, usually on the same string, consecutively, but with different fingers, it is called a finger substitution. For example: This technique is most often employed is when we want to avoid shifting within a slur. While we should be able to shift silently within a slur, it is sometimes musically... »

  • Dealing with Blisters on the Pizzicato Hand

    Dealing with Blisters on the Pizzicato Hand

    So, you recently acquired a double bass. This is great news! Welcome! Or perhaps you simply resolved that this was the year you got serious about playing and you increased your time at the instrument. Fantastic! Or maybe you picked up some regular gigs! Even better! Either way, this recent positive change in your life... »

  • Exercises: Thumb Position in the Lower Positions

    Exercises: Thumb Position in the Lower Positions

    When many of us first learn to play in “thumb position” (using thumb on top of the fingerboard to press the string down) we begin by placing thumb on the half-string harmonic (G on the G-string, 12th fret, if we had frets). In fact, much beginning thumb position study starts here. From here, intermediate thumb... »

  • Scale Exercise in Thumb Position

    Scale Exercise in Thumb Position

    When double bassists put their thumb on top of the fingerboard, rather than behind it, and use it to depress the string (just like the other fingers), we call that “thumb position.” There are a plethora of etude books and exercises to help us solidify the use of the thumb to press the string, but... »

  • Starting Out: Getting Work

    Starting Out: Getting Work

    Photo by Alan Levine Q: I recently saw a video that talked about going to music school. After watching it I got the impression that maybe school wasn’t such a good idea. At the same time it seemed like the only way to get work as a musician, was to go to school and use... »

  • Dealing with a Removable Neck

    Dealing with a Removable Neck

    Q: I have read your latest column on the set-up of your bass and that you had a removable neck installed. I never had one and one of the reasons why I’m holding off on this is the fact that a removable neck also means a removable bridge. I mean: the bridge is not fixed... »

  • Surviving the Holidays as a Freelance Bassist

    Surviving the Holidays as a Freelance Bassist

    For non-musicians the winter holidays can be a time for rest, relaxation and extra time with family. For many freelance musicians, however, it is a time of early mornings, late nights, long hours playing, coffee, and lots of time in the car going from gig to gig. The upside is, of course, that it can... »

  • My Double Bass Setup: Part 4 – Endpin, Removable Neck and Travel Case

    My Double Bass Setup: Part 4 – Endpin, Removable Neck and Travel Case

    Endpin I also use an angled endpin while standing. The main reason for this is to take the weight of the instrument off my left hand while allowing my left hand easy access to the complete fingerboard. For more on this, check out this column. Some people have noted that my endpin length and angle... »

  • My Double Bass Setup: Part 3 – String Spacing and String Height

    My Double Bass Setup: Part 3 – String Spacing and String Height

    String Spacing My string spacing at the nut is approximately 8 millimeters between each string and my string spacing at the bridge is about 22 millimeters between each string. By contrast a more traditional setup might be 10 mm at the nut and 28 mm at the bridge. Although this particular change may seem small... »

  • My Double Bass Setup: Part 2 – Number of Strings, Tuning and Fingerboard Length

    My Double Bass Setup: Part 2 – Number of Strings, Tuning and Fingerboard Length

    I play a five-string bass with both a higher string and a low C, via an extension. My specific tuning is (from lowest to highest) C, B, E, A, D. The low C string can be tuned via capos (on the C extension) to any chromatic note between C and E (the more standard low... »