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  • The Lowdown with Dr. D.: Reader Questions

    I constantly receive questions in my email box from aspiring bassists. Unfortunately sometimes these pile up and I can’t always get to everyone’s question in a timely manner, or even send a personal response. So for a few installments, I thought I would take some time here on The Lowdown and answer a few of... »

  • The Lowdown with Dr. D.: Electric, Upright or Both?

    I constantly receive questions in my email box from aspiring bassists. Unfortunately sometimes these pile up and I can’t always get to everyone’s question in a timely manner, or even send a personal response. So for the next couple of installments, I thought I would take some time here on The Lowdown and answer a... »

  • Practice Technique: Note Isolation for Improved Intonation

    There are countless ways to improve our intonation, both at our instrument and away from it. Here’s one strategy, to be done at our instrument, which can help open our ears and stabilize a key center. It involves isolating and spotlighting a single pitch every time it appears. The technique works well with music of... »

  • Practicing for Performance

    Practicing for Performance

    When we are first learning a new work, we might spend many hours putting it together. We can easily spend days, weeks or even months working on small sections, phrases, passagework, navigating specific chord changes, or other musical and technical items in a piece. We do this not only to perfect individual sections and assure... »

  • Practice Techniques: Utilizing Metronome to Improve Facility

    Practicing very, very slowly One of the main advantages to playing a passage vastly under performance tempo is that you give yourself ample time to think. It is easier to plan, calculate and control your playing at slower tempi. Exactly how slowly you should practice depends on the difficulty of the passage. In general, the... »

  • Practice Techniques: Add a Note

    When approaching a challenging passage, one very useful technique is that of “adding a note.” Adding one note at a time is an excellent tool for improving passages technically. Many people enjoy this technique because it can usually be done at performance tempo, without slowing the passage down. When using the bow: Be sure to... »

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  • Rhythm Series: Improving Rhythmic Accuracy by Subdividing

    Rhythmic Accuracy Last time we talked about one of the major physical components rhythm: feeling the beat internally. However, for the performer there are two components to rhythm, physical and mental. Accurate execution of musical rhythm requires the cultivation of both aspects. One important mental element needed to precisely perform rhythms is active subdivision. Subdividing... »

  • Rhythm Series: Keeping Time

    Rhythm Series: Keeping Time

    Keeping a steady pulse is a fundamental skill for any musician, and it is especially important to any one who is part of the rhythm section. Even in styles of music that encourage flexible rhythmic expression (i.e. rubato, etc.), the ability to maintain an accurate pulse is essential for a musician. No matter what style... »

  • The Lowdown with Dr. D.: EFX Questions for Upright Bass

    Recently I got a series of questions from a upright bass player in Norway regarding amplification of the double bass and the use of electronic effects (EFX). Since I get these sorts of questions often, I thought I would print some of my thoughts here as part of the lowdown. If you have your own... »

  • Rhythm Practice: Using Rhythms to Improve a Passage, Phrase or Lick

    Rhythm Practice: Using Rhythms to Improve a Passage, Phrase or Lick

    Every so often there is a passage, phrase or “lick” that we just can’t seem to execute as well as we would like, no matter how many times we practice it under tempo. This should be a sign that we need to change our approach. Slow practice an excellent and valuable tool, but it is... »