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  • Amplifying the Upright Bass

    Amplifying the Upright Bass

    Most of us will need to amplify our upright bass at some point. Besides… you know you want to! When amplifying your bass, there are a number of components involved in creating the sound that comes out of the speakers. Today, let’s consider a few of them. Your Bass Of all the things involved in... »

  • Technique Series: Minimum Finger Pressure

    Although there are times when strong muscular exertion in the left hand may be beneficial, in general we want to use a minimal amount of effort. The fingers should press the string with only enough force to produce the note cleanly, and no more. Keeping minimum finger pressure in the left hand will help with... »

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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... »

  • 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... »