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  • Learning a Tune “On the Spot”

    Learning a Tune “On the Spot”

    Last week I received a question about how to memorize a tune fast: “…For example, [bassist] playing a jazz tune you’ve never played before with a pianist as they shout out the changes for one chorus, then stop for the second. How can we develop skills to memorize these changes instantly?” No doubt the situation... »

  • Memorization: Tips for Bass Players

    Memorization: Tips for Bass Players

    I received the following question this week from a concerned double bassist: “How can I keep from having memory slips on stage?” Even experienced performers may have the occasional memory faux pas on stage. However, there are some things we can do to minimize the risk. Be prepared early. The earlier you can play something... »

  • Preferred Scale Books for Bass Players

    Preferred Scale Books for Bass Players

    Recently I’ve been getting a lot of people asking for recommendations for “good” scale books for the double bassist. This is an interesting subject, as there so many books out there! Furthermore, whether a scale book is “good” or not often depends not on their content, but rather how they are applied. This is why... »

  • Avoiding Discomfort and Pain When Playing the Upright Bass

    Avoiding Discomfort and Pain When Playing the Upright Bass

    It should be physically easy to play the upright bass. When we experience discomfort or pain, during or after playing, it is our body’s way of telling us that we are doing something wrong. While each body is unique, there are general guidelines all bassists can follow which will reduce the potential for bass-related injury.... »

  • Classification of Three Types of Thumb Position on the Double Bass

    Classification of Three Types of Thumb Position on the Double Bass

    When we speak of thumb position on the bass we are referring to a left hand (l.h.) fingering system where the thumb is used to depress the string. The thumb is on top of the board (rather than behind the neck) and it presses the string down like any other finger. However, often telling someone... »

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  • Thumb Position Below the Half Point of the String on Double Bass

    Thumb Position Below the Half Point of the String on Double Bass

    Although I sometimes use a 1-2-3-4 fingering technique below the half point of the string (12th fret, if we had frets), I often find a thumb position fingering to be more efficient, easier on the hand and, most importantly, more accurate. Of course, many bass players first learn thumb position starting at the half point... »

  • Some Thoughts on the 1-2-3-4 Fingering System for Double Bass

    Some Thoughts on the 1-2-3-4 Fingering System for Double Bass

    For as long as there have been bassists, there has been debate about what fingering system to use. While most players today use a three-finger technique (1-2-4, or the Italian 1-3-4) some suggest a four-finger technique, especially in the middle positions (i.e. between D and G on the G string). One of the main arguments... »

  • Getting the Most of a Bass Lesson

    Getting the Most of a Bass Lesson

    When we make a commitment to embark on a series of bass lessons we are, of course, looking to grow, expand and progress. This is why, if we are serious about our study, we make efforts to find a teacher who we believe can help us on our bass journey. Locating a good teacher and... »

  • What’s This Angled Endpin Business?

    What’s This Angled Endpin Business?

    I get lots of questions about my bass and “what’s up with that endpin?” ranks in the top ten. As you know, most endpins come straight out of the bass, at a angle more or less parallel with the back of the instrument, a 90 degrees relation to the bottom of the instrument. When the... »

  • A Quick Warmup for the Left Hand

    A Quick Warmup for the Left Hand

    Sometimes we need to warmup in a hurry. When I need to warmup in two minutes or less I do exercises like the ones below. Some things to remember when doing these: Start slowly and speed up as you go Keep the fingers light and flexible, don’t press any harder than necessary Don’t’ go any... »