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  • Essential Accessories for Your First Upright

    Essential Accessories for Your First Upright

    For many people, buying an upright bass is a financial transaction that requires some planning. Nearly everyone wants the highest quality instrument they can afford and, as a result, many spend their last available dollar (or more!) on the instrument itself. This is completely understandable, and laudable. However, if it’s your first upright you should... »

  • Technique Series: Fast Fingers

    Technique Series: Fast Fingers

    Although there are musical situations when we want our left hand fingers to strike the fingerboard forcefully, we most often want to use the minimum amount of pressure, and no more. To do otherwise is generally inefficient, clumsy, noisy and speeds up muscle fatigue, among other things. When it comes to left hand technique, the... »

  • More Approaches to Jazz Tunes

    More Approaches to Jazz Tunes

    I’ve talked in the past about delving into a new tune using what I call “The Treatment.” It’s a flexible yet organized way to become more fluent on a tune, especially if it is new to you. Sometimes, however, we are looking to delve even more deeply into a tune, or perhaps we find ourselves... »

  • Recording the Upright Bass

    Recording the Upright Bass

    Steve Bunker, a rockabilly player, recently asked me about the “best way to record the upright bass.” While I don’t think there is any one single way that is the best to record every upright bass in every style of music, I have noticed a few things over the years. Get your sound before you... »

  • Upright Bass Set Up for Playability and Sound – Part 2

    Upright Bass Set Up for Playability and Sound – Part 2

    This is part 2 of this series by Dr. D. Check out Part 1. Set Up for Sound In terms of sound, there are any number of things that can affect the volume, sustain and tone of your instrument. The bottom line is that everything you do to the instrument matters. Strings matter. Tailpiece length... »

  • Upright Bass Set Up for Playability and Sound

    Upright Bass Set Up for Playability and Sound

    I thought I would address a question left on No Treble’s Facebook page regarding string action on upright and volume discrepancies between different strings by talking a bit about set up on the upright bass. When someone talks about getting the upright bass set up, they are referring to a number of things, from bridge... »

  • Practicing Scales (Part 2)

    Practicing Scales (Part 2)

    This week, Dr. D. continues the series on practicing scales. Check out part 1. Advanced Scale Work At whatever technical level you have been playing scales, you have hopefully been incorporating technical challenges into the mix. Mastering various fingerings, bowings, plucking techniques, refining your left hand shape, trills, vibrato, artificial harmonics, etc., should be an... »

  • Reducing Feedback on Amplified Upright Bass

    Reducing Feedback on Amplified Upright Bass

    Steve Bunker sent in this request: “Can you talk about the best way to amplify the upright to avoid feedback and the best way to record the bass. I play mostly rockabilly.” Hi Steve! I’ll get to the recording part of the question another week. For today, let’s talk feedback. Feedback is a real problem... »

  • Practicing Scales

    Practicing Scales

    The last installment of the Lowdown inspired a question from a reader about the “proper way to practice scales.” That would all depend on your specific goal, whether it be a technical or a musical one. There are innumerable ways to practice scales, and a plethora of material available to give you guidance. At the... »

  • Classical Pieces for Beginner to Intermediate Level Bassists

    Classical Pieces for Beginner to Intermediate Level Bassists

    This week, Dr. D. tackles a reader’s question about incorporating classical music into his practice routine. Q: I have recently started the switch to upright bass, I have been practicing technique and working my scales (pissing off my roommates) but I want to bring a third portion to my practice and incorporate some beginner classical... »