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  • Talking Technique: Tapping into Tapping

    Talking Technique: Tapping into Tapping

    Today we’re talking tapping! I get a lot of questions about tapping because of Oon, my duo with bassoonist Paul Hanson. I get to play chords, melodies, and grooves – sometimes at the same time. Tapping is a helpful technique to expand the possibilities of the bass, but it must be used with taste! Function... »

  • Bass Transcription: Bob West’s Bass Line on Odetta’s “Hit or Miss”

    Bass Transcription: Bob West’s Bass Line on Odetta’s “Hit or Miss”

    Something I notice when listening to inexperienced bassists is that they often tend to line up all of their technical ideas, one after another, when creating a bass line. It’s similar to a chef using all their spices to make just one dish. Most of us will learn with experience that less is not only... »

  • Talking Style: Prince’s “Uptown”

    Talking Style: Prince’s “Uptown”

    It has now been one week since my hero passed away. Like everyone else on the planet I am still in great shock and disbelief. Even though I had another episode “in the can” and ready to go I thought that it would be most fitting to share with you the first bass line that... »

  • Bass Transcription: Gheorghe Postoronca’s “Crazy Train”

    Bass Transcription: Gheorghe Postoronca’s “Crazy Train”

    “Crazy Train” by bassist Gheorghe Postoronca was right at the top of my list of pieces to transcribe this month. In fact, regular readers of my column might have noticed an absence of transcriptions recently, and this is purely because this piece took so long to get written down! It’s a solo bass piece that... »

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  • Advanced Bass: Stitt & Trane Blues

    Advanced Bass: Stitt & Trane Blues

    The Blues is one of the major building blocks for jazz and improvised music, making it a logical starting point for applying your improvisational concepts. The problem exists when people learn some concepts and then attempt to jam along with no specific goals in mind. This is a big mistake! In this lesson, we’ll cover... »

  • Talking Technique: Pedal to the Metal

    Talking Technique: Pedal to the Metal

    Today’s lesson is all about building cool grooves using the pentatonic scale with pedal tones, a technique often found in heavy metal. We’ll use a G minor pentatonic scale in the first area of the bass (more on that in the video). To create the pedal effect, we’ll be playing the root of the scale... »

  • Bass Transcription: Scotty Edwards’s Bass Line on Hall & Oates’s “Rich Girl”

    Bass Transcription: Scotty Edwards’s Bass Line on Hall & Oates’s “Rich Girl”

    Often as bassists we become so concerned with notes, rhythm, and locking in with our drummer that we forget the other important aspects of groove that can impact the listener equally as much. Articulation contributes greatly to groove and expression and can be employed to create contrast, add texture, and propel a song forward. I... »

  • Talking Technique: Killer Dead Note Grooves

    Talking Technique: Killer Dead Note Grooves

    Dead notes are percussive effects that can really liven up a groove. There are a variety of ways to create them, including left-hand muting, right-hand percussion, and left-hand percussion. For this lesson we examine how dead notes (and silence) affect the groove. As is often the case, a good way to begin practicing them is... »

  • Talking Style: The Tresillo Rhythm

    Talking Style: The Tresillo Rhythm

    The tresillo is derived from the fundamental Latin music groove called “habenera”. It can also be thought of as a variation on the Afro-Cuban son clave. Ragtime pianist and composer Jelly Roll Morton famously called the tresillo that “Spanish tinge” that is a necessary ingredient for New Orleans jazz. The prominence of the tresillo in... »

  • Talking Technique: Tetrachord Workout

    Talking Technique: Tetrachord Workout

    Similar to our last lesson, we’re working on exercises designed to shed your scales and build your technique at the same time. This time we’re focusing on tetrachords, which are four-note groups found within scales. You can also turn these exercises into speed training exercises by adding a few beats every time you play, but... »