the online magazine for bass players

Search Menu
  • Talking Style: New Jack Swing Part 2 – Poison

    Talking Style: New Jack Swing Part 2 – Poison

    Bell Biv Devoe’s “Poison” is one song from the New Jack Swing era of R&B that has certainly stood the test of time. People who weren’t even living when the song was brand new hit dance and sing to it like it came out yesterday. Two really cool things about this bass groove are that... »

  • Bass Transcription: Jimmy Johnson’s Bass Line on Allan Holdsworth’s “Spokes”

    Bass Transcription: Jimmy Johnson’s Bass Line on Allan Holdsworth’s “Spokes”

    Today I’ll pay tribute to one of my bass heroes: Jimmy Johnson. His versatility always amazes me. He plays smooth jazz with his band Flim & the BB’s, he holds down the groove with James Taylor, and he always keeps the group together under complex harmonies with Allan Holdsworth. Johnson has a unique voice on... »

  • Advanced Bass: How to Use Melodic Quotes in Your Solos

    Advanced Bass: How to Use Melodic Quotes in Your Solos

    The use of melodic quotation is prolific within the genre of jazz and its related modern styles. In this lesson, we’ll cover how to use melodic quotes in your solos and breakdown some of the commonalities used by many great jazz masters. Applying this to two choruses of a B♭ blues progression, we’ll take a... »

  • Talking Technique: Drills for Fills – Applied

    Talking Technique: Drills for Fills – Applied

    In episode 22, we introduced a way of practicing scales that uses intervals rather than going up and down the scales themselves. We went over thirds, which gives you great materials for runs, fills, and solos. Someone asked in the comments if I could give some examples of how to use the material in a... »

  • Get the latest bass news!

    Subscribe to the No Treble Update

  • Talking Style: New Jack Swing

    Talking Style: New Jack Swing

    “New Jack Swing” is an era of R&B that mixed jazz, pop and electronic dance music sensibilities with hip-hop production techniques. The “sound”, pioneered by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis (former keyboardist and bassist for the Time) and Teddy Riley consists largely of synthesized bass lines, swung hip-hop beats created by the TR-808 drum machine... »

  • Creative Bass Lines: Beat Displacement

    Creative Bass Lines: Beat Displacement

    Here we have the second installment of the Creative Bass Lines, and this month, it’s “Bass Gruv”. For this we’re looking at a Headhunters-esque bass groove I wrote. This would fit the harmony of an E dominant 7th chord, or for a crunchier sound, try setting up a vamp with an E7♯9, too. I wanted... »

  • Talking Technique: The Pistol Grip

    Talking Technique: The Pistol Grip

    If you’ve been following this column for a while, you know we place a lot of emphasis on the details of good technique, including the left hand. Sometimes, though, we go to see our favorite bass players and they have the “pistol grip”. So is it really necessary to use one finger per fret and... »

  • Talking Style: G-Funk – Part 2

    Talking Style: G-Funk – Part 2

    I want to continue the “G-Funk” exploration in this episode by taking a look at the 1995 cut “Safe & Sound” by DJ Quik. This song is a prime example of having a part from a record re-played as opposed to sampling it. This gives the producer so much more freedom in terms of what... »

  • Bass Transcription: Jaco Pastorius’s Bass Line on Weather Report’s “Night Passage”

    Bass Transcription: Jaco Pastorius’s Bass Line on Weather Report’s “Night Passage”

    Today we will be tackling Jaco Pastorius’s bass line on the title track from Weather Report’s 1980 album, Night Passage. This is one of the best Weather Report albums. To me, it always sounds fresh and modern, like a timeless record. The group also includes drummer Peter Erskine and percussionist Robert Thomas Jr, who sound... »

  • Talking Technique: Drills for Fills

    Talking Technique: Drills for Fills

    Everyone loves a perfectly placed fill. That’s why today we’ll be going over scalar exercises that will help us create those tasty licks while beefing up our technique. In essence, we’re practicing a scale. Typically when you play a scale, you go from root to root in order. But we’re going to break it down... »