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  • Talking Technique: Whole Tone Riffin’

    Talking Technique: Whole Tone Riffin’

    The whole tone scale is a really interesting scale. Unlike our major and pentatonic scales, it’s built out of all whole steps making it sound a little bit eerie and bright. Because the scale is symmetrical, it does not sound like it has a beginning or an end. Another neat fact is that there are... »

  • Talking Technique: Switching Drills for 4, 5, and 6 String Basses

    Talking Technique: Switching Drills for 4, 5, and 6 String Basses

    Switch much? If you find yourself switching between four-, five- and six-string basses a lot, or even just between different bass models, here’s a lesson for getting comfortable with whatever bass, fast. Playing different instruments is like driving a different brand new car. It takes time to get comfortable and settle in. If you find... »

  • Bass Transcription: Mattia La Maida’s Solo Bass Arrangement of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition”

    Bass Transcription: Mattia La Maida’s Solo Bass Arrangement of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition”

    The first thing we have to consider to play this arrangement is the accents. The trick is to emphasize the 2nd and 4th movement, just as a drummer would do with the snare drum. To do this use the “strum” technique (think Stanley Clarke in School Days), accenting the 2nd and 4th movement where I... »

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  • Bass Transcription: Trevor Bolder’s Bass Line on “Changes” by David Bowie

    Bass Transcription: Trevor Bolder’s Bass Line on “Changes” by David Bowie

    Since 1963, David Bowie worked with many bands as both singer and instrumentalist, and he had released several unsuccessful singles under his own name before “Space Oddity” became his first substantial hit. The song reached number five in the UK in 1969. Bowie’s first two albums (both confusingly called David Bowie) had been recorded using... »

  • Talking Technique: Sweet Emotion

    Talking Technique: Sweet Emotion

    There’s nothing like starting a song with a cool bass riff. “Sweet Emotion” by Aerosmith shines a light on the bass for sure! At the very top, we set the tone. To play this riff correctly and in time right out of the box is what it’s all about. How to approach learning something like... »

  • Bass Transcription: Colin Moulding’s Bass Line on XTC’s “Senses Working Overtime”

    Bass Transcription: Colin Moulding’s Bass Line on XTC’s “Senses Working Overtime”

    The three founding members of XTC, bassist Colin Moulding, drummer Terry Chambers and guitarist/vocalist Andy Partridge, initially got together in 1972, calling the band ‘The Helium Kidz’. They took some of their early influence from The New York Dolls and attached themselves to the developing ‘glam rock’ scene that was popular in the UK at... »

  • Talking Technique: The Pinky Workout

    Talking Technique: The Pinky Workout

    Is the pinky your weak link? If it is, you are not alone. The pinky and ring finger share a tendon. Either of those fingers prefers moving in tandem, rather than on their own, so it is a good idea to isolate them. As for the pinky, it is also the weakest of the bunch.... »

  • Talking Technique: Bach for Two (In Three)

    Talking Technique: Bach for Two (In Three)

    In episode 43, we looked at an easy piano piece that was arranged for two basses. This is a great exercise because it works on your reading and your technique. Bach’s bass lines are typically challenging and push us as bassists to hone our chops. This time we’re checking out the Minuet in B♭ (though... »

  • Talking Technique: Got Dexterity?

    Talking Technique: Got Dexterity?

    Let’s go to the gym. The bass-finger gym that is! This work out practices one-finger-per-fret with elaborate string crossings. I have plenty of tips for you to succeed if one-finger-per-fret is hard for you. As always, this only works if you stay relaxed, move as little as possible and keep your fingers close to the... »

  • Bass Transcription: Graham Maby’s Bass Line on Joe Jackson’s “Is She Really Going Out With Him?”

    Bass Transcription: Graham Maby’s Bass Line on Joe Jackson’s “Is She Really Going Out With Him?”

    Joe Jackson has had a similar career to that of Elvis Costello, first coming to prominence in the “New Wave” era in the late 1970s, and then diversifying into a broader variety of musical styles as he became more established. The initial success of singles such as “Is She Really Going Out with Him?” (1978)... »