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Bass Lesson Archives - Page 17

The Lowdown with Dr. D

The Lowdown with Dr. D.: Three Requirements of Attainment (Part 1 of 3: Method)

Presumably we are all searching for mastery on our instrument, and yet some people spend years playing and studying the Upright Bass and achieve very little, whereas others spend a quarter of the time and achieve a great deal. In keeping with my “getting started” theme of late, and to ensure that we fall into the latter group, it would...

Bass Lessons

Lesson: Fundamental technical approaches to bass

We’re starting a new video lesson series by Jon Burr today. This week’s lesson focuses on fundamental technical approaches: balance, approaching the whole fingerboard, staying clear of the body of the bass, playing by sound and feel rather than visual cues; energy vectors in the hand. Be sure to check out Jon’s book, The Untold Secret to Melodic Bass, available...

Oppositional Structures in Melodic Construction: Imaginary Chords
Bass Lessons

Oppositional Structures in Melodic Construction: Imaginary Chords

Bass players need to become familiar with the principles of melodic construction for the creation of bass lines as well as solo lines. One such principle is “oppositionality,” which we’ve talked about in previous columns. Oppositionality is the usage of non-harmonic tones to create tension and release against the underlying harmonic environment, contrasting against specific harmonic tones (targets). Some devices...

Transcriptions in 6 Steps
Bass Lessons

Transcriptions in 6 Steps

There comes a time in every player’s life where you have to make the next big step in your practice methods: you must do some transcriptions. Suppress your groans, it is not as bad as you think, and it is an immensely useful practice tool. There’s a reason why every player, teacher and book about serious jazz practice recommends it....

Bass Lessons

Dynamics and accents: Walking

Yes, accents are good. Dynamics are good. Good pitch, dynamics, note choice and use of register are the icing on the musical cake; they separate the artist from the journeyman. Today we’re going to look at accents in walking bass. Accents are the bones of propulsion. How do we use them to best effect? What beats should be accented? We...

Bass Lessons

Lesson: Pattern Recognition in Jazz Standards

Believe it or not pattern recognition is extremely important to being a successful jazz player. There are a few common chord progressions that will pop up in many tunes – having an arsenal of lines or phrases for these different pattern sets can save your neck on the bandstand if you don’t know the tune. In this lesson we’ll go...

Bass Lessons

Lesson: Accents, Dynamics and Balance

We’ve probably heard the word “dynamic” used to describe the work of musicians from time to time. It’s a compliment. Dynamic equals ‘interesting.’Changes in energy and intensity communicate feeling and add contrast to performance, and can add a sense of momentum and “swing.” Music without dynamics is dull; it sounds mechanical; without the injection of human energy, it might as...

Bass Lessons

Melodic Line Construction: “Oppositionality”

When we hear the word “line” in the context of “bass line” or “melody line” we tend to think in terms of scales and/or chord tones as we are learning theory. This is good. There is a further level of thought about lines that has to do with the notes not in the scales or chords; the use of non-chord,...

Bass Lessons

Right-hand technique for upright bass: pizzicato

There is no “one way” to play pizzicato. There are a few principles to bear in mind that are helpful no matter what technique we use. The main idea we need to communicate is that the left hand does most of the work in sound generation. Playing hard with the right hand can be counterproductive, causing injury and choking the...

Building Dexterity on the Bass
Bass Lessons

Building Dexterity on the Bass

While it is always important to have a strong theoretical backing and intellectual depth to your music there are times where you just need to focus on your chops. You can have the coolest idea ever, but if you don’t have the dexterity and agility to move freely and quickly around the fingerboard you won’t get anywhere. These drills are...