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Donovan Stokes Archives - Page 3

The Lowdown with Dr. D

The Lowdown with Dr. D.: Electric, Upright or Both?

I constantly receive questions in my email box from aspiring bassists. Unfortunately sometimes these pile up and I can’t always get to everyone’s question in a timely manner, or even send a personal response. So for the next couple of installments, I thought I would take some time here on The Lowdown and answer a few of the more common...

Bass Videos

Adams, Justus, and Stokes: Anacronymmunization

I came across this video while browsing Youtube, but I didn’t pay attention to the title and couldn’t make out who the bassist was at first. About a minute into it (and already digging it), I realized it was Donovan Stokes tearing it up on upright… as in “Dr. D.”, who writes the Lowdown column here on No Treble. This...

The Lowdown with Dr. D

Practice Technique: Note Isolation for Improved Intonation

There are countless ways to improve our intonation, both at our instrument and away from it. Here’s one strategy, to be done at our instrument, which can help open our ears and stabilize a key center. It involves isolating and spotlighting a single pitch every time it appears. The technique works well with music of any tempo. You can isolate...

The Lowdown with Dr. D

Practice Techniques: Utilizing Metronome to Improve Facility

Practicing very, very slowly One of the main advantages to playing a passage vastly under performance tempo is that you give yourself ample time to think. It is easier to plan, calculate and control your playing at slower tempi. Exactly how slowly you should practice depends on the difficulty of the passage. In general, the more difficult the passage, the...

The Lowdown with Dr. D

Practice Techniques: Add a Note

When approaching a challenging passage, one very useful technique is that of “adding a note.” Adding one note at a time is an excellent tool for improving passages technically. Many people enjoy this technique because it can usually be done at performance tempo, without slowing the passage down. When using the bow: Be sure to use the same amount of...

Events

Bass Coalition Announces Summer Workshop and Solo Competition

The Bass Coalition has announced their first annual Summer Workshop to be hosted at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virginia on June 24th through the 26th. Included in the workshop events is the live round of the Bass Coalition Solo Competition, in which the first place winner receives a prize of $1000, thanks to sponsor Shank Strings. The three day summer...

Rhythm Practice: Using Rhythms to Improve a Passage, Phrase or Lick
The Lowdown with Dr. D

Rhythm Practice: Using Rhythms to Improve a Passage, Phrase or Lick

Every so often there is a passage, phrase or “lick” that we just can’t seem to execute as well as we would like, no matter how many times we practice it under tempo. This should be a sign that we need to change our approach. Slow practice an excellent and valuable tool, but it is just one of many ways...

The Lowdown with Dr. D

Upright Slap Bass (Rockabilly/Psychobilly): Instrument Setup and Equipment

This is the final installment of Dr. D’s 3-part Slap Bass series. Check out part 1 and part 2. In addition to having its own specialized musical and technical considerations, Playing Upright Slap has its own particular instrumental setup issues. Here are some basic things slap players need to think about when customizing their bass for their specific situation. String...

The Lowdown with Dr. D

The Lowdown with Dr. D.: Upright Slap Bass: Starter tips and etudes

This is part 2 of the Upright Slap Bass series by Dr. D. Check out Part 1 and Part 3. Here are a few etudes to help you improve your slapping. We will use a two octave G blues scale (6 note version) as our starting point. You can use any scale, arpeggio or lick you want, but this is...

The Lowdown with Dr. D

The Lowdown with Dr. D.: Upright Slap Bass (Rockabilly/Psychobilly etc.) – Intro: part 1 of 3

In my opinion, one of the more interesting things you can do on the Upright these days is Slap it! Beyond it’s hipitude, it is a legitimate technique, just like arco (bow) and pizzicato (plucked), and it can make you more employable if you master it. So let’s take a look at the technique. What is Upright Slap Bass? (in...