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Exercise Archives

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

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 yourself switching around, try these...

Exercises: Thumb Position in the Lower Positions
The Lowdown with Dr. D

Exercises: Thumb Position in the Lower Positions

When many of us first learn to play in “thumb position” (using thumb on top of the fingerboard to press the string down) we begin by placing thumb on the half-string harmonic (G on the G-string, 12th fret, if we had frets). In fact, much beginning thumb position study starts here. From here, intermediate thumb position study often focuses on...

Scale Exercise in Thumb Position
The Lowdown with Dr. D

Scale Exercise in Thumb Position

When double bassists put their thumb on top of the fingerboard, rather than behind it, and use it to depress the string (just like the other fingers), we call that “thumb position.” There are a plethora of etude books and exercises to help us solidify the use of the thumb to press the string, but I’ve found a few particularly...

How To Come Up With New Groove Ideas
Ask Damian Erskine

How To Come Up With New Groove Ideas

Q: Do you have any tips for how to come up with new groove ideas? A: I spent quite a few years doing what I call “fishing”. What I mean by that is, aimlessly using different notes and rhythms hoping to stumble upon something interesting (This is especially true with my soloing back in the day, but that’s another column)....

Talking Technique: Pedalling
Talking Technique

Talking Technique: Pedalling

There are only so many hours in the day, so it’s always great to figure out ways to make the best use of your practice time. One way to get the biggest use of your practice is to combine different topics to bolster your understanding: music theory with song learning, rhythmic accuracy with slapping, phrasing with fretboard knowledge, and so...

Talking Technique: Permutation Variation
Talking Technique

Talking Technique: Permutation Variation

In the last lesson, we introduced the Permutation Exercise. This time we’ll talk about some more pattern variations to increase your dexterity. The permutation exercise can be played to drill down on lots of different fingerings that come in handy. We’ll be practicing the concept across strings and by implementing it with the whole tone and half-whole diminished scales. Be...

Talking Technique: The Permutation Exercise
Talking Technique

Talking Technique: The Permutation Exercise

To start things off in this new series, we’re going to be working on our left hand dexterity with the “Permutation Exercise”. Each finger is assigned a number: 1 for index 2 for middle 3 for ring and 4 for our pinky By practicing each variation or permutation of the numbers 1, 2, 3, and 4, we can build finger...

Left Hand Exercises and Resources for Bass Players
Ask Damian Erskine

Left Hand Exercises and Resources for Bass Players

Q: I live in Ethiopia and I am a 4th year bass student. I have some problems my left hand. Do you have advanced finger exercises? A: For this question, I’m going to point you to a variety of resources – here on No Treble, and across the web. There are a variety of stretching exercises, finger independence exercises, tendon...

A Quick Warmup for the Left Hand
The Lowdown with Dr. D

A Quick Warmup for the Left Hand

Sometimes we need to warmup in a hurry. When I need to warmup in two minutes or less I do exercises like the ones below. Some things to remember when doing these: Start slowly and speed up as you go Keep the fingers light and flexible, don’t press any harder than necessary Don’t’ go any faster than feels easy, slow...

Three Exercises for Releasing and Relaxing the Left Hand Thumb
The Lowdown with Dr. D

Three Exercises for Releasing and Relaxing the Left Hand Thumb

Keeping the thumb of our left hand flexible is a key component in achieving an agile fingering hand. Ideally, any pressure exerted by the thumb against the neck should be minimal. Below are a few exercises that should help you keep your thumb relaxed and your left hand injury free. 1. Thumb independence Pick a note, pick a finger (perhaps...