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Fretboard Knowledge Archives

Intervallic Exploration for Bass
Ask Damian Erskine

Intervallic Exploration for Bass

This week, we’re diving into the topic of getting to know (and map out across the fretboard) every interval on the bass. We’ll also focus on ways to try and turn them into licks and melodic patterns that you probably wouldn’t have thought of otherwise.

Do You Always Hear What You Play Before You Play It?
Ask Damian Erskine

Do You Always Hear What You Play Before You Play It?

Q: Do you always hear what you play before you play it? I know a lot of players sing what they play, do some of them actually hear the melodies first? Or are they singing along in real time and following themselves? A: Interesting question. Everyone will have varying levels of relative/perfect pitch, as well as varying levels of fretboard...

Learning the Fretboard Without Getting Bored
Ask Damian Erskine

Learning the Fretboard Without Getting Bored

Q: I’m wondering how to develop an expanded knowledge of the fingerboard without falling into a rut. I have been working on “Straight, No Chaser” for a couple of months. I know I should bifurcate my practice time to learn tunes I like and add melodic and technical ideas to my “bag of tricks.” However, I still see the value...

Creative Bass Lines: Increasing Fingerboard Knowledge – Part 3: Minor Arpeggios
Creative Bass Lines

Creative Bass Lines: Increasing Fingerboard Knowledge – Part 3: Minor Arpeggios

Continuing our series on increasing fingerboard knowledge, here’s the accompanying Minor Arpeggio Exercises to play all across the fingerboard. This is the same principle as the Major types. I’ve given you a number of variations to try, and you’ll see this gives you more options when playing over a minor chord type. As usual, practice everything slowly, paying partucular attention...

Creative Bass Lines: Increasing Fingerboard Knowledge – Part 2: Arpeggios, Major 7ths & Beyond!
Creative Bass Lines

Creative Bass Lines: Increasing Fingerboard Knowledge – Part 2: Arpeggios, Major 7ths & Beyond!

We have not one, but two lessons for you this month! In this lesson, I’ll talk you through major 7th, then 9th, ?11th and 13th arpeggios, which follows part one (“Triad Visualization”). I am a firm believer in learning these concepts in multiple ways/fingerings – it all goes to increase our overall knowledge of the fingerboard, and that’s a good...

Creative Bass Lines: Increasing Fingerboard Knowledge – Part 1: Triad Visualization
Creative Bass Lines

Creative Bass Lines: Increasing Fingerboard Knowledge – Part 1: Triad Visualization

This column finds us looking not at bass line creation, but some solid foundation ideas that help to increase knowledge of the fingerboard. We are going to start with some easy stuff and ramp up over the next few installments! The concepts in the video are a good place to start. There’s no transcription, as I want you to work...

Talking Technique: Pull Off Pentatonics
Talking Technique

Talking Technique: Pull Off Pentatonics

Pentatonics using hammer-ons and pull-offs sounds great, but maybe you have noticed that if you stay within the same pentatonic pattern, you can only hammer on certain notes. In an effort to go beyond that, we are stringing two pentatonic patterns together so that we can pull off pull offs from every single note. I’ll show you two major pentatonic...

Memorizing the Fretboard: A Checklist for Bass Players
Ask Damian Erskine

Memorizing the Fretboard: A Checklist for Bass Players

Q: I’m just starting out and was wondering if you had any tips for memorizing the fingerboard? A: This is one of those columns where I need to preface my answer by saying “your mileage may vary.” Personally, I was lucky. I started working on reading notation from day one. I still think that reading music is the best way...

Learning the Double Bass Fingerboard
The Lowdown with Dr. D

Learning the Double Bass Fingerboard

I received this question recently via Facebook: “How can someone become more familiar with the fingerboard? I can find the positions on my bass pretty easily, but sometimes I have trouble knowing exactly what notes are in that position across the strings. Thank you!” I’m so glad you are looking to solidify your knowledge of the fingerboard! There is certainly...

Learning Notes Versus Patterns
Ask Damian Erskine

Learning Notes Versus Patterns

Q: Recently I’ve been struggling with scale degrees and chords. Right now I practice my scales using in 3rds, 4ths, 5ths, etc. However my problem is being able to name the notes of the scale because for the most part I have memorized scales based on patterns (like how playing E major is the same as A major, just on...