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Fretboard Archives

Ask Damian Erskine

What Fingerings Should I Use for the Modes?

A reader sent Damian a note this week saying he's just starting to learn modes on the bass but is struggling with the finger patterns. He asked for help, and Damian decided to make this week’s column a video demonstration on the topic.

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...

Ask Damian Erskine

Dealing with Dead Spots on the Fretboard

Q: I’ve played a Fender ’61 Anniversary Precision the last year or so. It sounds great and is very comfortable to play, but I have drama with the G note on the E string being noticeably “plonky” sounding. A slight truss rod adjustment clockwise moves this down a semi tone. I’m fearing a dead spot… I’ve had a few guys...

Bass Lessons

Fast Fretboard Position Shifting on Bass

Here’s a lesson I’d consider more beginner/intermediate-level, but it is a great refresher for all of us. Many times, we have to play a line which requires some quick shifting along the fretboard. Here’s a simple exercise for fast position shifts. Follow along with the video.

Sheet Music & Instruction

Bass Fretboard Workbook: Essential Music Principles and Concepts for Fretboard Mastery

Hal Leonard announced a few new bass-focused books at this year’s NAMM Show, including a new one by author Chad Johnson. For many bassists, complete fretboard knowledge is lacking. Bass Fretboard Workbook – Essential Music Principles and Concepts for Fretboard Mastery was written to overcome these unknown spots with Johnson’s method for becoming comfortable with the whole neck. The method...

Getting to Know Your Bass

Getting to Know Your Bass: All About the Neck

In part one of Getting to Know Your Bass, we discussed the importance of knowing what the tone knobs do on your instrument. Now, we’ll continue our discussion by learning about how your instrument’s neck influences where, what and how you play. We’ll begin with scale length and how it may impact your tone or musical choices. Then, we’ll get...