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Gigging Archives - Page 6

Learning a Tune “On the Spot”
The Lowdown with Dr. D

Learning a Tune “On the Spot”

Last week I received a question about how to memorize a tune fast: “…For example, [bassist] playing a jazz tune you’ve never played before with a pianist as they shout out the changes for one chorus, then stop for the second. How can we develop skills to memorize these changes instantly?” No doubt the situation you describe can be stressful,...

The Lightbulb Moment: It’s All in Your Head(space)
The Lightbulb Moment

The Lightbulb Moment: It’s All in Your Head(space)

“Um, hey guys… excuse me… guys?!… Can you turn it down a little?” I glance behind me at the drummer and our eyes meet with the same surprised expression. He can’t be serious, right? We’re not playing rock and roll here… the drummer has yet to play with sticks instead of brushes, the keyboard player is running through a small...

The Lightbulb Moment: Never Have I Ever…
The Lightbulb Moment

The Lightbulb Moment: Never Have I Ever…

Ah, there’s nothing like a 4:30 load in for a 7pm show. At a local club. With backline. That means that you arrive at the gig, hope that all of the other band members show up, watch the soundman set up the stage, and do a quick check before the doors open. In other words, hurry up and wait. This...

Should I Use an Amp, a Monitor or In-Ears?
Ask Damian Erskine

Should I Use an Amp, a Monitor or In-Ears?

Q: I want to choose a new rig. I’m quite happy with my basses and my effects I own at the moment, and I am searching now for a way to amplify my signal. I have a very good, portable upper-middle-class halfstack, but I can rarely use it because I often do small gigs and it is a little bit...

Learning Songs Note for Note vs. Doing Your Own Thing
Ask Damian Erskine

Learning Songs Note for Note vs. Doing Your Own Thing

Q: I have been playing bass for a while now and when I play covers, I usually create my own lines for the song (unless it is an integral part of the song, like “Another One Bites The Dust”). I tend not to worry about learning the original bass line. Lately, I have been thinking that my approach may be...

Multiple Basses or Just One? A Discussion for Working Bass Players
Ask Damian Erskine

Multiple Basses or Just One? A Discussion for Working Bass Players

Q: I’m a fairly busy bass player working with five or six different bands ranging from funk to soul to hip-hop/neo-soul to jazz to disco to metal and a few function bands which encompass just about everything else! For the last four years, I’ve mainly used one sound (neck pickup, flatwound strings) on one bass for everything. But I recently...

The Lightbulb Moment: Antici…pation
The Lightbulb Moment

The Lightbulb Moment: Antici…pation

It’s 6:57pm. I made it — and with three minutes to spare! Sixty minutes ago, I was at work, way across town, biting my fingernails as I shut down my computer for the day and ran out of the office. Thankfully, the traffic gods smiled upon me and aside from a few inescapable red lights, I managed to weave my...

Increasing Concentration for Focused Practice and Performance
Ask Damian Erskine

Increasing Concentration for Focused Practice and Performance

Q: I play at a semi-professional level. I work a regular 9-to 5-job and play in the evenings. I am lucky enough that I get a few hours every evening to just shed and work on my playing and lately I’ve been doing a lot of classical etudes to work on technique and maintain my reading chops. My question is...

The Lightbulb Moment: You Make It Look Easy
The Lightbulb Moment

The Lightbulb Moment: You Make It Look Easy

“Are you ready for bed?” “Yes, mom.” “Did you pick out a book to read?” “Yes!” “Did you brush your teeth?” “Ye-es” (with a slightly sarcastic tone). Twenty-odd years later and I’m still brushing my teeth, as I’m likely to do for another twenty years, and hopefully another twenty after that. Needless to say, I’m well practiced in the art...

Right Hand Endurance for Bass Players
Ask Damian Erskine

Right Hand Endurance for Bass Players

Q: I’d like to ask something about right hand endurance. I’m playing in two metal bands, so some of our songs are rather fast-paced (I play 95% of the time with a pick). When rehearsing, everything seems just okay – no problems. But when playing live, my right tends to get this irregular muscular tension, and after a short bit...

The Importance of Cooling Down After Playing
The Lowdown with Dr. D

The Importance of Cooling Down After Playing

Most musicians are aware of the importance of warming up. Warming up properly helps to prevent injuries, and increases our ease of play. It can even help solidify our technique and ensure we play at our best that day. Fewer musicians, however, seem aware of the benefits of cooling down. Playing the bass for hours on end can be physically...

Making a Living in Music
The Lowdown with Dr. D

Making a Living in Music

I get a lot of questions from aspiring musicians on how to make a career in music. There isn’t one answer to this, and everyone’s circumstances are different. However, below are some of my more general suggestions for those considering a life in music. Specialize I’m usually talking to upright bassists, so I generally suggest they become the “go to”...