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Performing Archives - Page 3

Stage Volume: Turn Up and Play Light (and Other Considerations)
Ask Damian Erskine

Stage Volume: Turn Up and Play Light (and Other Considerations)

Q: In hard rock and metal music, many players – including me – resort to playing with a heavy right hand to cut through the mix of distortion. As time goes by my right wrist starts to experience some pain and I’m thinking I should be playing lighter. Jeff Berlin and Gary Willis have been advocating “turn up and play...

What Makes A Great Bassist? Part 3: Defining Groove
What Makes a Great Bassist?

What Makes A Great Bassist? Part 3: Defining Groove

Photo Credit: Mika Hiironniemi As bassists, one of our main goals is to make the band groove. The only problem is that the term can be vague. Many young players that begin their quest for the elusive groove are met with descriptions like, “If you have to ask, you’ll never know.” In an effort to share ideas and bring us...

What Makes A Great Bassist? Part 2: Expressing Yourself
What Makes a Great Bassist?

What Makes A Great Bassist? Part 2: Expressing Yourself

With all the things to work on to improve ourselves, it’s easy to lose sight of why we play bass. That’s why we’ve been polling famous bassists and the community at large on what they think makes a great bassist. (Be sure to check out What Makes a Great Bassist? Part 1: Playing for the Song). For part two of...

What Makes a Great Bassist? Part 1: Playing For The Song
What Makes a Great Bassist?

What Makes a Great Bassist? Part 1: Playing For The Song

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the “hows” of bass playing: scales, chords, arpeggios, slapping, tapping, harmonics… Maybe you’re working on getting that one awesome lick just right so you can use it someday. With so much information to digest, sometimes it’s best to take a step back and remember what it is we’re actually working toward. What is...

Bass in an Acoustic Setting: Knowing How to Play Your Role
Ask Damian Erskine

Bass in an Acoustic Setting: Knowing How to Play Your Role

Q: I think I have a good suggestion for an area you may have not covered: the role of a bassist in an acoustic setting. No drummer (maybe a Djembe), just acoustic guitar, bass and vocals. How do you keep it grooving, how do you fill the space, how do you make it sound good? I’ve had to play a...

Choosing the Right Tone for the Song: On Stage and In Studio
Ask Damian Erskine

Choosing the Right Tone for the Song: On Stage and In Studio

Q: How do you decide what tone to use for different songs? A: This is a great question. And it is one that is very subjective. This will be different for everyone, but I’m happy to share my personal take on it. This is also something that may be very different live than it is in the studio. Quite often,...

Performing Live: Adapting to Your Environment
Ask Damian Erskine

Performing Live: Adapting to Your Environment

Q: I had a gig last night at a church and the room resonated right on F#. The designer of the church could not have designed it any better to mess up anybody playing F#. When I would hit an F#, it would instantly double or almost triple my output. Very crazy. I tried to remember to play it lighter...

Following the Singer: A Guide to Dealing with Rhythmically Challenged Vocalists
Ask Damian Erskine

Following the Singer: A Guide to Dealing with Rhythmically Challenged Vocalists

Q: What do you recommend when you’re tasked with accompanying a seriously rhythm-challenged vocalist? I was both music director and bassist for a recent musical review, with our band backing up a variety of vocalists. Two talented singers passed the audition with their carefully prepared selections, but with new show music, we discovered some serious rhythm challenges. Personnel changes were...

A Guide to Making the Switch Fretless Bass
Ask Damian Erskine

A Guide to Making the Switch Fretless Bass

Q: I’ve just removed the frets from my first bass, and this is my first experience with a fretless bass. What advice do you have to start out? A: There are two areas of focus for making the switch. At a glance, these might seem to contradict each other, but one applies to practicing and one applies to performance. Fretless...

On Soloing: Think Pocket, Melody, Theme, Interplay and Form
Ask Damian Erskine

On Soloing: Think Pocket, Melody, Theme, Interplay and Form

Q: During a recent performance with my bad, I was given a spot to solo in a fast, up-tempo (120 bpm) funk tune. I basically have as much time as I need to “do my thing” with only the drummer accompanying me. My question: during my solo spot, should I stay in the pocket (the song’s in E) and just...