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Practice Archives - Page 3

Talking Technique: Feeling Rusty?
Talking Technique

Talking Technique: Feeling Rusty?

So you haven’t gotten to touch your bass in a while. It happens! We all have those times where we don’t get time with our bass for extended periods. When we get the bass in our hands again, our gut instinct is to get all our fast chops back, but that’s not such a great idea. The way to get...

Making Practice Meaningful
Ask Damian Erskine

Making Practice Meaningful

Q: I have a shelf full of instructional books, methods, transcriptions, etc., but I feel like they don’t actually help at all. I just play through things and while I feel like I practiced, I don’t really see how any of that stuff is helping. Any thoughts? A: I know exactly how you feel. It took me a long time...

When You Can’t Get To It All In Practice Sessions
The Lowdown with Dr. D

When You Can’t Get To It All In Practice Sessions

One of our No Treble readers has this to say: I understand how to structure my practice, but I’m still having trouble figuring out how to set up practice sessions because I have so much stuff to work on. I’m a bit frustrated. Do you have any suggestions? The first thing I’d suggest is to check out this column on...

Practice Slow/Practice Fast
The Lowdown with Dr. D

Practice Slow/Practice Fast

“Slow practice is fast practice” they say. To be sure, slow practice is a powerful strategy. Used by itself, however, it is incomplete. Ultimately, to perform fast passages well, we will need to have practiced them at full speed. In fact, if we are not careful, solely practicing a passage under tempo can drive us into a rut. It can...

A Quick Left Hand Warmup
The Lowdown with Dr. D

A Quick Left Hand Warmup

Most people are aware of the importance of warming up before we practice or perform. A slow warmup can protect against injury and help to ensure we are performing at our optimum level. In situations where time is short, however, it can be tempting to forgo the warmup portion of the day. When I am pressed for time, I sometimes...

Making the Switch from 4- to 5-String Bass
Ask Damian Erskine

Making the Switch from 4- to 5-String Bass

Q: I have recently made the move from 4-string to 5-string bass. I love the extended range (my bass is tuned E-C), but I’m finding I need to add more practice time to accommodate the additional string. There were exercises that I played on 4 strings and I am now expanding that to include the additional string/range. I can see...

Motivation for Practicing
Ask Damian Erskine

Motivation for Practicing

Q: I have days where I feel like I’m the worst player on the planet, and I have no drive to practice even though I should be. Do you have any tips for practicing/motivation on off-days? A: I’ve written about this in one form or another in past columns. I’ve often recommended finding something (that you really like) to transcribe...

Introduction to Chromatic Scales
The Lowdown with Dr. D

Introduction to Chromatic Scales

For many bassists, the chromatic scale is an underused resource in their practice toolkit. Properly approached, practicing chromatic scales can vastly improve our shifting, intonation and mental map of the fingerboard. Below are a few beginner exercises using the chromatic scale that I find to be useful for those just becoming more familiar with it. Single string 1 8va chromatic...

How to Change Up Your Practice Routine When You Don’t Feel Like Practicing
Ask Damian Erskine

How to Change Up Your Practice Routine When You Don’t Feel Like Practicing

Q: What does one do about practice when you just don’t feel like playing and can’t get into it? Do you walk away for a few days or force yourself to play? A: Everyone likely has a different approach, but I have a few things that I try to do before throwing in the towel and taking a break. But...

Singing While Playing? A Discussion for Bass Players
Ask Damian Erskine

Singing While Playing? A Discussion for Bass Players

Q: I’ve been reading your columns with great interest for the last year or so, but here’s a question I haven’t seen addressed yet: How do different bass players approach the problem of playing and singing at the same time? I’ve been playing for going on forty years now – both professionally and as a weekend warrior – and this...

The Lightbulb Moment: Man VS Metronome
The Lightbulb Moment

The Lightbulb Moment: Man VS Metronome

Scales, scales, scales. Why does my teacher always make me play scales? If I have to play the C Major scale one more time, I think I’ll puke. And with a metronome? Why can’t I just learn songs and jam with my friends? Ah, the war between playing and practicing. I know this battlefield well; the metronome is always outnumbered...

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...