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Janek Gwizdala Publishes “All The Good Stuff – How I Practice” Instructional eBook
Sheet Music & Instruction

Janek Gwizdala Publishes “All The Good Stuff – How I Practice” Instructional eBook

Janek Gwizdala has a new instructional book out. All the Good Stuff – How I Practice revolves around his practice regimen, and the book is full on getting the most out of your instrument, your hands and your ears. Gwizdala dives into more than practicing with tips on getting focused, inspiration, pacing, and finding solutions to musical problems. It’s filled...

Connecting Written Rhythms to Your Bass Playing
Ask Damian Erskine

Connecting Written Rhythms to Your Bass Playing

Q: I can read the notes on the staff and I can tell you if it’s a 16th note or a whole note, and yet, I can’t seem to play the rhythm. Any advice on fixing this? A: As I’ve said before, learning to read music fluently takes a lot of practice, just like learning to speak a new language....

Getting Comfortable with Odd Time Signatures
Ask Damian Erskine

Getting Comfortable with Odd Time Signatures

Q: Lately I’ve been finding myself in situations where tunes with odd time signatures are called up on gigs. I’m finding it a challenge to switch gears on the fly and be able to come up with a grooving bass line and not lose the one. How do you handle – and prepare – for these types of situations? A:...

Intonation or Feel? Practicing Scales Purposefully
Ask Damian Erskine

Intonation or Feel? Practicing Scales Purposefully

Q: I was wondering what I need to pay attention to when practicing. It’s easy to learn a scale, or to play chord tones, but what should I really pay attention to hearing more? Should that be a focus on the tones, or the difference in intonation or the “feel” between them? A: The short answer is this: You have...

Achieving Rock Solid Time on Bass
Ask Damian Erskine

Achieving Rock Solid Time on Bass

Q: I was wondering if you could touch on the topic of time, the most important part of being a bassist. Are there ways to get rock solid time anywhere from 60 bpm to 300 bpm other than just playing with a metronome? If so what do you suggest? A: Aside from my usual answers: a) repetition (hundreds of hours...

How Much Should I Practice?
The Lowdown with Dr. D

How Much Should I Practice?

This is a question I get often from both serious students and amateurs alike. Since the answer depends on a person’s goals, and every person is unique, there is no single answer for everyone. However, I can make some general suggestions. My suggestions will presuppose a few things: You practice on a regular basis Daily, 6-7 days a week. This...

From the Shed to the Stage: Translating Practice to Performance
Ask Damian Erskine

From the Shed to the Stage: Translating Practice to Performance

Q: I’m having a difficult applying what I’ve learned into playing. When I play, my fingers can’t seem to do what they did when I practiced. Is there any suggestion to making things stick? A: The first word that pops into my head is repetition. Lines, licks and harmonic devices – such as arpeggios, scales and so on – need...

Connecting Chords: A Guide to Playing Fluid Bass Lines
Ask Damian Erskine

Connecting Chords: A Guide to Playing Fluid Bass Lines

Q: I would like to ask about voicing/phrases on bass when it comes to chord progressions. How should I step into the next chord when I’m phrasing the actual one? Should I try walking lines? Are there any standard licks that can bring the feel of translating to a next chord? Or they are all built on the same concept...

Getting the Most Out of Music Books
Ask Damian Erskine

Getting the Most Out of Music Books

Q: Do you think you could run through / give some examples of how to make use of rhythm books like Modern Reading Text In 4/4, and theory books like Jazz Theory by Mark Levine or Thesaurus of Scales and Melodic Patterns by Nicolas Slominsky? A: Nice selection of books! Generally speaking, my approach is to combine any rhythm exercises...

Grouping Multiple Notes Into a Single Action/Thought
The Lowdown with Dr. D

Grouping Multiple Notes Into a Single Action/Thought

When playing at slow speeds we can concentrate on our physical movements for every single note we play. However, this becomes impractical at high rates of speed. When playing at high speed it helps to group notes, and motions, together into a single action. The number of notes we can combine will depend on the requirements of the specific passage,...

Building Confidence: Thoughts for Bass Players
Ask Damian Erskine

Building Confidence: Thoughts for Bass Players

Q: I’m a 16 year old bassist from England, and I’ve been playing for around three years. Ive been told I am very good for my age but I struggle with my confidence sometimes. One day I want to be as good as yourself or people like Janek Gwizdala, Marcus Miller or Victor Victor Wooten, but I think I put...

Soloing on Bass: What Do You Think About?
Ask Damian Erskine

Soloing on Bass: What Do You Think About?

Q: What should one be thinking when soloing? Do you simply hum the melody in your head or do you think of the solfege/scale degree at the same time? I try to sing the solfeggi, but when it comes to some scalar sequences or faster phrases, I feel like my head might explode. But if I stop singing the solfeggi,...