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Practice Archives - Page 7

Types of Listening: Three Approaches for Bass Players
Ask Damian Erskine

Types of Listening: Three Approaches for Bass Players

Q: How do you hear music, as in a critical method of hearing? How can your playing or musicality get better just by hearing a certain genre or style? Do you perhaps hear a piano comping and try to do the same if you are digging it? A: The answer to this question could fill a book, for sure. It...

Playing Bass… Slow
The Lowdown with Dr. D

Playing Bass… Slow

Every bassist, at some point, wants to learn to play fast. This is a reasonable technical goal to have, of course. Much music demands this sort of technical facility. Furthermore, if we want to be able to truly express ourselves musically, we must have this ability. However, fast playing isn’t everything, in fact it’s only one tool in our box....

Playing Bass… Fast
The Lowdown with Dr. D

Playing Bass… Fast

At some point most bassists want be able to play “fast.” The question that usually arises is obvious: “How?” The most common barriers to being able play quickly on upright bass are: Poor bass setup Inefficient technique. (Too much tension, etc.) Lack of stamina Lack of familiarity with the passage, tune, line, etc. (Trying to play a passage too fast...

How to Build Muscle Memory: A List for Bass Players
Ask Damian Erskine

How to Build Muscle Memory: A List for Bass Players

Q: I hear everybody talking about “muscle memory”, i.e. being able to play without looking at the fingerboard. How do you get there? Any special advice or exercises, especially for fretless? A: Muscle memory is crucial to your development as a player. I also consider the ability to use harmonic devices (like substations and different chord scales) a type of...

Focused Learning: A Bass Player’s Guide to Practice and Rehearsals
Ask Damian Erskine

Focused Learning: A Bass Player’s Guide to Practice and Rehearsals

Q: I’d like your advice on what a bassist should be thinking during a practice session or when learning new material? What do you think about during those times? What should I be thinking? A: This question struck me as interesting. Primarily, I think it’s because it relates to a conversation I recently had with a student with regard to...

Discovering the Right Practice Routine
Ask Damian Erskine

Discovering the Right Practice Routine

Q: Some people stand strongly by the notion of having a true practice routine while others claim that routines stunt growth, because the same thing is being practiced each day (e.g. scale modes in broken thirds with such-and-such technique striving for X bpm). Will you please elaborate on what a routine is and how to create one that keeps one...

Makers of the Melody: Part 2 – Soloing
I Wish I Knew That

Makers of the Melody: Part 2 – Soloing

Bass solo! Bass solo! The bandleader points his finger at you, giving you the okay and hushing the rest of the band. Great. Now what? We’re not the guitar player… we haven’t worked on Hendrix licks or memorizing the solo section to “Freebird”. We can’t just crank up the distortion or create mesmerizing soundscapes with our pedals. We’re the bass...

Easy Experimentation for Artistic Growth in Improvisation
The Lowdown with Dr. D

Easy Experimentation for Artistic Growth in Improvisation

Students of improvisation are often looking for the quickest way to learn vast amounts of new material, all while sounding great immediately. Oftentimes this translates into playing a large number of tunes for a few minutes each. In the short term, such practice sessions can be helpful. This is especially true if we need to learn a great deal of...

Makers of the Melody: Part 1
I Wish I Knew That

Makers of the Melody: Part 1

As we begin our journey as bass players, we are drawn to particular types of grooves. Perhaps our ears perk up with a soulful R&B line, the sound of a walking upright, or a rock tune where the bass is pedaling the roots. Many of us are intrigued by vibrant staccato grooves, the slaps and pops of 70’s funk, or...

Improving Vibrato Control: A Guide for Bassists
The Lowdown with Dr. D

Improving Vibrato Control: A Guide for Bassists

If the first step in acquiring control of our vibrato is to obtain a smooth motion that we can turn on or off at will, then the next step is to gain control over the speed and width of the vibrato. Being able to adjust the speed and width of a vibrato is indeed a valuable skill. Having this kind...