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  • The Lightbulb Moment: Three’s Accompany

    The Lightbulb Moment: Three’s Accompany

    When it comes to accompanying a singer or soloist, there’s nothing like the power of three. The rock trio. The jazz trio. The trio of cheeses provided in the green room. It’s the perfect way to get the bases covered (no pun intended). While there are various forms of trio instrumentation (keys, bass, drums; guitar,... »

  • Taking Criticism in a Positive Light

    Taking Criticism in a Positive Light

    Q: How can I learn to take musical remarks/criticism from a bandleader/conductor in a productive way? I can’t help it, but I always get a little offended and/or insecure. A: Remember this: If you weren’t good enough, you wouldn’t have the gig. While not every band leader may have the best delivery, in general, suggestions... »

  • Staying Motivated Without Playing Opportunities

    Staying Motivated Without Playing Opportunities

    Q: I read your column for years, but I don’t know if you have answered this already: I have been playing bass for many years and, due to circumstances beyond my control, I cannot find people in my hometown to play (long story, small Greek city). I am taking some jazz theory lessons (via Skype),... »

  • Competing with the “Bass Virtuosos”

    Competing with the “Bass Virtuosos”

    Q: I have been feeling a bit defeated lately. I want to be a professional bassist more than anything but whenever I watch YouTube, I feel like I just don’t have what it takes. I see nothing but a sea of players with blazing chops, piano like chordal abilities, solo players who sound like an... »

  • Bass Players: On Staying Motivated and Avoiding Unhealthy Comparisons

    Bass Players: On Staying Motivated and Avoiding Unhealthy Comparisons

    Q: How do I come to terms to the fact that I will never be a Damian Erskine-caliber player? How do I keep myself motivated to learn when I am always comparing my sucky playing to much better players? Why would anyone – especially another bass player – want to listen to me play? A:... »

  • Musical Goals and Self Evaluation

    Musical Goals and Self Evaluation

    For those of us involved in formal education, the end of the year is a time for evaluation in all our classes, e.g. final exams, papers, presentations etc. When it comes to instrumental study, most students play what is known as a “jury.” This is performance by the student for panel of faculty. The charge... »

  • Starting Back Up on Bass After a Long Break

    Starting Back Up on Bass After a Long Break

    Even those of us who maintain a regular practice routine may find ourselves taking an extended period of time away from our instrument. Vacations, travel, illness, work, incarceration, etc. can keep even the most dedicated musician away from their instrument. With an instrument as physically demanding as the double bass, we would be wise to... »

  • Bass in the Spotlight and Overcoming Self-Doubt

    Bass in the Spotlight and Overcoming Self-Doubt

    Q: A couple of months ago, I quit my band and because of the state of the guitarists in my area, I decided to start go small, with bass, drums and vocals. Now that some time has passed, I feel that everything is falling apart, which is depressing. Do you think it is a good... »

  • Self Expression: Thoughts and Discussion for Bass Players

    Self Expression: Thoughts and Discussion for Bass Players

    Q: Most pros say that playing with other musicians is one of the most important things a bassist can do. After practicing alone for a few years, I’ve returned to the band setting. I love gigging and I love band practice, but I find myself playing very conservatively. In no way am I trying to... »

  • Thoughts on Improving Your Technique on Bass

    Thoughts on Improving Your Technique on Bass

    There are voluminous technical exercises designed to make us better instrumentalists. Nearly all have benefit when executed properly. Unfortunately, many people focus solely on the musical result expected (e.g. How fast can I play that trill today?) when doing technical work. However, the best results are gained when we balance our focus between the musical... »