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  • Developing Your Musical Ear

    Developing Your Musical Ear

    Q: My problem is that I dont have “ears” for music. I’ve always tried and failed, and this is frustrating me. I only play what is written, or what somebody played. I want to play my own bass lines for any song of my choice. I’ve learned scales, modes, appregios… I’m not sure what to... »

  • How To Groove at Jam Sessions

    How To Groove at Jam Sessions

    Q: During jam sessions, I normally have a “hit and stick” approach to coming up with grooves. Essentially, there’s a lull between grooves where I end up peddling notes or playing the one. My keyboard player pointed this out and it bothers me. Is this something that I should be worried about? How do I... »

  • Pace Yourself: Thoughts on the Process of Practicing and Learning

    Pace Yourself: Thoughts on the Process of Practicing and Learning

    Whether you’re embarking on a long distance run, sitting down to a delicious plate of food, or facing a mountain of material to learn, keep one thing in mind: pace yourself. Establishing a good pace for learning material or practicing a new technique is extremely important, especially when you’re looking at a deadline. It’s easy... »

  • The Bass Solo: A Guide to Soloing More Freely

    The Bass Solo: A Guide to Soloing More Freely

    Q: I am at a stage with playing jazz where I feel confident playing bass lines, such as walking through challenging pieces. Given time to learn the chord sequence, I am pretty confident at playing solos over the top of backing tracks and grooves. My problem is that when playing with a jazz band –... »

  • Capturing Your Ideas: Transform Your Musical Inspiration into Reality

    Capturing Your Ideas: Transform Your Musical Inspiration into Reality

    If you’re a fan of the Rolling Stones, you’re probably familiar with the story of Keith Richards coming up with the lick to “Satisfaction.” If not, here’s the story: the classic guitar riff came to him in the middle of the night, and luckily, he had a cassette player by his bed and was quickly... »

  • Improving your Technique: Habits and Awareness for Bass Players

    Improving your Technique: Habits and Awareness for Bass Players

    Most bassists are looking to improve some aspect of their technique. Certainly if there is something in our technique that is creating a problem, physical or musical, then we need to make a change. Sometimes this is a major change, other times this is simply a refinement. Oftentimes, it is the acquisition of technique that... »

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  • Refresh Yourself: Some Thoughts on Musical Growth

    Refresh Yourself: Some Thoughts on Musical Growth

    As we grow and develop as bassists, we tend to go through different stages of learning. Sometimes we feel inspired and creative, other times we feel as if we’ve plateaued or burnt out. During the good times, it’s easy to find new concepts to work on, specific ideas to write about, or ways to make... »

  • Do I Really Need to Go To Music School?

    Do I Really Need to Go To Music School?

    Q:I’m a bass player from Mexico and I am currently studying in Paris and looking for some gigs. I am a little overwhelmed right now by school, which is a jazz-oriented school. I like jazz, but I feel a little forced to learn licks and that stuff. I’m not saying I’m the greatest bass player... »

  • Read Up! Part 2: How to Find and Work Through Books for Bass

    Read Up! Part 2: How to Find and Work Through Books for Bass

    Ah ha! You’ve reached the oh-so-exciting section of the music store where the possibilities seem endless and you get giddy just thinking about picking something up and taking it home… No, not the bass wall… the bookshelves! You feast your eyes on the “Teach Yourself Harmonica” manuals, the transcription books of Green Day guitar solos,... »

  • Staying Fit During the Holiday Season

    Staying Fit During the Holiday Season

    Although the title may suggest it, this is not a gym advertisement, nor a plan for a special low-fat diet. And, while we consider our vacation time as a way to take off from work for a few days, hang with our friends and family, and eat lots of goodies, our practice schedule usually falls... »