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  • 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... »

  • 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... »

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  • 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... »

  • 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... »