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Technique Archives - Page 10

Shifting Exercises for Bass
The Lowdown with Dr. D

Shifting Exercises for Bass

Sometimes, just for fun, I like to work on the short shifting exercise below. It helps me measure my accuracy, ensure I am light during the shift, and that I am using minimum pressure with my fingers, all while keeping my shifting fluid. It’s short, fun and challenging. Keep the following things in mind: Play with the bow, this trains...

Getting the Feel: A Guide for Bass Players
Ask Damian Erskine

Getting the Feel: A Guide for Bass Players

Q: What’s your suggestion for someone trying to get a better feeling on where to put a “pop” on a bass line? Sometimes I want to put a pop on a slap or a pizzicato line, but I always end up putting it on the beats 2 or 4. How to develop a better feeling, to be able to place...

Focus on Breathing: An Essential Guide for Bass Players
The Lowdown with Dr. D

Focus on Breathing: An Essential Guide for Bass Players

So many of us play with unneeded tension and spend a great deal of time trying to remedy this. We spend untold hours searching for the freedom of motion that will allow us to transcend our instrument. One aspect of tension that is sometimes overlooked is a player’s breathing. If you have never paid attention to how you breathe when...

All Sides of the Beat: A Discussion for Bass Players
Ask Damian Erskine

All Sides of the Beat: A Discussion for Bass Players

Q: I was wondering if you could share your thoughts on playing around the beat: when to play behind the beat? Ahead? And so on… A: Good question! And also one that is a bit dependent upon how you feel the music. Generally speaking, it is up to you and the rest of the band to determine how a song...

Left Hand Thumb Independence for Bassists
The Lowdown with Dr. D

Left Hand Thumb Independence for Bassists

Last time, we talked about left hand “pivoting” and its potential to make difficult passages more accessible. In order to execute a pivot with ease, however, we must have a supple thumb. In fact, for masterful left hand technique of any sort we must have a thumb that is light, flexible, and easily moveable. It should be independent of the...

Left Hand Technique: Pivoting
The Lowdown with Dr. D

Left Hand Technique: Pivoting

Although I advocate a traditional left hand foundation (i.e. 1-2-4 fingering system), any bassist who plays long enough will come across passages that don’t lie well using this fingering system. “Pivoting” can be an attractive solution for such passages. Often, especially when playing two consecutive notes on the same string more than a step apart (for example: A-C on the...

Right Hand Technique for Bassists: Expanding Your Finger Patterns
Ask Damian Erskine

Right Hand Technique for Bassists: Expanding Your Finger Patterns

Q: How do I improve my playing by using the three-finger technique and yet maintain the groove with my thumb? A: Something I’ve come across with many students is a preconception of how they want to use their thumb. With some students, this has actually stood as an obstacle to their growth. I think this is primarily because they become...

Improving your Technique: Habits and Awareness for Bass Players
The Lowdown with Dr. D

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 motivates a young student to...

Controlling Rhythm and Expressing it Musically
Ask Damian Erskine

Controlling Rhythm and Expressing it Musically

Q: This week’s column was written in part from a response to a FaceBook question I had about controlling rhythm and expressing it musically. I was also asked about my approach with my right hand, and where it came from with regard to rhythm and how I use it in my lines. I took that response and expanded on it...

Bass Harmonics: Middle of the String Harmonics
The Lowdown with Dr. D

Bass Harmonics: Middle of the String Harmonics

We’ve found where the most common harmonics are at the end of the fingerboard, and also toward the nut. Today, let’s find the most common harmonics in the middle part of the string. In the examples below, the lower staff tells us where to put place our fingers and find the harmonic. The upper staff tells us the sounding pitch...

Playing Bass: To Right a Left or Leave It Right
Ask Damian Erskine

Playing Bass: To Right a Left or Leave It Right

Q: I have been playing right-handed ever since I started playing bass, even though I am a left-handed person. Recently though, I have noticed (by messing around) that when I switch the bass around, I can pull off previously difficult techniques a lot better with my left hand, right off the bat. I am considering trying to switch to left-handed...

Lower Position Harmonics
The Lowdown with Dr. D

Lower Position Harmonics

Last time we found some of the most common harmonics as they are played at the end of the fingerboard. Since the placement of harmonics on the string “mirror” themselves from the mid point (i.e. you find the same notes toward the nut as you do toward the bridge) we can find the harmonics from last installment not only at...