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Technique Archives - Page 11

Expanded Harmonics: More on Locations and Patterns
The Lowdown with Dr. D

Expanded Harmonics: More on Locations and Patterns

Last time we talked about how to find out where harmonics occur on a string by dividing the string into equal parts. Below you will find a more straightforward representation of the specific harmonics that can be found at the end of the fingerboard on each string. We will be placing the thumb on the second octave harmonic for each...

Bass Fretboard Workbook: Essential Music Principles and Concepts for Fretboard Mastery
Sheet Music & Instruction

Bass Fretboard Workbook: Essential Music Principles and Concepts for Fretboard Mastery

Hal Leonard announced a few new bass-focused books at this year’s NAMM Show, including a new one by author Chad Johnson. For many bassists, complete fretboard knowledge is lacking. Bass Fretboard Workbook – Essential Music Principles and Concepts for Fretboard Mastery was written to overcome these unknown spots with Johnson’s method for becoming comfortable with the whole neck. The method...

Harmonics: A Starter Guide for Bassists
The Lowdown with Dr. D

Harmonics: A Starter Guide for Bassists

Whatever the genre, we bassists seem to love harmonics. From Jaco to Dittersdorf, bass music is full of them. When we are introduced to playing harmonics however, the prospect can be a bit tricky. At first, we may be unsure where the harmonics are on the string, or what note will sound when we attempt them. While I can’t possibly...

Left Hand Flexibility for Bassists
The Lowdown with Dr. D

Left Hand Flexibility for Bassists

When playing the bass, flexibility is far more important than strength. In fact, if body mechanics and gravity are used intelligently it takes surprisingly little strength to play our instrument. Flexibility, however, is paramount to many of the things we must do well. In the left hand (or fingering hand for the lefties!) it is especially important. Lack of flexibility...

How to Improve Your Phrasing
Ask Damian Erskine

How to Improve Your Phrasing

Q: I’m looking to make my phrasing more dynamic. What would you suggest? A: For this week’s column, I decided to make a little video to answer this question, and demonstrate what I do to work on my phrasing. Check it out:

Dealing with Awkward Keys when Transposing on Bass
Ask Damian Erskine

Dealing with Awkward Keys when Transposing on Bass

Q: I’ve been asked to play Billy Ocean’s “When The Going Gets Tough” transposed down to B, which is down in the murky depths of the B string, and I feel it takes away from the bass line. Going up an octave makes it seem thin. Any advice on how I could remedy this issue, not just for this song,...

Isolating Your Right Hand: Exercises for Bassists
The Lowdown with Dr. D

Isolating Your Right Hand: Exercises for Bassists

When confronted with a difficult passage that just isn’t getting any better, most of us will isolate the left hand to improve our accuracy. We may change from arco to pizzicato to isolate the left hand. We may “shadow bow” the passage. Perhaps we may finger the strings in the left hand alone, completely taking the right hand out of...

Singing and Playing: A How-To Guide for Independence for Bass Players
Ask Damian Erskine

Singing and Playing: A How-To Guide for Independence for Bass Players

Q: I have great vocal chops, which I exercise frequently in my alter ego solo acoustic guitarist thing. I play bass in a blues/R&B band and have the best vocal talent in the band. But I can’t sing over a bass line to save my behind. Can this be learned? Any tips? A: Keep in mind that I am one...

Developing Speed on the Bass: Take Your Time
Ask Damian Erskine

Developing Speed on the Bass: Take Your Time

Q: I have been playing upright for about a year and wanted to know what I can do about developing speed. I mostly play jazz and at the college I go to it seems like everyone wants to play uptempo tunes (Charlie Parker, Rhythm Changes, etc.) I feel as though I’m falling behind trying to stay with the tempo and...

More Forked Fingering Techniques: Using the Thumb
The Lowdown with Dr. D

More Forked Fingering Techniques: Using the Thumb

Last time we talked about playing fourths across strings using two adjacent fingers, a concept sometimes called “forked fingering.” For example: We can, of course, use the same exact concept in the upper registers of the bass, or thumb position. For example: As mentioned before, this can be easier to execute effectively in the upper registers than in the lower...

Forked Fingering: A Guide to Comfortable Double Stops for Bassists
The Lowdown with Dr. D

Forked Fingering: A Guide to Comfortable Double Stops for Bassists

Playing fourths across strings on the upright bass can be fraught with problems, especially when we are playing double stops. Sometimes it is appropriate to “bar” the notes using the same finger like this: However, this can create a clamping of the hand and needless tension, which in turn limits our facility and ability to adjust quickly. Intonation can also...

Thumb Position: Major Scale Fingering for Bass
The Lowdown with Dr. D

Thumb Position: Major Scale Fingering for Bass

There are a multitude of fingerings for any particular scale, and no single fingering is appropriate for every situation. In fact, the most effective fingering for any specific passage will be related to musical issues, not technical ones. Some scale fingerings, however, prove to be useful in a great many situations and are worth having ingrained. Today I want to...