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Technique Archives - Page 7

Talking Technique: Permutation Variation
Talking Technique

Talking Technique: Permutation Variation

In the last lesson, we introduced the Permutation Exercise. This time we’ll talk about some more pattern variations to increase your dexterity. The permutation exercise can be played to drill down on lots of different fingerings that come in handy. We’ll be practicing the concept across strings and by implementing it with the whole tone and half-whole diminished scales. Be...

Talking Technique: The Permutation Exercise
Talking Technique

Talking Technique: The Permutation Exercise

To start things off in this new series, we’re going to be working on our left hand dexterity with the “Permutation Exercise”. Each finger is assigned a number: 1 for index 2 for middle 3 for ring and 4 for our pinky By practicing each variation or permutation of the numbers 1, 2, 3, and 4, we can build finger...

Introduction to Chromatic Scales
The Lowdown with Dr. D

Introduction to Chromatic Scales

For many bassists, the chromatic scale is an underused resource in their practice toolkit. Properly approached, practicing chromatic scales can vastly improve our shifting, intonation and mental map of the fingerboard. Below are a few beginner exercises using the chromatic scale that I find to be useful for those just becoming more familiar with it. Single string 1 8va chromatic...

Advanced Bass: Interval Shapes
Advanced Bass

Advanced Bass: Interval Shapes

In this lesson, we will cover a basic concept for interval shapes to develop your technique, while attuning your ears to hear the root motion of common harmonic progressions in jazz. Follow along with the notation (PDF) and this video:

Singing While Playing? A Discussion for Bass Players
Ask Damian Erskine

Singing While Playing? A Discussion for Bass Players

Q: I’ve been reading your columns with great interest for the last year or so, but here’s a question I haven’t seen addressed yet: How do different bass players approach the problem of playing and singing at the same time? I’ve been playing for going on forty years now – both professionally and as a weekend warrior – and this...

Avoiding Discomfort and Pain When Playing the Upright Bass
The Lowdown with Dr. D

Avoiding Discomfort and Pain When Playing the Upright Bass

It should be physically easy to play the upright bass. When we experience discomfort or pain, during or after playing, it is our body’s way of telling us that we are doing something wrong. While each body is unique, there are general guidelines all bassists can follow which will reduce the potential for bass-related injury. Below are some general recommendations...

Thumb Position Below the Half Point of the String on Double Bass
The Lowdown with Dr. D

Thumb Position Below the Half Point of the String on Double Bass

Although I sometimes use a 1-2-3-4 fingering technique below the half point of the string (12th fret, if we had frets), I often find a thumb position fingering to be more efficient, easier on the hand and, most importantly, more accurate. Of course, many bass players first learn thumb position starting at the half point of the string (G harmonic...

Some Thoughts on the 1-2-3-4 Fingering System for Double Bass
The Lowdown with Dr. D

Some Thoughts on the 1-2-3-4 Fingering System for Double Bass

For as long as there have been bassists, there has been debate about what fingering system to use. While most players today use a three-finger technique (1-2-4, or the Italian 1-3-4) some suggest a four-finger technique, especially in the middle positions (i.e. between D and G on the G string). One of the main arguments for using a 1-2-3-4 system...

A Quick Warmup for the Left Hand
The Lowdown with Dr. D

A Quick Warmup for the Left Hand

Sometimes we need to warmup in a hurry. When I need to warmup in two minutes or less I do exercises like the ones below. Some things to remember when doing these: Start slowly and speed up as you go Keep the fingers light and flexible, don’t press any harder than necessary Don’t’ go any faster than feels easy, slow...

Adding Some New School Playing to an Old School Bassist
Ask Damian Erskine

Adding Some New School Playing to an Old School Bassist

Q: I’ve been playing a certain way or style (as in thump, pop or blues) for as long as I can remember. Today’s bass players tend to play a lot – it seems way busier. What do you recommend for an old school bassist who wants to update to today’s styles so it sticks? A: That is an interesting question...

Three Exercises for Releasing and Relaxing the Left Hand Thumb
The Lowdown with Dr. D

Three Exercises for Releasing and Relaxing the Left Hand Thumb

Keeping the thumb of our left hand flexible is a key component in achieving an agile fingering hand. Ideally, any pressure exerted by the thumb against the neck should be minimal. Below are a few exercises that should help you keep your thumb relaxed and your left hand injury free. 1. Thumb independence Pick a note, pick a finger (perhaps...

Simple Exercise for Increased Bow Control on Bass
The Lowdown with Dr. D

Simple Exercise for Increased Bow Control on Bass

When using the bow, the natural tendency is to play louder at the frog and softer at the tip. We must, of course, counteract this predisposition on a regular basis. Simply playing a full bow with consistent timbre and volume requires it. Generally, we do this by adding pressure, via arm weight, to the bow as we move further from...