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Technique Archives - Page 8

Fast Fretboard Position Shifting on Bass
Bass Lessons

Fast Fretboard Position Shifting on Bass

Here’s a lesson I’d consider more beginner/intermediate-level, but it is a great refresher for all of us. Many times, we have to play a line which requires some quick shifting along the fretboard. Here’s a simple exercise for fast position shifts. Follow along with the video.

Beginning Exercise for Improving Left Hand Finger Independence
The Lowdown with Dr. D

Beginning Exercise for Improving Left Hand Finger Independence

The four movements of the left hand fingers necessary for string playing (to paraphrase the great violin pedagogue Demetrius Constantine Dounis) are: Lifting: Raising a finger from the fingerboard/string Dropping: Lowering a finger/Pressing a string to the fingerboard Sliding: Moving a finger along the string so the pitch rises or lowers accordingly Holding: leaving a finger down on the string...

Seven Planes of the Bow Arm
The Lowdown with Dr. D

Seven Planes of the Bow Arm

If we are aiming for a consistent sound, the shape of our bow arm should be the same no matter which string, or combination of strings, we are playing on. To do this, we must raise or lower our arm, depending upon which string, or combination of strings, we are playing on. For example, while the shape of our bowing...

Challenges to Good Intonation in a Live Situation
The Lowdown with Dr. D

Challenges to Good Intonation in a Live Situation

Good intonation is a lifelong concern for every double bassist. We train our ears, we work constantly to match pitch, and we devote large sections of our individual practice sessions to improving it. Among other things, the sheer size of the instrument demands our constant attention to pitch. Sometimes though, even players who normally have impeccable intonation can have issues...

A Discussion on Slap Bass Tone and Technique
Ask Damian Erskine

A Discussion on Slap Bass Tone and Technique

I get a an insurmountable number of emailed questions asking about slap tone and technique. While I have mentioned dozens of times in various columns that I never really explored the slap side of bass, I have fiddled with it enough, in addition to knowing quite a few fantastic slappers. I know how to get the tone, I just never...

Connecting Written Rhythms to Your Bass Playing
Ask Damian Erskine

Connecting Written Rhythms to Your Bass Playing

Q: I can read the notes on the staff and I can tell you if it’s a 16th note or a whole note, and yet, I can’t seem to play the rhythm. Any advice on fixing this? A: As I’ve said before, learning to read music fluently takes a lot of practice, just like learning to speak a new language....

Hal Leonard Publishes “Essential Bass Guitar Techniques…”
Sheet Music & Instruction

Hal Leonard Publishes “Essential Bass Guitar Techniques…”

Don’t keep faking your way through songs. Learn how those great players created the sounds you love. Usually, it’s all about a technique — like Flea’s slapping, or Jaco Pastorius’ finger-style and harmonics. A new book aims to provide you with need-to-know techniques. is a 74-page book that’s accompanied by library of 86 audio tracks and examples available online when...

Grouping Multiple Notes Into a Single Action/Thought
The Lowdown with Dr. D

Grouping Multiple Notes Into a Single Action/Thought

When playing at slow speeds we can concentrate on our physical movements for every single note we play. However, this becomes impractical at high rates of speed. When playing at high speed it helps to group notes, and motions, together into a single action. The number of notes we can combine will depend on the requirements of the specific passage,...

Adjusting to Alternate Tunings on Bass
Ask Damian Erskine

Adjusting to Alternate Tunings on Bass

Q: As you may know, many bassists who play Urban Gospel music will detune their basses to a low B? or lower to achieve that extra low range. About a year ago, I decided to give detuning a try and detuned my 5-string bass to B?. It was strange at first, because I had to get used to the half-step...

Playing Bass… Slow
The Lowdown with Dr. D

Playing Bass… Slow

Every bassist, at some point, wants to learn to play fast. This is a reasonable technical goal to have, of course. Much music demands this sort of technical facility. Furthermore, if we want to be able to truly express ourselves musically, we must have this ability. However, fast playing isn’t everything, in fact it’s only one tool in our box....

The Great Bass Picksperiment
I Wish I Knew That

The Great Bass Picksperiment

I was a pretty picky eater when I was a kid. Okay, a very picky eater. Oh yeah, and I still am. Wednesday nights typically revolved around my father making pasta and having to put up with my self-imposed dietary restrictions: I was an anti-tomatite. Dad tried as hard as possible, time and time again, to convince me that not...

Playing Bass… Fast
The Lowdown with Dr. D

Playing Bass… Fast

At some point most bassists want be able to play “fast.” The question that usually arises is obvious: “How?” The most common barriers to being able play quickly on upright bass are: Poor bass setup Inefficient technique. (Too much tension, etc.) Lack of stamina Lack of familiarity with the passage, tune, line, etc. (Trying to play a passage too fast...