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  • Is Rhythmic Tapping Okay in a Band Setting?

    Is Rhythmic Tapping Okay in a Band Setting?

    Q: When I play the bass (let’s say on a 4/4 beat), I often tap the strings on the exact beat that the snare drum makes (on the 2 and 4), and I can’t seem to stop doing that. I was wondering: Let’s say I’m playing in a band, having fun, and I start tapping…... »

  • Is Bass Face Okay on the Gig? A Discussion on Stage Presence

    Is Bass Face Okay on the Gig? A Discussion on Stage Presence

    Q: Is “bass face” acceptable or not on a gig? I know a band where the leader was telling the bassist not to have their (un)usual bass face on; they should smile or relax their face. I just performed at a gig where my head is in the jazz charts in front of me (I... »

  • Troubleshooting a Clicking Sound From Your Bass

    Troubleshooting a Clicking Sound From Your Bass

    Q: I read your column on active vs. passive basses. I have been playing for a lot of years and am having issues with any Bartolini preamp/pickup combination that I use. I think one thing missed in the article was active vs passive pickups (or maybe I overlooked that). Anyway, I’m hearing a clicking sound.... »

  • Bass Effects Overview

    Bass Effects Overview

    I recently met a player in Portland who completely blew me away. (We soon realized, we only live two blocks away from each other!) He’s new to town and hasn’t been gigging here yet. His girlfriend plays in the symphony and he’s been getting his bearings in the new city. Long story short, we got... »

  • What to Do When They Don’t Give You the Gig Details

    What to Do When They Don’t Give You the Gig Details

    Q: I recently had a strange experience when I got asked to play a gig, but was given practically no information. When I asked for more details (when, where, how long, how much, etc.), I got vibed hard by the guy, as if I was only in it for the money and why couldn’t I... »

  • Dyslexia and Music

    Dyslexia and Music

    Q: I’m 28 and I have played bass since I was 18. I’ve always been a hard-working student but always had trouble in reading music, no matter how I hard I tried. Now I’m a bass student at the Palermo Conservatory in Sicily, and despite my very good grades in all other subjects, I keep... »

  • Should I Be Afraid of Breaking the Rules of Harmony When Composing?

    Should I Be Afraid of Breaking the Rules of Harmony When Composing?

    Q: I have been playing bass for others for years but when it comes to writing my own music I constantly question myself about the rules. I understand if it sounds good play it but, “what key could this be and, can I play a dominant 7 here, and will it still be in a... »

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  • Practicing Slower Tempos

    Practicing Slower Tempos

    Q: I don’t know about you, but when I was a younger and less experienced player, I used to dread playing the faster, up-tempo passages or songs. But that all seemed to resolve itself with practice, and now as an older – hopefully wiser – player, I have come to realize what I have should... »

  • How To Play Relaxed While Getting a Good Sound

    How To Play Relaxed While Getting a Good Sound

    Q: When I listen to people playing bass, I always notice two things: 1) They play relaxed with their right hand and don’t use a lot of force and 2) while they do this, they STILL get a good volume and tone. When I play bass, I use quite a bit of force with my... »

  • How Can I Play In Any Setting?

    How Can I Play In Any Setting?

    Q: I’ve been checking out this site for a while. Love it all. However, I have a problem: I don’t know where to start. Let me tell you a little about me. I’ve played bass for quite some time and even taken lessons by some famous players. I’m the student that everyone dreams of. I... »