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I Wish I Knew That - Page 4

Listening Back: Get a New Perspective on Your Playing

Listening Back: Get a New Perspective on Your Playing

A few days ago, I happened to be “shuffling” through my music library and stumbled upon a long-forgotten EP that I played on in high school, just a few years into picking up the bass. I took a short break from my day and decided to listen with a hint of skepticism, a dash of personal critique, and a boatload...

Play Other Instruments! Such as… Any and All of Them

Play Other Instruments! Such as… Any and All of Them

Welcome to the final part of the “Play Other Instruments” series. In the last few columns, we took a look at playing piano, guitar, and drums, and I got to describe some of the benefits of noodling around on each of those. Then, I took a step back and decided it was a bit unfair to only address the instruments...

Play Other Instruments! Such as… Drums

Play Other Instruments! Such as… Drums

This installment of “other instruments” takes a look at playing the drums. Yes, they are fun. Yes, you can play loud and beat on things with sticks. No, you won’t have to fall victim to the jokes. On a more serious note, the attention paid to rhythm and feel is one and the same while playing bass. Plus, within an...

Play Other Instruments! Such as… Guitar

Play Other Instruments! Such as… Guitar

In the previous column, we introduced an exciting concept: the importance of learning your way around on a few other instruments. Aside from being able to sit down at a piano or pick up an acoustic guitar, a bit of musical variety can influence your approach to the bass. Having some basic knowledge of piano can be a huge advantage,...

Play Other Instruments! Such as… Piano

Play Other Instruments! Such as… Piano

Like many other bass players, I’ve traveled a long and winding road before discovering my passion for the instrument. A few years of piano lessons, three months of playing the flute, and a handful of years in the school band’s percussion section were just a few of my “trial and error” experiences before making the right connection with the bass....

Going Unnoticed: Our Role as Bassists (Or: The Not-So-Obvious Compliment)

Going Unnoticed: Our Role as Bassists (Or: The Not-So-Obvious Compliment)

There’s an old saying in the musical world that goes a little like this: “I didn’t even notice the bass until it wasn’t there!” While this may seem a bit unfair – as if all of the other instruments receive the listening attention they deserve while we stand in the back – it happens to be a great compliment. Of...

Finding the Musical Treasures in Your Own Backyard

Finding the Musical Treasures in Your Own Backyard

A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to check out the Summer NAMM show in Nashville. Although it was great to walk around the showroom floor, check out all of the new gear, and run into some friends, the most exciting part of the show was the congregation of truly fantastic players. The NAMM show (or any music industry-related...

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I Wish I Knew That: Making The Music Better

I Wish I Knew That: Making The Music Better

Let’s face it, sometimes we find ourselves in not-so-ideal playing situations. In a perfect world, we would always have our favorite drummer on the gig and could lock in and groove all night long. We would never have to compete with the busy left hand of a keyboard player, stay alert during the 15-minute guitar solo, or back up a...

Learning the Song – Part 2: Comparing and Contrasting Multiple Versions of a Tune

Learning the Song – Part 2: Comparing and Contrasting Multiple Versions of a Tune

Welcome to Part 2 of “Learning the Song.” If you checked out the first part of this series, you’ll be familiar with some of the essential elements of learning a song, such as the key, the chord progressions, the form, and so on. Learning “the song” is a great exercise in ear training, adapting theory rules and being prepared for...

Learning the Song – Part 1: Breaking It Down for Performance

Learning the Song – Part 1: Breaking It Down for Performance

It’s time for a real life gig story. I was recently given a set list for an upcoming gig… two sets, roughly 25 tunes, mostly classic rock and soul. Glancing over the set list, I saw many tunes that I already knew, so I figured I’d be fine, right? Guess again. As it turns out, a couple of the tunes...

Treat Yourself to Some Inspiration

Treat Yourself to Some Inspiration

As artists, we are constantly on the search for one thing: inspiration. Inspiration fuels our art, influences our style, and pushes us to perfect our craft. It’s what keeps us learning bass line after bass line, way into the wee hours of the morning, and it persuades us to call one drummer over another. It also pushes us to look...

Ear Training and the iTunes Game

Ear Training and the iTunes Game

As a musician, our greatest tool is our ears. Our job within a musical context is to listen, and quite frankly, to play notes that sound good. As a bass player, we need to be on our toes and quickly decipher the bass line and at the very least, the root notes of the chords that are being played. There...