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  • The Lightbulb Moment: Coppersox And The Three Straps

    The Lightbulb Moment: Coppersox And The Three Straps

    There was once a young girl named Goldilocks, who frequently went gallivanting around the woods looking for porridge. Most days, she left the house simply to get away from her older brother, who happened to smell profusely and play bass for hours on end. He shook the house with his low and rumbling frequencies, making... »

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  • Practicing Scales vs. Arpeggios

    Practicing Scales vs. Arpeggios

    Q: Should I spend my time in the shed practicing scales or arpeggios? Why one over the other? A: Ultimately, you want to be familiar with everything relating to the music you want to play and your instrument, but it’s good to prioritize. When trying to prioritize in the shed, it’s important to understand why... »

  • Shaping A Jam Session From The Bass

    Shaping A Jam Session From The Bass

    Q: I go to a few jam sessions in my city, which have given me great times and contacts. For the most part, I’ve been able to get over most of the pre-jam jitters and adopt more of a “whatever happens, happens” approach to sessions. But I have encountered one stumbling block related to bassist... »

  • Bass Players To Know: Bernard Edwards

    Bass Players To Know: Bernard Edwards

    I’d like to title this column: “Better Late Than Never.” You’ve heard his bass lines at weddings, on the radio, at the supermarket, and possibly while waiting on the phone for the next available representative. His grooves defined the funk and disco era with their syncopated and infectious hooks, in-your-face tone, and get your booty... »

  • How To Play Hemiola Rhythms

    How To Play Hemiola Rhythms

    Q: I’ve been playing around with hemiola rhythms and, no matter how much I try to “feel” them. I can’t. Help? A: I assume that you’re talking about rhythmic figures that repeat in a cycle and cross the barline (no obvious downbeats until the cycle has repeated enough times to bring it back to starting... »

  • Writing Songs with The Bass

    Writing Songs with The Bass

    Q: I have a battle going on in my writing and wondered if you had words of wisdom for any that share this with me. I find that I can almost always be a “groove generator” and respond quickly to a drummer’s groove or drum loop – within a style, I am comfortable – with... »

  • The Lightbulb Moment: Three’s Accompany

    The Lightbulb Moment: Three’s Accompany

    When it comes to accompanying a singer or soloist, there’s nothing like the power of three. The rock trio. The jazz trio. The trio of cheeses provided in the green room. It’s the perfect way to get the bases covered (no pun intended). While there are various forms of trio instrumentation (keys, bass, drums; guitar,... »

  • Concentrating on the Gig

    Concentrating on the Gig

    Q: I have a question about… mindset, I guess. I feel like I make a lot of unnecessary mistakes during gigs. I mean that it’s not a technical deficiency, and it’s not that I don’t know what needs to happen but I just seem to goof it up. Kind of a lot. Any advice? A:... »

  • Getting Through A Bad Gig

    Getting Through A Bad Gig

    Q: What do you do on a bad night? Like, if the gig is not happening, what’s the best way to avoid toxicity and frustration and make the best of it? A: This question extends far beyond just musical situations. I recently heard an interesting podcast interview with a specialist who studies emotions and the... »

  • Bass Players To Know: John Illsley

    Bass Players To Know: John Illsley

    Following up the previous BPTK, (Rutger Gunnarrson), I found it only appropriate to highlight another late 1970’s popular music icon from across the pond. This time, we focus on the great John Illsley of Dire Straits. A longtime member of the band, his bass lines provide the perfect backdrop to Knopfler’s guitar playing and singing.... »