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  • 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... »

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  • 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.... »

  • Getting More Bass Students

    Getting More Bass Students

    Q: Damian, here’s a question that might not apply to all, but it would definitely apply to many who are trying to make a little side money by teaching. I live in a rather small rural community surrounded by a number of moderate-sized towns. What, if any, suggestions would you have to make the prospect... »

  • Should I Use A Compressor with My Bass?

    Should I Use A Compressor with My Bass?

    Q: I wanted to ask about running a compressor, as everyone seems to suggest how beneficial it is for the instrument. I like how it tightens up the low end and brings up latent harmonic content in my otherwise quite dull sounding bass. However, I mainly play jazz and I realize that I might be... »

  • The Lightbulb Moment: One, Four, Five

    The Lightbulb Moment: One, Four, Five

    “Hey, so we’re in G and it’s a one, four, five thing. Cool? Count it off.” Here we go again… Whether it’s a local blues jam, and evening hang at your friend’s garage-turned-music-room, or a gig where someone decides to deviate from the setlist, the notion of calling a “One, Four, Five” can leave us... »

  • Taking Criticism in a Positive Light

    Taking Criticism in a Positive Light

    Q: How can I learn to take musical remarks/criticism from a bandleader/conductor in a productive way? I can’t help it, but I always get a little offended and/or insecure. A: Remember this: If you weren’t good enough, you wouldn’t have the gig. While not every band leader may have the best delivery, in general, suggestions... »

  • Learning Tunes: A Checklist for Bass Players

    Learning Tunes: A Checklist for Bass Players

    Q: I’ve started learning jazz bass about 7 years ago, coming from over 20 years of violin (classical) training. The first thing I did to move from classical music to jazz was to get all Aebersold play-a-longs, and every transcription I could get on Earth, and dig them. I now feel that this is holding... »

  • Bass Players To Know: Rutger Gunnarsson

    Bass Players To Know: Rutger Gunnarsson

    If there’s a nation of people that I truly respect for their cultural contributions, it’s the Swedes. Meatballs, streamlined and affordable modern design, and, of course, pop music. No wonder they are some of the happiest people on the planet. Thanks to their feel-good vibes, infectious beats, and accessible musicality, people all over the world... »

  • Finding A Quality Luthier

    Finding A Quality Luthier

    Q: How does one go about finding a quality luthier for the bass? We all have heard, “I know this guy…” Yet, how do you know if they are “your guy” too? I can do complete basic set-ups on my own instruments: truss adjustments, bridge/saddle adjustments, intonation, and other general maintenance, etc. Yet when I... »