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Modal Arpeggio Patterns for Bass
Ask Damian Erskine

Modal Arpeggio Patterns for Bass

We’re continuing our exercise series this week with a lesson on modal arpeggio patterns. Learning modes, scales, and patterns help to open the fretboard up in your mind. You learn the connections, intervals, and relationships of the notes. Some of this sounds more complicated than it is. Hang in there and we will work it all out.

Notes From The Bandstand: Supporting the Soloist
Notes From The Bandstand

Notes From The Bandstand: Supporting the Soloist

As jazz bassists, we know this scenario all too well: after taking their solos, the players in the front line head offstage, only to chat it up with each other until it’s time come back to trade or play the head out. Meanwhile, we’ve been playing non-stop since the downbeat. Frustrating right? Do they realize how much we’ve been playing...

Percussive Techniques for Bass
Ask Damian Erskine

Percussive Techniques for Bass

For the next few weeks, we’ll be going over some more lesson oriented topics. I’m kicking off the series with a look at percussive techniques on the bass, specifically using your plucking hand. There are some easy techniques to approach as well as some more difficult ones. Work on these slowly with a metronome starting with the basic patterns before...

Establishing Your Rates as a Working Bass Player
Ask Damian Erskine

Establishing Your Rates as a Working Bass Player

Q: I have been networking, going to jams, and have actually started to make some headway in my local scene. I’ve just gotten a call about doing a regional week-long tour. The money seems a little low, though, and I’m worried about setting a bad precedent. I’d like to do the tour but don’t want to establish that as my...

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Subdivision Exercises
Ask Damian Erskine

Subdivision Exercises

For this week’s column, a reader asked about practicing rhythms. Instead of writing out a response, I decided to make this video to show you how I practice subdivision exercises.

How Do You Deal With Performance Anxiety
Ask Damian Erskine

How Do You Deal With Performance Anxiety

Q: Do you ever get scared? How do you deal with performance anxiety? A: I’ve written a fair amount about various types of musical situations I’ve found myself in, related anxiety, and how I’ve navigated it but this may be the first time I’ve written purely on fear. I’ve mentioned in the past that I spent quite a while living...

Notes From The Bandstand: Timekeeping
Notes From The Bandstand

Notes From The Bandstand: Timekeeping

In 2005 I traveled to Zurich for my first gig with an iconic jazz pianist (out of respect for his privacy, he’ll remain nameless). We haven’t rehearsed. We haven’t spoken about what we’re going to play. I’m told we’ll go over everything at the sound check but said pianist never shows up. We have a quick 10-minute talk before hitting...

The Lightbulb Moment: The Joy Of Inspiration
The Lightbulb Moment

The Lightbulb Moment: The Joy Of Inspiration

When it comes to performing, practicing, or even making up your mind to pursue music, there’s no substitute for pure, heart-opening, eye-widening, blood-boiling inspiration. Depending on where you are in your musical journey, the moments of inspiration will take on different forms; they may be few and far between or you may be experiencing a particularly fruitful and creative period...

Do You Always Hear What You Play Before You Play It?
Ask Damian Erskine

Do You Always Hear What You Play Before You Play It?

Q: Do you always hear what you play before you play it? I know a lot of players sing what they play, do some of them actually hear the melodies first? Or are they singing along in real time and following themselves? A: Interesting question. Everyone will have varying levels of relative/perfect pitch, as well as varying levels of fretboard...

How Do I Start Practicing Jazz?
Ask Damian Erskine

How Do I Start Practicing Jazz?

Q: I’ve heard some jazz (usually newer stuff) that I like and I’m thinking that I should work on it. You and others also mention that it’s a good thing to practice in general, too. But it’s so confusing and most things I find online (and your columns) are usually too advanced for me. How should I start? A: The...