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The Lowdown with Dr. D

Practice Techniques: Utilizing Metronome to Improve Facility

Practicing very, very slowly One of the main advantages to playing a passage vastly under performance tempo is that you give yourself ample time to think. It is easier to plan, calculate and control your playing at slower tempi. Exactly how slowly you should practice depends on the difficulty of the passage. In general, the more difficult the passage, the...

Ask Damian Erskine

Ask Damian Erskine: Following Up On Patterns

Q: I’ve almost gotten through all three videos, really good stuff in them. I really like the concept of knowing patterns/visualizations to have handy when your soloing, like your ascending 4ths, alternating major/minor, and alternating 6th/7th fingerings. I think I got away from having a set of licks/patterns when improvising, which I can see now is a big mistake! Seems...

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Reviews

A Review of Lenny White’s “Anomaly”

For his first solo album in 10 years, Lenny White stated his intention of putting the rock back into jazz-rock. “We need to restart a revolution to take back the music and stop the fluff”, he says. And Anomaly is some heavy stuff: powerhouse backbeats, grinding organ and shredding guitars. There is some excellent music on this record but some...

The Cross-Genre Bassist
Columns

The Cross-Genre Bassist

How do your musical tastes influence your playing? Do you have a wide or narrow frame of reference when it comes to what you allow to impact and inspire you? I think having as diverse as possible a range of styles and influences at your disposal is of prime importance to your growth and sustainability as a bass player. Influential...

Ask Damian Erskine: Landing Endorsements
Ask Damian Erskine

Ask Damian Erskine: Landing Endorsements

Q: I am in the process of getting endorsements, but I want to know what the most effective way to get it done right the first time. I was at NAMM this year and spoke to a variety of people just to meet and greet, but I didn’t ask for artist endorsements. I have an EPK (pics, vids, recordings, and...

Reviews

A Review of Jeff Berlin’s “High Standards”

If you’ve followed Jeff Berlin‘s career, you know he loves jazz and has released quite a few jazz and fusion solo albums. His latest, High Standards, is the first to feature jazz standards and consists entirely of Berlin and his trio’s spectacular take on nine well chosen tunes. The trio includes Berlin on electric bass, Richard Drexler on piano and...

The Lowdown with Dr. D

Practice Techniques: Add a Note

When approaching a challenging passage, one very useful technique is that of “adding a note.” Adding one note at a time is an excellent tool for improving passages technically. Many people enjoy this technique because it can usually be done at performance tempo, without slowing the passage down. When using the bow: Be sure to use the same amount of...

Ask Damian Erskine

Scales vs. Chords

Q: What scales are best to know for improvising and how can I go about trying to memorize them? A: Although it is important to learn your major and minor scales as well as all of the others (melodic minor, harmonic minor, blues scale, etc.), I’ve found that scales don’t really help me at all. I also find that guys...

Reviews

A Review of John McLaughlin and the 4th Dimension’s “To The One”

Wow! This is the record I was hoping for: John McLaughlin letting rip within a band context. To The One is a passionate sonic blast. McLaughlin, bassist Etienne Mbappe, and drummers Mark Mondesir and Gary Husband set up in one room on the studio for a live recording with keyboard added by Husband. McLaughlin is now playing with musicians who...

Columns

Because It’s There…

I took my 6-string to have the nut adjusted recently and I was talking to the guitar tech about adjusting the action to make the bass more playable around the middle to high register. He looked at me and said, “Be honest, how often to you play up there?” “All the time” I said, “I’m a solo player, I play...