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The Lowdown with Dr. D - Page 3

Learning the Double Bass Fingerboard

Learning the Double Bass Fingerboard

I received this question recently via Facebook: “How can someone become more familiar with the fingerboard? I can find the positions on my bass pretty easily, but sometimes I have trouble knowing exactly what notes are in that position across the strings. Thank you!” I’m so glad you are looking to solidify your knowledge of the fingerboard! There is certainly...

Buying Your First Double Bass (Upright Bass): Part 2

Buying Your First Double Bass (Upright Bass): Part 2

Now that we have had a short introduction into the various sizes and materials of double basses, we are ready to get our own upright bass. Here are a few thoughts on the final steps. Renting For those folks who aren’t ready to commit financially, renting can seem attractive. If you are just dipping your toes in the water, this...

Buying Your First Double Bass (Upright Bass): Part 1

Buying Your First Double Bass (Upright Bass): Part 1

When people are just starting to get interested in playing the double bass there can be some trepidation when it comes to obtaining one. Both the prices and the terminology can be off-putting for someone just starting out. For those of you thinking about buying your first upright bass, below are a few things to consider. There are many variables,...

A Quick Left Hand Warmup

A Quick Left Hand Warmup

Most people are aware of the importance of warming up before we practice or perform. A slow warmup can protect against injury and help to ensure we are performing at our optimum level. In situations where time is short, however, it can be tempting to forgo the warmup portion of the day. When I am pressed for time, I sometimes...

Ensuring a Productive Rehearsal

Ensuring a Productive Rehearsal

Over the years I’ve been involved with ensembles of varying sizes and genres. As a result, I’ve experienced some extremely productive rehearsals, and some less than productive rehearsals. Below are a few things that can help your next series of rehearsals run well. Be Prepared It is important to have your part ready to the best of your ability before...

Multi-Stop Travel With Your Bass – Part 3: On the Plane, Bass and Travel

Multi-Stop Travel With Your Bass – Part 3: On the Plane, Bass and Travel

Most people realize that there are special considerations when flying with your upright bass. These considerations are significantly expanded if your musical journey requires a series of planes, trains, and automobiles, before you arrive back at your home door. To wrap up my discussion on this topic, below are a few ways I prepare for a smooth travel day with...

Multi-Stop Travel With Your Bass – Part 2: Packing/Luggage/Bass

Multi-Stop Travel With Your Bass – Part 2: Packing/Luggage/Bass

Most people realize that there are special considerations when flying with your upright bass. These considerations are significantly expanded if your musical journey requires a series of planes, trains, and automobiles, before you arrive back at your home door. With this in mind, I’d like to continue my discussion from last time by talking about some of the precautions I...

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Multi-Stop Travel With Your Bass – Part 1: Physical Preparation

Multi-Stop Travel With Your Bass – Part 1: Physical Preparation

Most people realize that there are special considerations when flying with your upright bass. These considerations are significantly expanded if your musical journey requires a series of planes, trains, and automobiles, before you arrive back at your home door. With this in mind, I’d like to address three subjects in this series about Multi-Stop Travel: Physical Preparation, Personal Packing (luggage)...

Introduction to Chromatic Scales

Introduction to Chromatic Scales

For many bassists, the chromatic scale is an underused resource in their practice toolkit. Properly approached, practicing chromatic scales can vastly improve our shifting, intonation and mental map of the fingerboard. Below are a few beginner exercises using the chromatic scale that I find to be useful for those just becoming more familiar with it. Single string 1 8va chromatic...

Learning a Tune “On the Spot”

Learning a Tune “On the Spot”

Last week I received a question about how to memorize a tune fast: “…For example, [bassist] playing a jazz tune you’ve never played before with a pianist as they shout out the changes for one chorus, then stop for the second. How can we develop skills to memorize these changes instantly?” No doubt the situation you describe can be stressful,...

Memorization: Tips for Bass Players

Memorization: Tips for Bass Players

I received the following question this week from a concerned double bassist: “How can I keep from having memory slips on stage?” Even experienced performers may have the occasional memory faux pas on stage. However, there are some things we can do to minimize the risk. Be prepared early. The earlier you can play something from memory in the practice...

Preferred Scale Books for Bass Players

Preferred Scale Books for Bass Players

Recently I’ve been getting a lot of people asking for recommendations for “good” scale books for the double bassist. This is an interesting subject, as there so many books out there! Furthermore, whether a scale book is “good” or not often depends not on their content, but rather how they are applied. This is why a good teacher and a...