Tag Archives | bass

You Can Never Escape Math Class: The Fretboard as a Grid

Another excerpt from “How Do I Bass?”. See also this post about how the fretboard is not a grid. In the actual book this chapter will come before that one. Before I understood anything about music theory, I learned the bass by finding visual patterns. And even now that I understand a fair amount, IRead More »

Perception Exercise 3: The Sounds are Coming from Inside the Sound

When a string or whatever object vibrates at a constant rate you assign a pitch to it, but there is never only one pitch. The string produces overtones with various mathematical relationships to the fundamental, and the relative volume of the overtones is one of the major determinants of your tone. You probably know ofRead More »

Technology, Constraints, and why I love my Scordatura

Another excerpt from my upcoming book tentatively titled “How Do I Bass?” Music is all about constraints. You can’t avoid them, so you might as well be aware of them and learn to work with them. Unless you’re Harry Partch or you have an “Ustad” before your name, you’re probably working with the standard 12Read More »

Perception Exercise 2: G = G ^ ~G

Set the EQ flat on your bass and amp. If you normally use an overdriven or “hot” sound, set it to clean. Play an open G. Play it a bunch. Play it softly, play it hard, stop it short, let it ring out, etc. You can even slap it, if you’re into that. Now playRead More »

Perception Exercise 1: The Whole Hog

This is one of the few exercises you should do without a metronome. You are not aiming for perfect execution, you are evaluating what is. Set the EQ flat on your bass and amp. If you normally use an overdriven or “hot” sound, set it to clean. You want the most neutral possible tone. PlayRead More »

Pitch <> Sound: The Fretboard as an Irreducible Whole That Refuses to Submit to Abstraction Despite Its Obvious Symmetry and Simplicity

When you’re starting out with a teacher, you are probably told that the fretboard is a grid, but this is only half true. The fretboard is both a grid and not a grid. This is one of the great paradoxes that make music interesting. Pitch is a function of several physical attributes of a string:Read More »

Fuck Virtuosity: A Healthy Skepticism of Music-For-Musicians

An excerpt from my upcoming book, “How Do I Bass?”, edited slightly from an earlier version posted on Facebook. Lots of modern players talk about “expanding the role of the bass” or words to that effect. Certainly there are many techniques only possible on the bass and no other instrument, and the solo repertoire hasRead More »