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Mastering Speed on the Bass Guitar

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Bass Lesson: Mastering Speed on the Bass Guitar…

Mastering Speed on the Bass Guitar: Tips and Exercises

Playing the bass guitar with speed and precision is a skill that every bassist should learn. Remember, mastering speed isn’t just about playing fast; it’s about maintaining control, rhythm, and clarity in your playing. Let’s dive into some valuable tips and exercises that can help you become a faster and more proficient bassist.

Tip 1: Start Slow and Build Momentum

Contrary to the goal of playing fast, it’s essential to begin your practice sessions at a slow pace. Starting slow allows you to focus on building the foundations of speed. Practicing different rhythms and tempos at a slow pace enables you to ensure that everything sounds correct and that your technique is precise. Slow practice also helps you avoid the pitfalls of sloppy playing, allowing you to maintain clarity and control. 

Tip 2: Utilize a Metronome

A metronome is an indispensable tool for improving your speed. It provides a precise beat, allowing you to control the tempo of your practice sessions. Start at a slower tempo and gradually increase the speed as you become more comfortable. A metronome helps you develop your sense of timing, ensuring that you stay in rhythm as you play faster. This method makes it easier to monitor your progress and maintain consistent improvement.

Tip 3: Practice Scales and Arpeggios

Mastering scales and arpeggios is crucial for bassists looking to enhance their speed. Practicing these musical patterns not only helps you learn your fretboard but also improves finger dexterity. You’ll become adept at navigating the fretboard, identifying different notes, and understanding how various scales sound. This foundation is essential for playing fast and exploring more complex bass lines.

Tip 4: Perfect Your Technique

Your choice of picking technique can significantly impact your speed. If you use a pick, practice alternate picking, which involves alternating between upstrokes and downstrokes. Gradually increase the speed to refine your picking control. If you prefer fingerstyle playing, work on using both your pointer and middle fingers (and occasionally your ring finger, depending on the music style). Alternating between fingers can relieve pressure and enhance your speed and precision.

Tip 5: Collaborate with a Drummer

Collaborating with a drummer allows you to work on tempo, timing, and coordination. It’s a fantastic way to see how fast you can play while staying in sync with other musicians. The dynamic between bass and drums can be electrifying and inspiring, making it an excellent tool for pushing your speed limits.

Tip 6: Listen and Learn

To enhance your speed, broaden your knowledge by listening to other bass players and musicians. Explore their techniques, warm-up routines, and exercises that have helped them increase their speed. Bass Musician Magazine’s website features contributions from professional bassists, providing a wealth of knowledge and exercises to aid your progress.

Bonus: Exercises to Help You Play Fast

In addition to these tips, here are some exercises to help you improve your speed on the bass guitar:

1. Scale Runs: Practice running up and down scales using different finger patterns. Start slowly and gradually increase the tempo.

2. Arpeggio Sequences: Work on arpeggio sequences to improve your finger dexterity and ability to move quickly between notes.

3. Chromatic Exercises: Practice chromatic runs to enhance your finger strength and agility.

4. Slap Bass Techniques: If you’re into slap bass, work on your slap and pop techniques to develop your speed and groove.

5. Hammer-ons and Pull-offs: Incorporate hammer-ons and pull-offs into your playing to achieve faster and smoother transitions between notes.

Remember that building speed takes time and consistent practice. Be patient and focused, and over time, you’ll see remarkable progress in your bass guitar playing. If you want more in-depth articles and resources, check out websites like hollyfranklinbasschick.com and BassMusicianMagazine.com.

In conclusion, mastering speed on the bass guitar is a rewarding journey that combines technique, patience, and dedication. By following these tips and practicing the recommended exercises, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a faster and more proficient bassist. Rock on and enjoy your bass playing journey!

For more about Holly go to www.hollyfranklinbasschick.com

Bass Edu

BASS LINES: Staccato for Bass

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jaime David

Staccato for Bass…

Hello bass players and bass fans! In this issue, we are going to study the technique known as staccato.

When we talk about the staccato technique, we are referring to a form of musical articulation.

In modern notation, it signifies a note of shortened duration, separated from the note that may follow by silence.

* In 20th-century music, a dot placed above or below a note indicates that it should be played staccato.

* The opposite musical articulation of staccato is legato, signifying long and continuous notes.

Fig. 1 – An example of a normal notation.

Fig. 2 – Is the same example but now with the staccato articulation

Fig. 3 – A basic groove played and written in a normal notation.

Fig. 4 – The same basic groove using the staccato technique.

So, at the end of the day, you as a bassist will decide what type of technique you will use depending on the effect you want in your performance.

See you next year for more full bass attack!!! Happy Holidays & New Year 2024!!! Groove On!!!

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Bass Edu

BASS LINES: Legato Slide vs Shift Slide

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jaime Vazquez

Legato Slide vs Shift Slide…

Hello bass players and bass fans! In this issue we are going to study how to read the swing eighths.

When we talk about slide techniques, we are referring to what is known in classical music as the glissando.

• Glissando = a continuous slide upward or downward between two notes.

There are two types of slides, legato and shift.

Legato Slide = strike the first note and then slide the same fret-hand finger up or down to the second note. The second note is not struck.

Fig. 1 – Legato Slide – Upward

Fig. 2 – Legato Slide – Downward

Shift Slide = Same as Legato Slide, except the second note is struck.

Fig. 3 – Shift Slide – Upward

Fig. 4 – Shift Slide – Downward

So, at the end of the day, you as a bassist will decide what type of Slide you will use depending on the effect you want in your performance.

See you next month for more full bass attack!!! Groove On!!!

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Bass Edu

Approach Notes – Part 4

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James Rosocha

Bass Lesson: Part 4 of Approach Notes…

My previous lessons on the topic of approach notes covered approach notes from above, approach notes from below, and approach notes from below and above. This lesson flips the concept around to approach notes from above and below. Don’t make the mistake of only learning this material in the major keys. As a starting point, these exercises should be applied to major 7, minor 7, dominant 7, minor 7 b5, and diminished 7 in all 12 keys for all inversions. If you are just starting this lesson, I recommend you go back to my first lesson on approach notes and follow them in sequence. My lesson on arpeggio inversions lays the groundwork for the approach note concept to be applied. 

The first examples approach the root of a G major 7th arpeggio as a double chromatic from above and below- before continuing to the third, fifth, seventh, double chromatic from above and below to the root, continue to the third, fifth, and come back down.

The next example approaches the first inversion of G major 7th arpeggio. A double chromatic from above and below approaches the third, continue to the fifth, seventh, root, double chromatic from above and below to the third, continue up to the fifth and seventh, and back down.

The third example approaches a second inversion of a G major arpeggio. A double chromatic from above and below approaches the fifth, continue to the 7th, root, 3rd, double chromatic from above and below to the 5th, continue to the 7th, root, and back down. 

This final example approaches a third inversion of a G major 7th arpeggio. A double chromatic from above and below approaches the 7th, continue to the root, 3rd, 5th, double chromatic from above and below to the 7th, continue to the root, 3rd, and back down.

These lessons take a very long time to complete so pace yourself and don’t give up. Good luck!

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Bass Edu

Modern Bass Applications: Beginner to Advanced Double Thumbing and Quad Slap Technique

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Modern Bass Applications: Beginner to Advanced Double Thumbing and Quad Slap Technique

Beginner to Advanced Double Thumbing and Quad Slap Technique…

Combinator (Seattle’s Sean Fairchild) has released the first episode from an instructional video series entitled Modern Bass Applications: “Beginner to Advanced Double Thumbing and Quad Slap Technique”.

This fun but focused lesson on advanced right-hand techniques invites viewers into an intimate, private lesson-style setting. The 45-minute, 4K MP4 features info, anecdotes & examples in a friendly and approachable style, and advances from the first stages of through-string slapping through much more advanced double thumb and 2-3 finger popping combinations.

Available now at seanfairchild.com/shop.

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Bass Edu

BASS LINES: Reading The Swing Eighths

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jaime Vazquez

Reading The Swing Eighths…

Hello bass players and bass fans! In this issue we are going to study how to read the swing eighths.

In popular music, straight eighth-note notation is commonly used. It’s understood that all notes falling on the “and” of the beat are to be played as though they were the last note of an eighth-note triplet.

*This eliminates the need to write the rhythms in triplet form.

Fig. 1 – This symbol is often displayed on charts to indicate that the music is to be played with a swing or shuffled feel.

Fig. 2

Fig. 3

Fig. 4

Fig. 5

See you next month for more full bass attack!

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