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Introduction to “Shell Voicings” on Bass
Playing chords on the upright doesn’t only add to our tonal palette, it also strengthens our knowledge of a tune and our instrument. Some voicings, however, are more pleasant than others. Three and four note chords can easily become “muddy” and unclear, especially in the mid to lower register. As a result, many bass players...

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Practice Slow/Practice Fast
“Slow practice is fast practice” they say. To be sure, slow practice is a powerful strategy. Used by itself, however, it is incomplete. Ultimately, to perform fast passages well, we will need to have practiced them at full speed. In fact, if we are not careful, solely practicing a passage under tempo can drive us...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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:...

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