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How Much Should I Practice?
This is a question I get often from both serious students and amateurs alike. Since the answer depends on a person’s goals, and every person is unique, there is no single answer for everyone. However, I can make some general suggestions. My suggestions will presuppose a few things: You practice on a regular basis Daily,...

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Basic Care of Your Upright Bass: Part 2
While there are certainly deals out there, an upright bass can cost. Even a “student model” plywood bass, properly set up, can easily set you back around $2000 US. The prices only go up from there. Needless to say, most of us would like to protect this investment. The suggestions below are a continuation of...

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Basic Care of Your Upright Bass: Part 1
While there are certainly deals out there, an upright bass can cost. Even a “student model” plywood bass, properly set up, can easily set you back around $2,000 US. The prices only go up from there. Needless to say, most of us would like to protect this investment. Here are some basics everyone should know...

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Things to Know About the Bridge on Your Upright Bass
Having a properly set up bridge on your upright is an important factor in the playability, sound and the long-term health of your instrument. Here are some things every upright player should know: The internal, not external, notches you see on the F-holes determine the proper distance of the bridge from the fingerboard. They should...

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Secrets of Playing Great in a Group Setting: Listen, Acknowledge and Respond
Be it on the bandstand, the concert stage, or the corner of a bad club, most musicians yearn for great musical communication in an ensemble. Great musical communication between players leads to great ensemble playing. If you have experienced it once, you will want it again. To have the shot at this, we need to:...

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The Lowdown with Dr. D: A Call for Questions
Over the years, I’ve received questions from aspiring bassists, and many of those questions have turned into the Lowdown columns you read here. I’d love to do more of this. Please send me questions you’d like to see me cover in future Lowdown columns. You can send them to drd@notreble.com or post them in the...

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Grouping Multiple Notes Into a Single Action/Thought
When playing at slow speeds we can concentrate on our physical movements for every single note we play. However, this becomes impractical at high rates of speed. When playing at high speed it helps to group notes, and motions, together into a single action. The number of notes we can combine will depend on the...

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Understanding Rhythm: Mental and Physical Approaches for Bass Players
Rhythm is both mental and physical. Mental The mental aspect of rhythm is the intellectual understanding of how musical time is organized. For any given piece, passage, or note, this includes things such as: Understanding how many beats are in the measure. How each beat is subdivided. Is it by two, three, five, seven? Perhaps...

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Arco Tone on the Bass: Three Main Components
There are a number of things than can adversely affect a bassist’s tone when they are using the bow. For example, failing to move the bow parallel to the bridge will cause impurities in the tone. Too much, or too little, rosin can cause problems. So can worn out bow hair or an improperly tightened...

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Playing Bass… Slow
Every bassist, at some point, wants to learn to play fast. This is a reasonable technical goal to have, of course. Much music demands this sort of technical facility. Furthermore, if we want to be able to truly express ourselves musically, we must have this ability. However, fast playing isn’t everything, in fact it’s only...

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