5/15/2017

Lesson To Go - Finger Exercises for Bass Players (Chapter 1)


Learning an instrument requires complex motions your hands weren’t designed for by nature. Muscles must be developed, tendons must be streched, and coordination must be trained. This process is time-consuming and sucessful only if specific exercises are practiced regularly.

Highly developed technical skills are a prerequisite to play with the right feel and groove.
Finger exercises are designed to repeat certain motions until they become second nature and automated. I usually start my daily practice with 15 minutes of finger exercises to warm up and relax my muscles and tendons. A cold start may have nasty consequences such as tendogynovitis. Therefore you should warm up before the actual “training” (think sports here), and if practiced slowly technical exercises are ideal for that.

You can only make music if you don’t have to worry about technical aspects. So play the finger exercises regularly - it’ll  be worth your while!

I split up this workshop in serveral chapters with increasing levels of difficulty. Depending on the amount of time your putting into the exercises you can work on each chapter for a month or six to eight weeks and then progress to the next chapter.

The individual chapters usually contain  exercises for

Alternate Picking
Hand strength
Fretting hand dexterity
Control/accuracy
Durability/stamina
Finger  independence





This lesson contains a 20-page pdf-Handout with all the notes/tabs, 8 audiofiles and 12 videos in format mp4. After payment ( $ 12,-) via the Paypal-Button underneath I'll send you the downloadlink for those files within 24 hours.


4/17/2017

Weekly Basslines #218: Blues Bass Lesson (The "Texas Stride" Groove)

Here's one more lesson from the Blues Bass Workshop:


The name “Texas Stride Groove” is derived from a piano playing technique that came up during the ragtime era, where the left hand plays a four-beat pulse with bassnotes on the downbeats and jumps up to playing chords on the upbeats inbetween, while the right hand plays the melody. A very virtuosic technique generating the charateristic “oom-pah” sound, that is the basis of this groove. On bass we play the four-beat-pulse with arpeggio-patterns and the “pah”-section is created by striking open strings or playing deadnotes on the third triplet of each beat.


In the video I’m using a major chord pattern starting from the octave and utilizing a sixth rather than the b7 ,because the guitar usually plays the sixth in the rhythm pattern too.



On the IV- and V-chord I play the “Major Sixth Pattern” starting with a low root:



For further study check out my "Lesson To Go" series about Blues Bass:



Here's the first page of the session transcription I did on the workshop:


You can get the whole 4-pages of the transcription the 4-pages lesson sheet (showing you some of the variations and fills I'm playing) plus the audio playalong track for only 2,- € by hitting the Paypal button underneath. I'm sending you the download link for the material within 24 hours.


4/11/2017

Weekly Basslines #217: Blues Bass Lesson (Bouncy Blues)

Last week I was holding a "Blues Workshop" at my music school "STAGE AHEAD".
I recorded some of the presentations I did and thought it would be a good idea to show you some of the basslines I played.



Here's a session I called "Bouncy Blues":


The bassline was mainly improvised, but I was utilizing a certain concept of bassline building that I call the "7th chord tone set".

Tone-Sets are a distinct group of notes which belong to a certain type of chord. The 7th chord tone set is derived from the 7th chord (G7, C7, D7) and contains the root, fifth, minor seventh and octave.



Starting with the root on beat one you can use the different notes in any order you like.
Here’s an example of a popular blues bassline starting with the root, jumping up to the octave and coming down via the minor seventh and the fifth.


There are many many ways you can play this bassline. Here are a few variations I used in the recorded session.

In the first variation I’m playing a short triplet fill on beat four:


In the next variation I’m using a blue note (#4) within the triplet fill:



Sometimes I expand the triplet fill over two beats:


To enhance the groove I often play the first eighth note of each beat short (staccato):


Here's the first page of the transcription:


You can get the whole 4-pages of the transcription plus 6 Audio tracks (5 demonstration tracks and the Playalong track) for only 2,- € by hitting the Paypal button underneath. I'm sending you the download link for the material within 24 hours.



If you want to learn more about the Blues, check out my


3/30/2017

Weekly Basslines #216: You're The One That I Want (Grease)

I like playing with a pick. It's a very special sound and groove you can create with a pick. Here's a good example of a bassline, that only grooves right if you play it with a pick.


Here's my rendition of that song:





3/06/2017

2/14/2017

Weekly Basslines #214: Unchained Melody (Righteous Brothers)

❥❥❥  It's Valentines Day!  ❥❥❥

My wife loves this song and so I dedicate this post to her.


The song first appeared in a prison movie called "Unchained" in 1955 and was written to reflect the mood of the prisoners as they wait for time to pass.

The music was written by Alex North, lyrics by Hy Zaret. Todd Duncan sang the version that appeared in the movie. "Unchained Melody" is one of the most recorded songs of the 20th century, with over 500 versions.

The best-known version however was recorded by Bobby Hatfield and Bill Medley, who called themselves "The Righteous Brothers" in 1965. Producer Phil Spector didn't expect a major success with this and put the song on the B-side of the single "Hung on you". But Radio-DJ's instead chose to play the B-side and so the song reached number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and number 14 in the UK.

25 years later (on Nov. 3rd 1990) the Righteous Brothers version even went to No. 1 on the UK singles charts, because the track had been featured in the Patrick Swayze film "Ghost".

The song is a very good example for a "12/8-ballad". This time signature is a cousin to the 4/4 time signature. The Twelve/Eight time signature belongs to the family of Quadruple meters, meaning it has 4 beats to the bar (four dotted quarter notes) with 3 background units per beat. Therefore it's commonly used to facilitate ballad type tempos with a triplet feel.


Here's the main rhythm-pattern of "Unchained Melody" written in 12/8- and 4/4 time signature:

In the song you can hear the background units being played by the piano throughout.


Here's the complete bassline:


Here's an interesting clip about the origins and different versions of "Unchained Melody":