Bass Player

Beginners’ Lesson

Welcome back! This month, let’s dig a little deeper into the things that help round out our musicality while we’re practising.

So much of learning an instrument is about developing a level of dexterity and control over a sequence of notes or chords. We learn scales, arpeggios, and new techniques, and we practise being able to repeat them consistently—because that’s a massive part of being a bassist in almost all pop music formats around the globe.

But what we don’t often talk about is the control that’s needed when we’re not playing. Is there a skill to leaving gaps in the music? Does a gap mean we get to switch off for a moment or two and then re-engage when our fingers need to start twiddling again? Or can we think of not-playing as a musical skill that can be developed? Can we think of being able to recognize good places to leave a gap as being as much a part of ear training as recognizing a major or a minor chord?

Perhaps not surprisingly, I think we can—and we’re going to take a look at a couple

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