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Studio Tips Part 1: Creating Grooves With David Dyson

I recall the days when I’d go into the studio as a hired hand and all I needed to ask is “Do you want me to slap or play it finger style?” Now the options in techniques are as various as there are in the number of strings a bass may have.

There are several different important factors that will get you through pretty much any session, successfully. Being equipped with various choices to offer the client (artist/producer) is a valuable asset. Sometimes the client may not know what they want, so you have to be prepared to give them several options (style and technique wise) for each tune. Also, In this case, this is an opportunity to present your unique ideas and techniques without overstepping your bounds.

For instance, On Philip Bailey’s session, I hadn’t heard any of the tunes prior to going into the studio so I just asked the producer “What is the vibe and what style, technique-wise, did you have in mind?” Sometimes they will know exactly what they want, but in this case he said he wasn’t sure and wanted to hear several styles to see what he liked best. I, personally, was working on adapting my “muting and picking” style to any and every genre at the time so I tried that first. The producer was like “Yeah! That’s it!” Then when Philip came in, he loved it so much he wanted that vibe on every track I played.

In the case of Najee’s latest release, the producer wanted finger style on a particular tune and on the break I played it using my “Muting and picking” style and Najee overruled the producer saying I want it played like that instead. So you see, there are ways to persuade without overstepping your position as well. But in any case, Keep the client’s desires and wishes first at hand. That’s how you get the referral and/or call back.

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