Connect with us

Latest

Adam Nitti Technique: Using the “Doubling” Method For Increasing Your Speed

Published

on

Meet Adam Nitti –

Hello, and welcome to my first article for Bass Musician Magazine! I’m excited to be a part of this new online publication, and I hope that you will leave here with a new concept or approach that might help you on your quest to become the best bass-playing musician you can be!

For my first submission, I thought I’d address one of the topics that I get asked about frequently at my bass clinics: How to increase speed and dexterity. Whether you have been playing for 30 days or 30 years, chances are that you wouldn’t mind acquiring some more technical headroom in order to perform more fluidly and effortlessly on stage or in the studio. Although I could write many volumes on the subject of further developing technique, I thought I’d share just one of the most effective and simple ways I have found to break through speed barriers on the instrument in this installment. I hope this simple approach will help you as much as it has helped me in the past.

Before I get into the specifics here, first I must offer a short disclaimer… The methods and mechanics of exercises like these are purely technique-driven, and are designed only for the purpose of helping you with the synchronization between your 2 hands if you are interested in being able to play with more speed and dexterity. By continuing on, you accept the responsibility of making the MUSIC your priority on the gig and in the studio, and recognize that you are to practice these exercises for technique’s sake only… You vow to leave your rehearsed shapes and patterns in the practice shed, and allow the inspiration and spontaneity of the musical moment be your sole guide in choosing how you will express yourself on your instrument in performance settings… You hereby pledge allegiance to the groove, of the united strings, and to the bass, with musical liberty and justice for all. OK, ok. Enough ranting, already. Now I’m going just a little TOO far… 😉

A lot of us have turned to the metronome, drum machine, or some other external clock source for help with increasing our speed and cleanliness on the fingerboard. By starting with very slow tempos, and playing exercises that challenge our dexterity, we can slowly work up to speed progressively and incrementally, until the point at which we hit our ‘breaking point’, or ‘maximum tempo’ for the exercise. This is where things start to fall apart technically, and we lose our ability to play the exercise or phrase with any consistency anymore. For example, using this popular approach, you might take a one octave major scale, and play through it at an eighth note pace starting at 60 bpm, and then raise the metronome setting at 10 bpm increments until you reach the point at which you can no longer play the scale with perfect accuracy.

This is a viable and widely used method, but in my experience I have found that even this approach has its limitations when trying to break through your current tempo-oriented boundaries. This is because our mind and hands actually get conditioned to the repetitive process of a progressive tempo increase over time, and we actually find that the ‘wall of our maximum tempo’ feels impossible to break through, no matter how many times in a week we revisit it by working our way up the ‘metronomic’ ladder.

I’ve spent a lot of time and study trying to figure out how our brains work with respect to our bass-playing potential and limitations. What I have found is that often our methods of conditioning will establish predictable limitations. This is partly because we mentally carry the expectation that our limit is fast approaching as we work through the increasing speeds of the exercises we practice. In fact, we often develop a sense of anxiety while we are practicing in this way, in anticipation of reaching what we expect to be our breaking point as we watch the tempo settings on our metronome or drum machine; subsequently, we end up mentally preparing for our breaking point as it draws near with every passing increase in tempo. Although it might sound rather silly or unorthodox, I have found tremendously greater success in trying to ‘trick’ my mind into performing at a more proficient level than I would have obtained by staying completely conscious of each incremental increase using the aforementioned approach.

Ok…. I hear each of you sighing and scratching your heads. This tangent I’ve gone off on has by now started to sound like gibberish, I’m sure… So, in an effort to actually illustrate what the heck I’m rambling about let me give you an example of how you might ‘trick’ your mind or ‘shock’ your system into reaching the next level of dexterity on the bass!

ike many of you, I spent a lot of time in the past working with a metronome and doing as many combinations of exercises as i could that were devoted to speed and dexterity, slowly building tempo with each iteration along the way. However, one of the best ways I have found to increase your speed and cleanliness at a much faster rate, is to do what I call ‘doubling’ exercises… The idea is that you play an exercise or phrase at a particular tempo that is safe and comfortable 3 times in a row, and then without stopping, play the 4th repetition at double the tempo. After that, without stopping go back to the original tempo and start all over again. You keep cycling like this without interruption for several minutes, and only if you can play it perfectly, then jump the metronome or drum machine tempo upwards and then start over again.

Exercise 1 illustrates this approach using a 1 octave G major scale, with the metronome set at quarter notes, at 50 bpm:

As you can see, this is a very simple concept. In Exercise 1, we would play the G major scale ascending and descending using eighth notes for bars 1 through 6, and then suddenly jump into sixteenth notes for bar 7. This temporary doubling in speed is where the exercise takes you out of your comfort zone, but for a short enough period that you can still maintain your control over the shape. To continue with the exercise, I would recommend a strategy of playing through the currently selected tempo 5 times without any mistakes or sloppiness before upping the beats per minute to the next level. (I would recommend tempo increases somewhere between 5 and 10 bpm for each successive iteration of the exercise.)

Here’s another example in which we utilize a triplet feel, instead. In Exercise 2 we are just using a six note scale fragment taken from the G major scale. Note that in this exercise, our metronome would be set to the dotted quarter note, instead, at 50 bpm:

Once again, the pattern kicks into double speed after 3 repetitions, and then starts over again. Notice also that for this particular exercise, we are utilizing a 3 note per string approach, which changes the overall feel of our hand position. (Obviously, you could use any combination of different fingering positions that would help you in achieving your goals when working on things like this.)

The reason this approach is so effective is because it ‘shocks’ your system into playing twice as fast momentarily under focused concentration and attention to detail. Because you are only playing a single repetition at double speed, you do not become overwhelmed with the faster tempo, and thereby have a much higher success rate with respect to your conditioning. It is kind of like doing weight training, alternating between using lighter weights with longer repetitions, and heavier weights with shorter repetitions. This will get your speed ‘up to speed’ very quickly, and also help you to break through the barriers that might be holding you back from stepping up to that next tempo beyond your current maximum. It’s also like working 2 different tempos at the same time, so your mind and hands are not locked into just one phase of muscle memory as you step up the ladder.

Obviously, the sky is the limit with respect to what you use for exercise content… Exercises 1 and 2 simply use fragments from a G major scale pattern in a single position, but you could (and should) just as easily select from arpeggio forms, scale fragments, hybrid scale/chord tone combinations, or melodic phrases to create your speed workout routines. Strive to work on shapes that you are unfamiliar with, so that you are regularly taken outside of your technical comfort zone. This particular article is more dedicated to presenting you with the concept than actual content, because I really want you to use your own creativity and assessment in determining what the best application of this will be. Ultimately, it is always best to start with content that isn’t too overwhelming, so that you maintain your confidence and see your progress increase consistently over time.

To further develop your endurance, you can increase the number of double speed reps accordingly. For example, try doing 3 reps at normal speed followed by 2 reps at double speed, etc., etc. This is my favorite approach for increasing the level of difficulty for this type of technique-based work. I hope this concept will help you in your pursuit of technical excellence. Until next time, keep it bassy!

Gear News

Behind the Strings: D’Addario’s Story Comes to Life in “Jim’s Corner” YouTube Series

Published

on

Behind the Strings: D'Addario's Story Comes to Life in "Jim's Corner" YouTube Series

Behind the Strings – Jim’s Corner…

D’Addario & Co. proudly announces the launch of “Jim’s Corner,” a captivating new YouTube series telling the 400-year-old story of the D’Addario family creating the world’s largest music accessories company. This series features Jim D’Addario, Founder and Director of Innovation at D’Addario and Co., sharing his family’s remarkable journey from 17th century Italy to a 21st century global enterprise. 

In the first four episodes now available, Jim D’Addario takes viewers back to the beginning, making strings from animal guts and knotting ukulele wire as a family around the television. Countless generations carried the passion forward until the 1970s when the company made it official and never looked back. Jim recounts the creation of strings that inspired legendary riffs, including one by The Who, the launch of Darco strings, the merger with Martin Guitars and the company’s humble beginnings with his wife, Janet and brother, John. Jim D’Addario’s firsthand accounts provide an intimate and personal perspective on the milestones and challenges that shaped D’Addario into the revered brand it is today.

Episode Highlights:

  • Episode 1: The Early Days in Italy and the Move to America
  • Episode 2: Inspiring Iconic Riffs and Legendary Partnerships
  • Episode 3: Launching Darco Strings and Merging with Martin Guitars
  • Episode 4: Building the D’Addario and Co. Legacy

Watch & Subscribe Now:

Join us in celebrating this incredible legacy by watching the first four episodes of “Jim’s Corner” on YouTube. New episodes will drop every month so please subscribe to our channel to ensure you don’t miss any future episodes and exclusive content from D’Addario & Co.: www.youtube.com/@daddarioandco

Continue Reading

Gear News

Gear News: Aguilar Amplification Unveils Limited Edition NYC Gold Skyline Tone Hammer Preamp

Published

on

Gear News: Aguilar Amplification Unveils Limited Edition NYC Gold Skyline Tone Hammer Preamp

Aguilar Amplification announces the release of the Limited Edition NYC Gold Skyline Tone Hammer Preamp pedal. Hand serialized 1-100, this exclusive edition celebrates Aguilar’s deep roots in New York City with a tribute to its iconic landmarks and vibrant spirit.

Born in the heart of NYC and raised on the road, the Tone Hammer Preamp DI has been an indispensable tool for bassists seeking inspiring tone and versatility. The new Limited Edition Gold NYC builds on this legacy with striking custom graphics encapsulating the essence of New York City. Featuring iconic landmarks from the Statue of Liberty to the Empire State Building, this pedal is not just a tool, but a piece of art embodying the soul of the city. Each unit features a sharp platinum silkscreen over a stunning matte gold sparkle finish, that is as visually captivating as it is sonically powerful.

The Tone Hammer is an essential preamp/direct box for every bassist’s toolbox. The Tone Hammer features fully sweepable midrange frequencies in addition to bass and treble controls. With the Tone Hammer’s pristine D.I. players are set for either studio or stage. To give this tone shaping unit the ultimate flexibility we introduce our proprietary Adaptive Gain Shaping circuitry (AGS). AGS allows the player to kick in an additional gain structure and EQ with the “stomp” of a button. You can go from modern slap sounds to vintage or overdriven. 18-volt operation gives the Tone Hammer plenty of headroom to reproduce the most dynamic playing styles. Separate gain and master controls allow players to dial in just the right gain structure for any instrument.

Aguilar Amplification’s Jordan Cortese adds, “With only 100 hand-numbered units available, this third iteration of our NYC edition Tone Hammer is a collector’s dream. “It’s a homage to our city’s monumental influence on music and culture and celebrates the craftsmanship and the story of Aguilar”. 

Street price: $299.99 For more information, please visit www.aguilaramp.com

Continue Reading

Bass Videos

Gear News: Spector Launches Euro CST and Euro LX Basses

Published

on

Gear News: Spector Launches Euro CST and Euro LX Basses

Spector, a leading authority in bass guitar design, unveils new additions to its product line: Euro CST, Euro LX and Euro LX Bolt On basses.

Euro CST:
The Euro CST introduces all-new tonewoods, electronics, and finish combinations never seen in the Euro Series, drawing inspiration from Spector’s Woodstock, NY-based Custom Shop. Each Euro CST instrument is meticulously crafted using premium materials, featuring a striking, highly figured Poplar Burl top, a resonant European Ash body, and a 3-piece North American Maple neck paired with an Ebony fingerboard adorned with laminated Abalone Crown inlays.

Euro CST basses are equipped with a lightweight aluminum bridge for precise and reliable intonation. Premium active EMG X Series pickups deliver the exceptional clarity, attack, and silent operation that defines the Spector sound. These basses also feature the all-new Spector Legacy preamp. Developed in collaboration with Darkglass Electronics, this preamp captures the classic “Spector growl,” heard on countless iconic recordings, with added versatility.

Euro CST basses are available in 4- and 5-string models in four distinct high gloss finishes: Natural, Natural Black Burst, Natural Red Burst, and Natural Violet Burst.

Euro LX and Euro LX Bolt-On:
The Euro LX offers all the features that have made the Spector name famous around the globe. Inspired by the iconic NS-2, Euro LX basses feature a fully carved and contoured body, high-grade tonewoods, and professional-grade electronics and hardware. For the first time ever, players can now choose between neck-thru and bolt-on construction in the Euro LX range.  

Each Euro LX bass, regardless of construction, is crafted using premium materials, including a European Alder body, figured European Maple top, and a 3-piece North American Maple neck combined with a Rosewood fingerboard for strength, stability, and sustain. Euro LX basses are then outfitted with a lightweight, aluminum bridge for spot-on, reliable intonation. Premium active pickups from EMG provide the exceptional clarity, attack, and silent operation that Spector is known for. Like the Euro CST basses, these instruments also feature the all-new Spector Legacy preamp.

The newly revised Euro LX range is available in four distinct, hand-rubbed stains, including Transparent Black, Natural Sunburst, Haunted Moss, and Nightshade. Each of these colors features a durable and comfortable matte finish.  

John Stippell, Director, Korg Bass Division, remarks, “I’m thrilled to announce the latest additions to the renowned Euro Range. The CST Series, our new premium offering, features new and unique wood combinations and unprecedented features. The beloved LX Series is now better than ever with the introduction of Bolt-On models, vibrant new color options, and the all-new Spector Legacy Preamp, delivering the classic Spector tone with unmatched precision.”

For more information, visit spectorbass.com.

Continue Reading

Latest

Luthier Spotlight: Garry Beers, GGB Basses

Published

on

Luthier Spotlight - Garry Beers, GGB Basses

Meet Garry Beers, Luthier and owner of GGB Basses…

Bass Musician Magazine: How did you get your start in music?

Garry Beers: I played acoustic guitar as a kid with my mates at school. We decided that one of us should play bass, so we had a contest where the one who knew the least guitar chords would buy a bass – so I lost the contest, bought my first bass, and became the only bass player in the neighborhood. Soon after, I met Andrew Farriss, who had heard that I had a bass, and a few days later, I was jamming with Andrew and Jon Farriss.

Are you still an active player?

Yes, I am still actively writing music and playing bass sessions. I also have an LA-based original band called Ashenmoon.

How did you get started as a Luthier? When did you build your first bass? 

I did woodwork in High School and always enjoyed making all sorts of things out of wood.

After finishing high school, I took a course in electronics for a year or so and learned enough to understand basic circuits in guitars, amplifiers, and effects. The best way to learn is to deconstruct and study, so my dad’s garage was littered with old junked radios and any instrument parts I could find. 

My first guitars were more like Frankenstein-type creations made out of parts I found here and there. I didn’t really try to build a bass from scratch until I perfected my Quad pickup design and got my patent.

How do you select the woods you choose to build with?

I only use woods that were used at Fender in the 50s, which are my favorite basses and guitars of all time. All my GGB basses are modeled in some way from my INXS bass- a 1958 Fender Precision bass I bought in 1985 in Chicago. I call her “Old Faithful,” and she has an Alder wood body with a maple neck. All of my GGB basses are select Alder wood bodies that I have had extra dried, so they match the resonance of “Old Faithful,” as she has had 66 years to lose all her moisture and become more resonant and alive-sounding. I use plain old Maple necks that I carefully select, and again, I dry the necks to make them sing a little more.

Tell us about your pickups.

I started working on my Quad coil design back in Australia in the ‘90s and then put it to bed, so to speak, until I found an old pickup winding machine at a swap meet here in LA. I taught myself enough about pickup winding to build my first prototype design and worked towards my patented Quad coil design by trial and error. Nordstrand Audio builds the pickups for me here in SOCAL.

What is the reaction of players who pick up your basses?

I build the basses to feel like an old friend. They look and feel vintage, and when you plug them in, you discover the array of vintage sounds available to you from just one pickup. Most of the players I have contact with are established professional players, and they all love the basses. Freddie Washington and Nick Seymour from Crowded House are a couple of players with GGB Basses in their hands.

What are a few things that you are proud of in your instruments and would consider unique?

I would say I am most proud of the patented Quad pickup design. I own the patent from 4 through to 10-string. So far, I have only built 4 and 5-string pickups, but the design is a winner. Split Humbucker / Reverse Split Humbucker / Full Humbucker / Single coil Neck / Single coil bridge. All these sounds come from one passive pickup. I am very proud that my perseverance and desire to have this pickup have made it a reality. Being able to have these sounds in one bass enables the player to have one bass in the studio and on the stage. The only place you can have the GGB Quad pickup is in one of my GGB Basses.

Which one of the basses that you build is your favorite one?

I offer three body shapes and about ten different color options – all based on the ‘50s and early ‘60s custom guitar and car paint styles. I have always been a lover of P basses, but my favorite bass I build is now my XS-1 model- which is a custom Jazz bass body style. It is pretty sexy and is a light, well-balanced, and great-feeling body shape. The other body styles are the XS-2, which is a custom Jazzmaster body and has been the most popular so far- and the XS-3, which is the standard P bass body style. I also offer an XS-58, which is a replica of my “Old Faithful” ‘58 P bass. They are currently available to order now and should be available soon.

Can you give us a word of advice to young Luthiers who are just starting out?

I don’t really consider myself a Luthier in the traditional sense. I just love to build things and tinker. I was always looking to improve things, whether it was a guitar, an amp, a pedal board, or a car. So my advice is to always be curious and learn the basics of what you want to build, and the rest should follow once you decide what you want to say as a designer/builder. People are lucky these days that you can learn pretty much anything from talented people on the internet, but nothing replaces working with and learning from real people in real situations. Seek out like-minded builders and start a discussion.

What advice would you give a young musician trying to find his perfect bass?

Have a good hard think about what you want to say as a player. What is your style, both musically and as a player? There are so many instruments available. Do the research, play the instruments that fit your criteria, and make a decision. But make sure you try a GGB Bass!   With all the sound choices my basses offer, with a simple turn of a knob, you may find it easier to find “your” sound.

What is the biggest success for you and for your company?

Well, the company is brand new, and at this point, it is just me, so getting this far in the manufacturing process and now having these amazing basses in my hands is a great achievement, but now comes all the business stuff!! 

What are your future plans?

It’s a work in progress. Right now, it’s all about getting the word out and getting the basses into the hands of interested players. I believe in the basses – and the Quad pickup, so hopefully, GGB Basses can become a go-to bass for demanding studio and live players who want sound choices in a gorgeous vintage-style instrument.

Visit online at www.ggbbasses.com

Continue Reading

Gear Reviews

Gear Review: Joyo Monomyth – A Versatile Modern Bass Preamp

Published

on

Gear Revieww: Joyo Monomyth - A Versatile Modern Bass Preamp

Disclaimer: This pedal was kindly provided by Joyo for the purpose of this review. However, this does not influence our opinions or the content of our reviews. We strive to provide honest, unbiased, and accurate assessments to ensure that our readers receive truthful and helpful information.

Introduction:

The Joyo Monomyth bass preamp pedal is designed to offer bassists a comprehensive range of tonal options, combining modern features with practical functionality. With independent channels for EQ and overdrive, as well as useful additions like a cab sim and DI output, the Monomyth aims to be a versatile tool for both live performances and studio sessions. This review will delve into the pedal’s specifications, controls, and overall performance to determine if it lives up to its promise of delivering quality and flexibility at an affordable price.

Specifications:

– Dimensions: 130 * 110 * 50 mm

– Weight: 442g

– Working Voltage: DC 9V

Controls:

The Joyo Monomyth is equipped with a comprehensive set of controls designed to provide maximum tonal flexibility:

– Voice: Adjusts the character of the overdrive, from distortion to fuzz.

– Blend: Balances the dry and effected signals, crucial for maintaining low-end presence.

– Level: Sets the overall output volume.

– Drive: Controls the amount of gain in the overdrive channel.

– Treble Boost: Enhances high and mid frequencies for clarity in complex passages.

– Gain Boost: Adds extra gain, particularly effective at low gain settings to enhance the low e.

– EQ Function Controls: Features a 6-band graphic EQ plus a master control for precise nal shaping.

– Ground Lift Switch: Helps eliminate ground loop noise.

– Cab Sim Switch: Activates a simulated 8×10″ cab sound.

– LED Light Control: Customizes the pedal’s ambient lighting.

Performance:

The Joyo Monomyth shines in its dual-channel design, offering both a transparent EQ channel and a versatile overdrive channel. The 6-band EQ allows for detailed tonal adjustments, preserving the natural character of your bass while providing ample flexibility. The voice control mimics the functionality of the Darkglass Alpha Omega, shifting from distortion to fuzz, with a sweet spot around the middle for balanced tones.

The blend control is essential for retaining the low end when using distortion, ensuring your bass remains powerful and clear. The treble and gain boosts, available on the overdrive channel, further enhance the pedal’s versatility, making it suitable for everything from subtle drive to full-blown fuzz.

Outputs are plentiful, with a DI and XLR out for direct recording or ampless setups, and a headphone out for convenient practice sessions. The cab sim switch adds a realistic 8×10″ cab sound, enhancing the Monomyth’s utility in live and studio environments.

Pros:

– Versatile Control Set: Offers a wide range of tones, from clean to fuzz.

– Blend Control: Maintains low-end presence.

– Robust Outputs: DI, XLR, and headphone outs make it adaptable for various setups.

– Affordable: Provides high-end functionality at a budget-friendly price.

– Sturdy Construction: Durable build quality ensures reliability.

Cons:

– Plastic Knobs: May feel less premium compared to metal controls.

– Boosts Limited to Overdrive Channel: Treble and gain boosts do not affect the EQ channel.

– Cab Sim only on the XLR out: how cool would it be to also have it on the headphone out?

Conclusion:

In conclusion, the Joyo Monomyth stands out as a versatile and powerful bass preamp pedal, offering a range of features that cater to both traditional and modern bassists. Its dual-channel design, comprehensive control set, and robust output options make it a valuable tool for achieving a wide spectrum of tones, from clean and warm to heavily distorted. For bassists seeking flexibility, reliability, and excellent value, the Joyo Monomyth is a top contender.

For more information, visit online at joyoaudio.com/product/267.html

Continue Reading