Connect with us

Latest

Bass Concepts With Billy Dickens: Concentrate on Music

Published

on

Meet Bill “The Buddha” Dickens –

Hey everybody, it’s Bill “The Buddha” Dickens here. I just wanted to say thank you for all of your compliments. It is wonderful to be known all over the world for my technique and everything that I do.

The message I’d like to begin with, and share with all of you, is “not” to be focusing on just technique. You should be concentrating on the nature of the music itself, because at the end of the day, just speed and technique alone is not going to get you the recording session or tour that you desire. For me, being “musical” is what it’s all about. Bass is not my only instrument. I also play drums, piano, acoustic guitar, as well as being an arranger and vocal coach. I read all clefs, and can translate those ideas onto the bass, which helps me come up with ideas that most people wouldn’t think of.

As I see it, my job as a bassist can be twofold. One is just holding down the groove and supporting the music I’m playing. This is the art of knowing when to play, as well as when not to. I’ve worked hard on mastering “space”, and when it’s appropriate, as well as keeping the groove and complimenting the music. The other role I’m able to execute is playing chords and chord inversions behind singers or soloists, or preparing and playing a solo piece myself, and that part of my playing developed from studying jazz theory and improvisation, as well as investigating classical music.

What I choose to play as a rhythm section player or a soloist has been well thought out, and sometimes I get the impression that people don’t understand what I’m doing, and here’s my thoughts on that. There’s a whole generation of players out there who don’t have the institutions available to them as I did, to help them at an early age begin to prepare for being able to handle whatever is presented musically, as a rhythm section player, as well as a soloist. A basic understanding of how things work on a harmonic level is a valuable commodity.

I tell you this because I’m not just a bassist; I’m a producer as well.

Some of the things that have helped me to become a better bassist came from some of the greatest musicians in the world. What I’ve learned from them is what makes my approach unique. It’s helped me to be able to cover all genres of music as well, which has been documented on numerous records and projects that I’ve been on over the last thirty years. I have to admit it has troubled me when people see me only as far as my technique, rather then understanding it’s only one part of what I do as a musician, and what I’ve learned.

A question that I’m often asked is “How did you come up with your own technique”? I try to explain it’s a combination of what I’ve learned, playing multiple instruments, and having a trained ear, that opened the door for the techniques I’ve developed. So once again you see, it’s not about the technique, but what got you there that’s important. I was lucky to have a mom that encouraged me to play many different instruments at a young age, as well as sight read, and this as well helped me develop my approach to playing.

Let me explain how I tie all this together. On my right hand, I play with all my fingers individually, as well as 5 of my nails in a synergistic symphony. An analogy would be like having 5 fingerpicks. So I’m able to play to the speed of any drummer, or back it off and play percussively behind a hip-hop or rock groove, right down to a good feel for slow funk tune, or ballad. My point is, my technique is just a tool to make a groove feel better.

I hope I’m able to a leave some great music for generations to come, and those that listen, enjoy, and then take it to another level. I thank everyone for their support, and quite honestly for their criticism as well, because I grow as a person from both. I thank my fans, and my dearest friend Victor Wooten who has always been an inspiration to me, as well as my good friend Jeff Berlin, who is one of the few people who understands where I’m trying to go.

I look forward to presenting through this magazine new music, new ideas, new techniques, and my thoughts on whatever I feel might be helpful, and hopefully relevant to any aspiring musician. I’ve been given a gift from God, and I look forward to sharing that with you.

Bass CDs

Album: John Entwistle, Rarities Oxhumed – Volume Two

Published

on

Album- John Entwistle, Rarities Oxhumed - Volume Two

Album: John Entwistle, Rarities Oxhumed – Volume Two

Rarities Oxhumed – Volume Two is the second of the series of posthumous releases coming from John Entwistle.

Rarities Oxhumed – Volume Two is a compilation that was curated by drummer Steve Luongo, who served as John Entwistle’s producer, bandmate, business partner and good friend for many years. As Luongo states, “When I agreed to do two volumes of John Entwistle rarities, I knew volume two had to be even better than volume one. It is!” The collection of songs on Volume Two are from his years with the John Entwistle Band and include re-mastered versions of studio tracks including “Endless Vacation”, alternate mixes of tracks like “Sometimes”, and live tracks including The Who cuts “Real Me”, “Long Live Rock” and an epic version of “Young Man Blues”. The latest preview track to be released is the Who cut “Had Enough.”

Listen to “Had Enough” here: push.fm/ps/hadenough

Rarities Oxhumed – Volume One was quickly embraced by longtime fans as it featured gems like “Bogey Man” featuring Keith Moon, “Where You Going Now” (demo for the Who), and a raw live version of “Trick of the Light” recorded during the John Entwistle Band’s final tour in 2001. Deko Entertainment is thrilled to have been able to bring both volumes of this unearthed music of John Entwistle to the fans and forever solidify him as one of the greatest rock musicians ever.

For more information, visit online at dekoentertainment.com/john-entwistle

Continue Reading

Bass Videos

Artist Update With Mark Egan, Cross Currents

Published

on

Artist Update With Mark Egan, Cross Currents

I am sure many of you are very familiar with Mark Egan as we have been following him and his music for many years now. The last time we chatted was in 2020.

Mark teamed up with drummer Shawn Pelton and guitarist Shane Theriot to produce a new album, “Cross Currents” released on March 8th, 2024. I have been listening to this album in its entirety and it is simply superb (See my review).

Now, I am excited to hear about this project from Mark himself and share this conversation with our bass community in Bass Musician Magazine.

Photo courtesy of Mark Egan

Visit Online:

markegan.com
markegan.bandcamp.com
Apple Music
Amazon Music

Continue Reading

Bass Videos

Review: Minuendo Lossless Earplugs Live 17dB

Published

on

Review: Minuendo Lossless Earplugs Live 17dB

Minuendo Lossless Earplugs Live 17dB…

Minuendo Lossless Earplugs Live 17dB – Hearing protection has always been front and center on my mind because I love music so much, I cannot imagine my life if I were unable to hear.

You might remember back in 2021, we had a good look at the Minuendo Lossless Earplugs featuring adjustable protection. This system has a lot of very good features but there was always the question of how much sound attenuation to choose.

Now, the great folks at Minuendo have come up with a new version of their earplugs that has a set 17dB noise reduction. You still get a lot of the great features of the adjustables but you just don’t have to think about the specific sound level. In addition, this new version of earplugs comes at a very attractive price point.

For more information, visit online at Minuendo.com

Continue Reading

Bass Books

Review: The Bastard Instrument, A Cultural History of the Electric Bass by Brian F Wright 

Published

on

Review: The Bastard Instrument, A Cultural History of the Electric Bass by Brian F Wright 

I was intrigued when The Bastard Instrument showed up on my desk… let’s dig in!

When we dive into the history of our beloved instrument, the bass, we find roots that go back as far as the 15th century. This instrument was a member of the violin family and was for the longest time, an acoustic instrument. As the years passed and music changed, there was a need for the instrument to evolve and the electric bass was born.

Comparatively, the electric bass is a relatively new instrument with its earliest appearances dating back to the 1930s and it is exciting to be an electric bass player while this history unfolds around us. Fortunately for us and future generations to come, Professor Brian F. Wright has taken on the herculean task of documenting the trajectory of the electric bass with this excellent book.

The Bastard Instrument presents an extraordinary amount of fine details about the instrument itself, the development of the amplification to handle its output, the pioneers that dared play it, the rapidly evolving music that flourished because of its presence and so much more. 

When I first started reading this book, I noticed that it felt a tad academic, like a textbook (it might be one someday) or a doctoral thesis, but to present all this information accurately, this approach is more than appropriate. Another detail that might be a bit of a spoiler is that the book only gets us up to the late ’60s. I was left wanting more as we know that so much has happened in the bass world since that time frame; I hope there is another volume in the works to get us up to the present!

All in all, “The Bastard Instrument, A Cultural History of the Electric Bass” is a must-read for all of us who play electric bass and understand its essential place in music.

I found that there was a lot that I already knew but also quite a bit that I was unaware of. I believe that to know and understand where you are, you must know the history of exactly how you got here.

Highly recommended.

The Bastard Instrument is available at Amazon.com (beginning July 2024)

Continue Reading

Latest

This Week’s Top 10 Basses on Instagram

Published

on

TOP 10 Basses of the week

Check out our top 10 favorite basses on Instagram this week…

Click to follow Bass Musician on Instagram @bassmusicianmag

FEATURED @meridian_guitars @adamovicbasses @anacondabasses @mgbassguitars @xylembassguitar @officialspector @edwinpaanakker @alesvychodilbasses @boyarskycg @dmarkguitars

View More Bass Gear News

Continue Reading