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Double Thumbing With Alex Lofoco: Lesson 1

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Meet Alex Lofoco –

Hi everybody and welcome to our first appointment with the “Double Thumbing” technique.

In this technique the right hand thumb (left for left-handed) is supposed to “pick” the string in both direction down and up. In traditional slap technique, the thumb hits the strings with only one movement (down), bouncing to load next stroke and the wrist is the fulcrum. Using double thumbing, introduced by Larry Graham and developed by Victor Wooten, we can, on the contrary, not bouncing but using an opposite motion to produce another sound (up).

In this first lesson we will start from the basics and we will practice on two simple three notes patterns, using the two movements of your thumb down (T?) and up (T?) and plucking (P) with your index finger (i). In the second pattern we will see how to introduce a fourth element: the hammer (H).

In this way we can use any combination of two, three and four notes, which can be applied to one or more strings.

The first step to approach the double thumbing technique is to achieve the right skill to hit the strings. Picking hand position is one the keys, and even if it is entirely personal and it changes from hand to hand according to size and anatomy, you must play in the most comfortable way in order to avoid inflammation and tendinitis.

These are my personal hand positions and approach, according to my own hand.

• As I said before the thumb must be able to hit the string in both the down and up direction. I place my thumb parallel to the strings. My hand, and therefore my fingers, are instead perpendicular to the strings as shown below.

• The tip of my thumb touches the end of the fretboard but you may find it more comfortable being a bit farer or even on the fretboard.

When the thumb actually hits the string it “gets through”, it doesn’t bounce, and it will stop on the string underneath. If the thumb bounces you lose the second movement because the thumb is already up.

The key point is to strike the first note (down) in the proper way. It is very important to hit the string firmly and with drive in order to obtain a full, clear and precise sound. After the first movement it will be easy to come back to the opposite direction (up) snapping the string again. I use the thumb knuckle to pluck the string on the way back.

Applying this concept on each string, note and scale, we can create infinite combinations of vertical and horizontal patterns.

The following two examples are focused on a three note pattern. Now the index finger is involved to pluck (P) the note after two motions of the thumb.

1. Here is a simple (not always!) C major scale built on three strings A, D, G. Its fingering is 2,4 – 1,2,4 – 1,3,4.

-The movements involved are then:

• Thumb down, Thumb up on the A string.
• Pluck, Thumb down, Thumb up on the D string.
• Pluck, Thumb down, Thumb up on the G string.

-As you hit the last note with an UP stroke, you can start either with a pluck or a Thumb down on the way back to play the descending scale.

Note: Keep in mind that movements must be fluent and relaxed. The best way to achieve this is to find the right balance and economy of movements.

2. In this second pattern we replace the double thumb with another element, the hammer (H), to play one quaver of our triplet.

The Open-Hammer-Pluck is a versatile and easy way to develop a triplet within two right hand movements and one left hand hammer in between.

The pattern is composed this way: the thumb hits one note; it could be either an open string or a fretted note. Afterwards the left hand Hammers another note and a third note is plucked by the index finger.

Note: The first note, opened or fretted, is always on beat. You can manage the open string as a full or a ghost note, but always on beat. Do not get confused by the fingering.

For any questions, suggestion or comments you can contact me at lesson@alexlofoco.com. I will be happy to answer your questions as soon as I can.

Enjoy and I look forward to see you in the next issue.

Gear News

New Gear: Spector Doug Wimbish USA Custom Series Basses

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Doug Wimbish, pictured with the new Spector Doug Wimbish USA Custom Series basses

Spector offers Doug Wimbish USA Custom Series basses…

Spector, a leading authority in bass guitar design, unveils two new Doug Wimbish USA Custom Series basses. Synonymous with bass excellence since 1987, Wimbish collaborated with Spector’s USA Custom Shop to create the DW-4 and DW-5 models, echoing the iconic instruments that have been favored heavily throughout his recording and performing career.
 
These signature basses faithfully replicate Wimbish’s originals, down to the smallest details like neck contours and nut widths. Customized EMG pickups, developed in collaboration with Wimbish, capture the distinctive sound that has shaped his monumental musical impact. These models invite players to explore the feel and response that have defined Wimbish’s signature style over the years.
 
Available in 4-string and 5-string versions, each model boasts unique features & finish options. The DW-4 comes in Amber Stain Gloss and Black Stain Gloss options, while the DW-5 offers Dark Blue Stain Gloss and Faded Natural Gloss. Every purchase includes a certificate of authenticity signed by Doug Wimbish. Wimbish comments, “Spector took the time to get every little nuance right, and that to me is dedication and being thoughtful enough to know ‘I want to nail it,’ and they did. I’m able to pick these instruments up for the first time and play them like I’ve already had them for years.”

For more information, visit spectorbass.com/doug-wimbish-usa-signature-series/.

Photo: Doug Wimbish, pictured with the new Spector Doug Wimbish USA Custom Series basses

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Bass CDs

New Campaign: Alberto Rigoni, Nemesis Call – Queens Of Strings

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New Campaign: Alberto Rigoni, Nemesis Call - Queens Of Strings

Italian bass master and composer ALBERTO RIGONI is thrilled to announce his brand new project “Nemesis Call – Queens Of Strings”.

Nemesis Call – Queens Of Strings features a super talented drummer from Japan (TBA) and tons of female guitarists such as SAKI, Giusy Busetto, Alexandra Zerner (TBC) and many many others (TBA). Furthermore, Alberto has also launched a Fundraising Campaign for the project. 20% of the income will be donated to Lega del Filo d’Oro legadelfilodoro.it/it, an Italian association that helps deaf and blind children!

Alberto shares:
“Hello friends and music lovers! I’m Alberto Rigoni, an Italian composer and.. a BASS GUY! Between 2008 and 2024 I released 13 solo albums, spanning from progressive, rock, ambient to funky and experimental music, which also features contributions from musicians such as keyboard wizard Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater) drummer Gavin Harrison (Porcupine Tree) and Marco Minnemann (the Aristocrats), keyboardist Kevin Moore (ex Dream Theater), singer John Jeff Soto (ex  Goran Edman (ex Y. Malmsteen), bassists Nathan East, Stu Hamm (Joe Satriani), Nik West (ex Prince) and many others. I’m also bass player for BAD As, Sunset Groove Society, Kim Bingham, The Italians bands and co-producer of Mistheria’s Vivaldi Metal Project.”

Alberto on the new project Nemesis Call:
“Even if my latest album “Unexpected Lullabies”, dedicated to my newborn Vittoria Parini Rigoni, will be released on June 4th, 2024, when Vittoria came to life I felt the need to compose new music (yes, I really can’t stop!!!!!). This time will be quite challenging because I’m willing to release an instrumental ambient/prog/rock/metal album, that will feature a talented and young drummer (TBA) and tons of female guitarists (that’s why I will call the album “Queens of the Strings”) such as Alexandra Zerner, YOKA and many others (TBA/TBC)). It won’t be easy to manage all such great musicians but I will make it!! Are you ready to face a new prog experience? The album will be released in Digipack CD and in high-quality digital format approximately at the beginning of 2025.”

The Fundraising Campaign:
As an independent artist, Alberto is looking for supporters who can help him reach the budget for the production (recordings, mix, mastering, artwork etc.) of this new album and has started this fundraising campaign that will end successfully on October 15th, 2024.

Get further information about Alberto Rigoni’s new project Nemesis Call Fundraising campaign at albertorigoni.net/nemesiscal

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Bass Videos

Artist Update With Bassist Derek Frank

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Artist Update With Bassist Derek Frank

Bassist Derek Frank…

Many of you will remember the last time I chatted with Derek Frank was back in 2017. The main thing that impressed me was how busy Derek was and how he juggled playing with many huge acts.

Now, I am happy to hear that Derek launched a new album last March titled “Origin Story” where he digs deep into his roots and pays homage to Pittsburg.

Join me as we get caught up after all these years and hear the details about the new album, how Derek gets his sound, and his plans for the future.

Photo, Stephen Bradley

Visit Online:

www.derekfrank.com
www.instagram.com/derekfrankbass
www.youtube.com/derekfrankbass
www.facebook.com/derekfrankbass

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This Week’s Top 10 Basses on Instagram

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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 @foderaguitars @bqwbassguitar @lecomptebass @xvector_basses @vuorensaku_guitars @phdbassguitars @meridian_guitars @sterlingbymusicman @ramabass.ok @overwaterbasses

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Gear News

New Gear: Alberto Rigoni Signature Bass, the VPR5 by Gaetano Costanzo!

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Internationally renowned bassist ALBERTO RIGONI (soloist, BAD AS, Vivaldi Metal Project, TwinSpirits, etc.) is proud to announce the release of his signature bass VPR5 made by renowned Italian luthier Gaetano Costanzo!

Alberto Rigoni Signature Bass, the VPR5 by Gaetano Costanzo!

Internationally renowned bassist ALBERTO RIGONI (soloist, BAD AS, Vivaldi Metal Project, TwinSpirits, etc.) is proud to announce the release of his signature bass VPR5 made by renowned Italian luthier Gaetano Costanzo!

The bass is entirely handmade in Italy, without the use of CNC or other machinery, and has rather special features. The VPR is a 5-string bass (but also available as a 4-string) with 30 frets, Seymour Duncan pickups, Music Man Alnico style, passive electronics (volume, tone and a switch to select series/parallel/single-coil mode), alder body, and American maple neck and fingerboard. Gotoh tuners that ensure perfect intonation. The bass is totally painted white (nitro finish) but other colors can be requested. The VPR has a weight of about 2.9 kg and suitable for any genre.

For more information contact Gaetanobass77@gmail.com or visit online at www.instagram.com/gaetanocostanzoluthier or www.facebook.com/GaetanoCostanzoLuthier

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