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Double Thumbing With Alex Lofoco: Lesson 2

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Meet Alex Lofoco –

A warm welcome to all the readers of Bass Musician Magazine. In this second lesson on ‘Double Thumbing’ we will see some more simple licks to practice with.

In our first appointment we have seen the basics of the technique and the hand positioning, practicing on two simple patterns. The movements involved were three: Down (T?) – Up (T?) – Pluck (P). In pattern no. 2 (see Lesson 1) we introduced the Hammer as a device to play our notes with the only use of our left hand (or the other way around if you are a left handed player).

Using the same three motions I introduce now some new patterns based again on triplets.

1.  In the first example (no.3) we will work with triplets on one string, using some combinations of Down, Up, Pluck and Hammer. As soon as you get more confident with the motions involved you can expand the pattern over other strings and playing other notes.

In this sample the note is an E at the seventh fret on the A string.

1) The first group is a Down-Up-Pluck combination.

    To get a quite fluid motion is recommended to keep the tip of your plucking finger in line with your thumb, which I naturally place parallel to the strings (see image on lesson 1). Once you hit the string with the Down, your finger is ready to pluck even before you come up with the thumb (Up).

    2) In the second group we use the Hammer to play the first quaver of our triplet, followed by a Thumb-Pluck sequence, in order to play the remaining two eight notes.

      Here again the key is to keep thumb and finger as close as possible in order to save time and avoid an extra movement placing your finger underneath the string you are about to pluck. An extra care to the Hammer, which has to be clear and strong enough to produce a full note on beat, giving the accent of our triplet. Therefore the triplet effect depends by the strength of the hammered note.

      3) In the third group we have a Down and Up stroke with a Hammer in between. The coordination is needed to have a fluent triplet using an open string and then hammering a note which will be subsequently plucked by a coming back thumb motion.

        In this last combination, our first quaver is an open A. It can be played both as a full or ghost note according to the dynamic we want to have. Bear in mind that the accent is on the One in order to respect the triplet. (you may also put the accent on the second or third quaver, but do not get confused when playing). The main concept of this combination is the same of the line no.2 (see Lesson 1). We have just replaced the ‘pluck’ with a ‘thumb up’.

        2.  In this line no.4 we introduce the second finger (m) to pluck, and the Strum as new elements to hit the strings.

        1-2             In the first two groups the Hammer plays the first quaver -in this example an E, seventh fret on the A string- and two ghost notes on the open G string. Using the last two quavers as ghosts we can build a scale or arpegio changing the hammered note resulting in a flashy chop lick when played at fast tempo.

        To have a tight triplet I advice to keep the fingers next to each other and articulate the two plucks with one movement when pulling. In this case the double-pluck is not produced by the rotation of your wirst but by the articulation of the fingers. To have a more compressed triplet you can treat the double pull as a flam. You can practice with it separately, on one or two  string, and put the hammered note afterwards.

        3-4         In these last two groups of triplets we use the Hammer to play our notes, and two movements of the right hand: down to Strum, and up when plucking. Stumming is a quite common way of playing for guitarist, for instance. Index and middle fingers are involved in order to hit the string(s), and to have the possibility to pluck once or twice on the way up if needed. I noted the D and G strings only to be strummed, in order to have a high pich sound, almost as a snare drum that stands out in contrast with the low sounds generated by a bass drum, or in our case the bass line. You can strum any note on any string. The Strum is an useful device to enlarge our tonal range.

        Once our picking hand has strummed down, it will be easy to come back and pluck (P) with an up motion.

        Strumming is not a quite common device for bass players, and it is quite hard to find it in ‘traditional’ bass lines. Stanley Clarke was a pioneer of this technique, introducing strummed double stops in his slappy bass lines (‘School Days’ by Stanley could be a good example). Having the chance to hit one or more notes in this way, full notes or ghost, we can produce a percussive effect which adds groove in our bass line. Keep an eye on muting the strings you do not want to ring, in order to avoid undesired resonances.

        You may use the video lesson no.1 as a reference for hand position and more details and examples concerning the double thumbing technique.

        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 possible.

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

        Stay tuned

        Alex

        Bass Videos

        Interview With By the Thousands Bassist Adam Sullivan

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        Interview With By the Thousands Bassist Adam Sullivan

        Bassist Adam Sullivan…

        Hailing from Minnesota since 2012, By the Thousands has produced some serious Technical Metal/Deathcore music. Following their recent EP “The Decent”s release, I have the great opportunity to chat with bassist Adam Sullivan.

        Join me as we hear about Adam’s musical Journey, his Influences, how he gets his sound, and the band’s plans for the future

        Photo, Laura Baker

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        IG &FB @bythethousands
        YTB @BytheThousands

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        Bass CDs

        Album Review: Mark Egan, Cross Currents

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        Album Review: Mark Egan, Cross Currents

        Mark Egan, Cross Currents…

        It is exciting every time I get a new album from Mark Egan as he is such an amazingly versatile player and I never know what to expect (except for excellent artistry!) In his latest release, Mark has teamed up with Shawn Peyton on drums and Shane Theriot on guitar to bring us “Cross Currents”.

        This collection of eleven tracks transports me to the Gulf Coast (New Orleans specifically). Mark’s fretless basses lay down a solid groove and lots of juicy solo work for this rootsy collection of funk, ambient, swamp-rock, second line, ballads, Cajun and even Indian Raga.

        This trio is super-tight and the musicianship is flawless as each member has ample opportunity to shine. Even though each player is very talented in their own right, I feel that the collective energy is greater than just the sum of the players on this album. Each musician contributed to composing music for this project but the lion’s share are Mark’s original pieces.

        I spent the summer of 1981 in New Orleans and this wonderful music takes me back to those fond memories. I participated in a wacky raft race on Lake Ponchatrain and this opening track elicits images of fun, sunshine, music, and great food.

        This is another superb album that everyone will enjoy. Get your copy today! Cross Currents is available online at Amazon.com. Visit Mark online at markegan.com.

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        Gear Reviews

        Review: Joyo Tidal Wave Preamp

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        Review: Joyo Tidal Wave Preamp

        Joyo Tidal Wave Preamp: A Tribute to 90’s Iconic Sounds

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

        In the realm of bass preamp/DI pedals, capturing the essence of iconic tones from the 90s can often feel like an elusive pursuit. However, the Joyo Tidal Wave Preamp emerges as a great option for bass players seeking to replicate the signature sounds of that era, particularly the revered tech21 SansAmp. With its robust feature set and compact design, the Tidal Wave offers a faithful homage to classic rock tones and low-gain distortions, all while providing modern conveniences for today’s bassist. Let’s delve into why the Joyo Tidal Wave stands out as a versatile and budget-friendly tool for both stage and studio.

        Specs:

        Measuring at 130 * 110 * 50 mm and weighing 442g, the Joyo Tidal Wave strikes a balance between portability and durability, making it ideal for gigging musicians and studio enthusiasts alike. With a power consumption of just 100 mA and a working voltage of DC 9V, the Tidal Wave ensures reliable performance in a variety of settings.

        Controls:

        At the heart of the Tidal Wave’s versatility lies its comprehensive control set, allowing bass players to sculpt their tone with precision. Key features include:

        – Level: Sets the overall output volume of the pedal.

        – Blend: Blends the dry signal with the cab-emulated signal, offering seamless integration of the pedal into any setup.

        – Presence: Controls the dynamics of the high upper-mids, crucial for shaping drive tones.

        – Drive: Introduces low-gain distortions and classic rock sounds into the clean tone.

        – Treble, Middle, and Bass: Provides a 3-band EQ with frequency selectors for bass (40Hz – 80Hz) and mids (500Hz – 1KHz), offering ample control over tonal shaping.

        – Middle Shift and Bass Shift: Allows for further fine-tuning of midrange and bass frequencies.

        – Ground Lift: Helps eliminate ground loop noise in certain setups.

        – DI Attenuation Switch: Adjusts the level of the DI output signal.

        – LED Light Switch Control: Allows users to customize the ambient lighting of the pedal.

        Performance:

        True to its inspiration, the Joyo Tidal Wave excels in delivering classic rock tones and low-gain distortions reminiscent of the tech21 SansAmp. Whether you’re seeking gritty overdriven sounds or pristine clean tones, the Tidal Wave offers unparalleled flexibility and sonic versatility. The inclusion of a headphone out, XLR DI out with cab simulation, and throughout for the original bass sound make the Tidal Wave a versatile tool for both stage and studio applications. From practicing silently with headphones to crafting quality recordings in an ampless setup, the Tidal Wave delivers on all fronts with clarity, definition, and unmistakable character.

        Pros:

        The Tidal Wave boasts an array of advantages that set it apart from its direct competitors:

        – Headphone Out: Transforms the pedal into a convenient practice tool.

        – Size and Weight: Compact and lightweight design for easy transportation and setup.

        – Rugged Construction: Durable build quality ensures longevity and reliability.

        – DI and CabSim: Offers professional-grade direct recording capabilities with authentic cab simulation.

        – Familiar Tones: Faithfully replicates the classic rock sounds of the tech21 SansAmp.

        Cons:

        While the Tidal Wave excels in many aspects, it does have a few drawbacks:

        – Plastic Knobs: Knobs may feel less premium compared to pedals with metal controls.

        – Cab Simulation Only on XLR Output: Limited cab simulation functionality may require additional routing for certain setups.

        Conclusion:

        In conclusion, the Joyo Tidal Wave Preamp stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of classic rock tones from the 90s. With its faithful homage to the tech21 SansAmp, comprehensive control set, and modern conveniences like headphone out and XLR DI with cab simulation, the Tidal Wave offers bassists a versatile  tool for sculpting their sound with precision and finesse. Whether you’re seeking to replicate iconic tones from the past or forge new sonic territories, the Joyo Tidal Wave Preamp is sure to inspire creativity and elevate your playing to new heights.

        Available online at Amazon.com

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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 @cb_basses @alesvychodilbasses @odiengcustom @ramabass.ok @mauriziouberbasses @mgbassguitars @capursoguitars @thebassplace @adamovicbasses @ishguitars

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        Bass CDs

        New Project: NEMESIS CALL Announce “Kingdom of Shred” Album

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        New Project: NEMESIS CALL Announce "Kingdom of Shred" Album

        ALBERTO RIGONI’s New Project NEMESIS CALL Announce “Kingdom of Shred” Album, Feat. Super Talented Guests Such as Mike Terrana, Alexandra Zerner + Many Others

        Worldwide known Italian bassist and composer ALBERTO RIGONI (soloist, BAD As, Kim Bingham, Vivaldi Metal Project, etc.) announces the new album “Kingdom of Shred” of his new project NEMESIS CALL. 

        Alberto says: 
        “Even if my latest album “Unexpected Lullabies”, dedicated to my newborn Vittoria Parini Rigoni, was released on June 4th 2024, 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 shred/prog/rock/metal/melodic album, that will feature many talented top-notch musicians such as drummer Mike Terrana, Alexandra Zerner, Alexandra Lioness, Aanika Pai (11 years old!), Keiji by Zero (19 years old!), SAKI 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 or maybe for Christmas!.”

        As an independent artist, Alberto Rigoni has launched a fundraising campaign to support the project. Support at www.albertorigoni.net/nemesiscall. 20% of the income will be donated to Lega del Filo d’Oro (www.legadelfilodoro.it/it), an Italian association that helps deaf and blind children!

        Visit online at www.albertorigoni.net | albertorigoni.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/albertorigonimusic | www.badas.rocks

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