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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

        Gear News

        Bruegel Masterpiece (1565) Inspires BITE Masterpiece (2023)

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        Bruegel Masterpiece (1565) Inspires BITE Masterpiece (2023)

        Bruegel Masterpiece (1565) Inspires BITE Masterpiece (2023)…

        Flemish Master Pieter Bruegel the Elder probably had many things in mind when painting his Hunters in the Snow in oil on oak wood in 1565. This masterpiece tells plenty of little stories about winterly pastimes and precarious livelihoods in the Early Modern Age. What Bruegel presumably did not have in mind was that this painting would, several centuries later, become one of the most popular ones in fine arts globally, displayed in a permanent exhibition at Kunsthistorisches Museum (Museum of Fine Arts) Vienna. The painting’s popularity was lately taken to a different level as it was replicated by hand to design an exclusive BITE bass.

        An international art collector and bass player who regularly visits Vienna to immerse himself in the wonderworld of Kunsthistorisches’ Bruegel Hall asked BITE to replicate the painting on a bass body. BITE Guitars, an Austrian premium manufacturer exporting most of their basses to the US, has become renowned for colorful artwork basses, offering a range of manual and digital techniques. The firm’s art director Peter, a trained scenic painter of Oscar and Palme d’Or rank, specializes in photo-realistic reproductions. He also painted the bass for Robbie Williams’ 2023 world tour by faithfully replicating Robbie’s own stage design onto the tour bass.

        Peter copied the Bruegel motif onto the bass body in minute detail, little twigs even by one-hair-brush. Positioning the rectangular image section on the body shape proved to be a special challege that he met by repositioning little elements, a bird here, a horse and cart there.

        It all came together in a memorable video shooting in front of the original painting in the Museum’s Bruegel Hall: venerable fine arts, premium handicraft and groovy jazz tunes.

        View video at the museum: www.youtube.com/shorts/2evdqfR6gUE

        What’s the conclusion of BITE’s client, our Vienna, art and bass lover? “It’s a magical bass! When I touch the strings, I feel warm inside.”

        Specs highlights:
        Bass model: BITE Evening Star, the proprietary BITE premium model with inward curved horns
        Pickups: 2 x BITE 1000 millivolt passive split-coils (PP)
        Neck: roasted maple neck and roasted flamed maple fretboard

        Price tag incl. insured door-to-door express shipping:
        New York: 4726 USD
        London: 3645 GBP
        Berlin: 4965 EUR

        Full specs available at bite.guitars/old-master-bass/

        Bruegel Hall at Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna: 
        khm.at/en/visit/collections/picture-gallery/the-best-of-bruegel-only-in-vienna/

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        Bass Videos

        Interview With Bassist Ciara Moser

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        Interview With Bassist Ciara Moser

        Bassist Ciara Moser…

        Ciara and I sat down for this interview a few months after the launch of her debut album, “Blind. So what?”

        Blind since birth, she is a powerhouse of talent; she is not only a professional bassist, but also composes music, and is a producer and educator. I am just blown away by her talent and perseverance.

        Join me as we hear about Ciara’s musical journey, the details of her album, how she gets her sound, and her plans for the future.

        Visit online:

        www.ciara-moser.com 
        IG @ moserciara
        FB @ ciara.moser

        Photos by Manuela Haeussler

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        Gear News

        New Gear: Black Ice Boost and Distort, Battery-Free Modules for Bass and Guitar

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        New Gear: Black Ice Boost and Distort, Battery-Free Modules for Bass and Guitar

        Black Ice Boost and Distort, Battery-Free Modules for Bass and Guitar…

        Black Ice Enterprises introduces Black Ice Boost and Black Ice Distort, small, battery-free devices that can be easily installed in a bass or guitar.

        Black Ice Boost offers two selectable stages of up to 7 dB of boost, broadly concentrated in the midrange frequencies to add humbucker-like qualities to Strat®, Tele® and other types of single-coil pickups. Black Ice Distort is an overdrive module that can be configured to offer anything from slight overdrive to distortion. Both models are compatible with all passive guitar pickups and electronics (they’re not compatible with battery-powered active pickups).

        Black Ice Boost (SRP: $119.95; MAP, $79.95) can be installed using several wiring options, including a simple “stealth” install that utilizes a single push-pull pot, and a dual-switch option that allows users to select between two different levels of boost. For those using the boost along with Black Ice Distort, a second push-pull pot or switch can be used to select a clean or distorted boost.

        The Black Ice Boost module is approximately 2/3 the size of a 9-volt battery, and can be easily installed in most instruments with no routing or permanent modifications required. The tone of the instrument remains completely unaffected when the boost is bypassed.

        In addition to use with popular single-coil pickups, Black Ice Boost can also be used with other pickup types. Use it to fatten up a P-90 style pickup, or add girth to a low-wind humbucker. Jazz Bass® players can use the additional midrange content provided by Black Ice Boost to produce a sound that’s reminiscent of a P-Bass® or soapbar-type pickup. Black Ice Boost is not recommended for use with high-output humbuckers and other dark-sounding pickups.

        Black Ice Distort (SRP: $27.95; MAP, $21.95) is an overdrive module that can be configured for just a touch of grit, or a more aggressive grind, all the way to a 1960’s-flavored fuzz. While its battery-free circuit will never replace the more refined sound of a well-designed pedal, it provides handy, there-when-you-need-it access to a variety of fun old-school flavors, and is a great way to add additional textures to an already overdriven amp or pedal. Bass players will especially dig its raw dirty grind.

        Like Black Ice Boost, the sugar-cube-sized Black Ice Distort provides a lifetime of tone with no maintenance or power source required. A variety of wiring options are included that let you activate the Distort via a switch or push-pull pot, or by easily converting your guitar’s tone control into a control for the Black Ice Distort circuit. It can be used in conjunction with the Black Ice Boost for a wide variety of useful tones.

        Black Ice Boost and Black Ice Distort are now shipping.

        Visit online at www.blackiceoverdrive.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 @loritabassworks @meridian_guitars @alpherinstruments @phdbassguitars @mgbassguitars @mauriziouberbasses @utreraguitars @sugi_guitars @branco_luthier @blasiusguitars

        View More Bass Gear News

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        New Gear:  D’Addario’s New Humidipak

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        New Gear:  D’Addario’s New Humidipak

        D’Addario’s New Humidipak Absorb Protects Instruments Against Excess Moisture…

        Utilizing two-way humidity control technology, D’Addario’s new Humidipak Absorb protects against damage to wooden instruments in environments with too much humidity. 

        Humidipak Absorb allows players to safely return an instrument and case to the ideal relative humidity level. Using Boveda’s patented two-way humidity control technology, Absorb automatically soaks up excess moisture at a safe rate, re-establishing the right humidity level and eliminating the guesswork of revitalizing your instrument. 

        Like all the Humidipaks before, using Humidipak Absorb is easy—there’s no dripping sponges or manual adjustments. All players need to do is put the humidification packets in the included pouches and place them in the instrument case, close the lid, and relax. The instrument and case will remain at the optimal 45-50% relative humidity level for 2-6 months. 

        D’Addario’s other Humidipaks, Restore and Maintain, are still available for those who need to increase and sustain the humidity around their instrument. 

        To learn more about Humidipak Absorb, visit ddar.io/absorb-pr 

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