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How to Study… What to Study?



That’s a very important question don’t you think so? Well, I think the same, so in this month’s article I will mention very briefly the subjects that I consider the most important for a bassist to learn. Obviously the intention of this article is just to serve as a guide for your study and not to be the subject of study itself, because for something like that we’d need about ten thousand articles more….


In my opinion this is the essential subject for a bassist, the first one to address and the first one to care about. Here are my suggestions:

1) First of all understand the most important concepts like Rhythm, Beat, Time, Tempo, Time or Meter Signature, Measure, etc.

2) Then it‘s important to start developing the sensibility for being able to keep a steady speed with the beat. This is the same as when a person starts learning to drive a car. At the beginning when you are trying to keep a straight line, once the car starts slightly to move to the left you won’t notice that immediately, and when you notice that it will be usually too late, so you’ll have the tendency to over-correct the steering wheel to the right and eventually your “straight line” will look like a “snake”.

Practicing hard with a metronome will help you out with this task like no other device or weird way of practicing will, and this is because this device will help you to develop your internal sense of pulse which is controlled by your nervous system that in charge to develop a so called “Micro Circadian Sense of Time” within your body.

3) Learn to subdivide a beat. That means subdividing it in 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 etc. parts and make connections (slurs or dots) within each of those parts. I suggest starting to manage the subdivisions of 2 and 4 fractions of a beat and then continue with the other subdivisions to eventually be able to play Triplets, Quintuplets, Sextuplets and Septuplets too. Learn then how to subdivide more than one beat, like 2 beats subdivided in 3 parts etc. The limit is the sky here.

4) Study the different time signatures by learning how to build “groups of beats” separated by a strong accent, obtaining on this process the different “Meters”. That means you must be able to understand and feel the sensation of 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 etc. groups of beats by accentuating on the very first beat of each group that have a pair number of beats and also (but softer) over the beat that’s right in the middle.

On the groups that have an odd number of beats (apart from accentuating strongly on the first beat) you’ll need to get use to accent (softer) over the beats that are right on the side of the “center” of that group of beats (measure).

5) Get used to recognizing the different rhythmic figures and get use to their different time value depending on the time signature gradually increasing your reading speed.


1) Study deeply the main concepts involved within this subject, like Intervals, Key Signatures, Scales, Modes, etc.

2) You have to go through a profound study of the main scales we use to play in occidental music. I suggest putting the most of your energy on studying The Major Scale, The Melodic Minor Scale, The Harmonic Minor Scale and The Pentatonic Scale, each of them with all their respective modes.

3) Practice recognizing “by ear” all the possible intervals, and also (if you don’t have an absolute pitch) try to get use to singing a C note (or any other note) whenever you want to use it as a reference to be able to get any of the other notes “by the interval”.

3) Learn to sing any scale and interval you play. You must develop musicality in the first place… please never forget that.

4) Get familiar with terms like Inversions, Alterations, Extensions, Triadic Chromatic Approach, Displaced permutations, etc.

5) Get used to recognizing the notes on the staff and on the fretboard gradually increasing your reading speed.


1) The intervals are the main topic to manage on this subject too, so when you study them never forget that this will help both your melodic and harmonic knowledge and skills.

2) Study all the chord species (Major, minor, diminished, etc.), all the extensions, all the Slashed Chords and Polychords. Obviously you must learn to identify and to write the proper notation for every chord.

3) Try to play all that chords on your bass identifying the different voices, and trying to sing them. The vast majority of the chords can be played on a 4-string bass.

4) Study the relation of all the different chords with each of the modal scales.

5) Understand the progressions and the many ways to connect a chord with another chord. Get familiar with terms like Secondary Dominants, Substitute Dominants, Tritones, Extended Dominants, Secondary Relative Minor Substitutes, etc…


(Assuming you are a right handed person)

1) Start to build your technique from the right hand to the left and not the opposite.

2) The open strings are just enough to build a good right hand pizzicato technique. In relation with that, please always consider not repeating the fingers, and sweeping every time you can, don’t hit the strings just push them, always look for the minimum movement (the smallest possible) so helping you out with increasing your speed, but never compromise the sound, prefer the floating thumb technique, and finally avoid bending your wrist as much as you can.

3) Diversify your technique study and also practice slapping, palm muting, harmonics, and the different kinds of tapping techniques, but always take into consideration what technique you’ll be using the most depending on the music style you wish to play. After assessing that put the main energy on that specific technique. What I’m trying to say is that it is not necessary to spend crazy amounts of time and energy on a technique you will never or almost never play, affecting with that the practice time of the techniques you will be using a lot.

4) Consider always your anatomical characteristics before “buying” anything you read (including this article), because something that can be proper for person A won’t be proper for person B… please never forget that. There are concepts that are applicable to everyone though.

5) Regarding the left hand, never forget the Lower Pressure Point, keep your elbow close to your waist and escape as far as you can from those teachers that want you to apply “Upright Bass Left Hand Techniques” to the Electric bass.

6) Finally… relaxation is the “Holly Grail” of Technique… if you don’t start by controlling this aspect.., all the other aspects will be completely useless.

Integrating and Applying

Once you feel you can manage all this information at a certain level that you feel confident with, you must start integrating all these subjects and focusing on other topics that are just as important as the main subjects.

Focus on mastering topics like Dynamics, Agogics, Improvisational Resources and Concepts like Q&A, Chordal improvisation, Melodic Improvisation, etc… communicate with the musicians of the band while you are playing, develop creativeness through the constant singing of original melodies (doesn’t matter if it’s while you are in the shower), always practice different rhythms tapping with your feet and hands, (it doesn’t matter if it’s on the surface of a table, over your thighs or wherever). You really don’t need your bass all the time to be able to develop musical skills… don’t forget that!

See you in my next article my friends… and don’t miss the great articles of my colleagues too!!!

Gear News

Gear News: Positive Grid Launches Spark 2



Gear News: Positive Grid Launches Spark 2

Positive Grid launches Spark 2, the next evolution of their cutting-edge smart guitar practice amplifiers and Bluetooth® speakers.

Engineered for acoustic, electric guitar, and bass, Spark 2 delivers an immersive practice and playing experience. Enjoy detailed sound and an all-new upgraded speaker design powered by Positive Grid’s exclusive Sonic IQ Computational Audio technology. With an onboard creative looper, optional battery power, and intuitive AI features for tone exploration and practice, Spark 2 is the gateway to a musical experience that goes beyond expectations. 

Proprietary Audio and Advanced Technology
Spark 2 represents a leap forward in amplifier design. It integrates a new DSP amp modeling engine with double the processing power, and at 50 Watts, it packs 25% more volume than the original. Positive Grid’s proprietary Sonic IQ Computational Audio delivers incredibly detailed and dynamic sound. New HD amp models, enhanced by multi-band dynamic range compression and virtual bass augmentation, redefine the sonic landscape.

Equipped with two premium FRFR speakers and reflex ports, Spark 2 offers wide stereo imaging and broader frequency response, ensuring refined bass and clear, immersive sound.

Built-In Creative Looper
Spark 2’s built-in Groove Looper features hundreds of hyper-realistic drum tracks. From basic loops to multi-layered soundscapes or the ultimate jam session, this intuitive tool inspires endless creativity. Onboard amp controls provide quick, on-the-go looping functionality.

AI-Powered Tone and Smart Jam
Spark AI revolutionizes tone exploration. Describe any desired tone in the Spark app – from practical to outlandish – and Spark AI will suggest tones to audition or download. The more it’s used, the smarter it gets, delivering the perfect sound.

Additional smart features make it easy to practice, learn new songs and improve playing skills. Smart Jam listens to the user’s playing style and generates accompanying bass and drum parts, while Auto Chords analyzes any song streamed and displays the guitar chords in real time, to make learning and practicing new songs easier than ever.

Enhanced Hardware Design and Portability
Spark 2 allows for storing up to eight customizable presets directly on the amp for quick access to favorite sounds. Perfect the tone with large, visible onboard controls for looper, EQ, gain, reverb, and more.

Designed for convenience, an optional rechargeable battery provides up to 12 hours of playtime for on-the-go sessions. The new double-thick strap and durable build ensure easy and secure transport. Spark 2 is also Bluetooth® ready, allowing for music streaming and jamming along with favorite tracks anytime, anywhere.

Multiple Outputs and Advanced Features
Spark 2 offers versatile connectivity with a headphone out for private practice, stereo line outs for external audio sources, and a USB-C port which enables it to function as an audio interface. WiFi-enabled, Spark 2 allows convenient over-the-air firmware updates, keeping the amp up to date with the latest features and improvements.

“I’ve used a ton of practice amps while touring the world for over 38 years and it was always just a technical, bland exercise,” says guitar virtuoso, singer-songwriter and producer Nuno Bettencourt. “Spark 2 is like taking Madison Square Garden wherever you go – epic and versatile.”

Color Options
Available in Pearl or Black finish with a dark weave grille and premium finish.

Special Event, Upgrade Pricing & Availability
Join the special live premiere event featuring Nuno Bettencourt and surprise guests on August 1, 2024, at 8:00 am PT/11:00 am ET. Visit for more details and to sign up for a reminder.

Regularly USD $299, Spark 2 will be available at special early bird pricing during the pre-order period. Registered Spark 40 owners can also receive exclusive upgrade pricing.

For more information and to sign up for pre-order alerts, visit

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Gear Reviews

Gear Review: Exploring the Joyo Gloam – Sub Octave Fuzz Pedal for Bass



Gear Review: Exploring the Joyo Gloam - Sub Octave Fuzz Pedal for Bass

A review of the Joyo Gloam – Sub Octave Fuzz Pedal for Bass

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 Gloam is a sub-octave fuzz pedal specifically designed for bass players, combining modern sub-octave effects with rich fuzz tones. With two independently controlled circuits, the Gloam aims to provide a versatile range of sounds, from deep, aggressive fuzz to Moog-like synth effects. This review will explore the Gloam’s specifications, controls, and overall performance, highlighting both its strengths and areas for improvement.


  • Dimensions: 130 * 110 * 50 mm
  • Weight: 403g
  • Working Voltage: DC 9V
  • Controls: The Joyo Gloam features a comprehensive control set designed to provide bassists with a wide range of tonal options:
  • Dry Tone: Adjusts the tone of the clean signal.
  • Dry Volume: Controls the volume of the clean signal.
  • Sub Octave Volume: Adjusts the volume of the sub octave signal.
  • Gain: Controls the amount of gain in the fuzz circuit.
  • Fuzz: Adjusts the intensity of the fuzz effect.
  • Bass: Controls the bass frequencies in the fuzz circuit.
  • Treble: Adjusts the treble frequencies in the fuzz circuit.
  • Fuzz Mode Switch: Switches between two different fuzz modes.
  • Dry Tone Frequency Switch: Selects between two different frequency points for the dry tone.

Performance: The Joyo Gloam excels in its dual-circuit design, offering both a sub octave and a fuzz channel that can be controlled individually. However, it’s important to note that the octaver cannot be used without the fuzz circuit activated; the only way to solo the octaver is by turning down the fuzz while both channels are engaged.

Fuzz Circuit: The fuzz circuit includes standard controls such as gain, volume, bass, and treble, along with a fuzz mode switch that toggles between two distinct fuzz modes. While one of the fuzz modes is highly usable and delivers a rich, aggressive tone, the other mode falls short and is less practical for most applications.

Octaver Circuit: The octaver circuit features controls for sub octave volume, clean volume, and clean tone, along with a dry tone frequency switch that provides two different frequency options. This allows for significant tonal versatility, enabling bassists to fine-tune their sound to match their preferences. Despite its limitation of being tied to the fuzz circuit, the octaver produces a deep, balanced sound that stands out.

Combined Effect: When used together, the fuzz and octaver circuits create a wide range of sounds, from classic, aggressive fuzz to synth-like tones reminiscent of a Moog synthesizer. This combination makes the Gloam a powerful tool for bassists seeking to experiment with their sound and achieve unique, textured tones.


  • Versatile Controls: Extensive control options for both fuzz and octaver circuits.
  • Rich Tones: Delivers deep, aggressive fuzz and balanced octaver sounds.
  • Sturdy Construction: Durable build quality ensures reliability.
  • Wide Range of Sounds: Capable of producing everything from classic fuzz to synth-like effects.


  • Unusable Fuzz Mode: One of the fuzz modes is less practical.
  • Dependent Octaver: Octaver cannot be used independently of the fuzz circuit.

Conclusion: In conclusion, the Joyo Gloam sub-octave fuzz pedal offers a versatile and powerful option for bassists looking to expand their tonal palette. Despite some flaws, the Gloam delivers impressive sounds and flexibility. Its combination of rich fuzz and deep octaver tones, coupled with a sturdy construction, makes it a valuable addition to any bassist’s pedalboard. For those seeking a modern bass distortion with the added depth of sub-octave effects, the Joyo Gloam is a compelling choice for a very compelling price.

Visit online at

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July 22 Edition – This Week’s Top 10 Basses on Instagram



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 @jermsbass @ramabass.ok @adamovicbasses @mgbassguitars @marleaux_bassguitars @overwaterbasses @mauriziouberbasses @elrickbasses @zemaitisguitars @sandbergguitars

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Gear News

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



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.:

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Gear News

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



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

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