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Lesson 3 – Double Thumbing with Alex Lofoco

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A warm welcome to all Bass Musician Magazine readers. In this third lesson we will apply the ‘double thumbing’ technique to the pentatonic scale (please find also lesson 1 and 2) . We will also see several combinations and patterns of the scale involving different fingerings.

Being that the pentatonic scale is quite versatile, I find it very easy to include within grooves and solos. The majority of slap bass grooves and lines in funk music are mainly based around the pentatonic scale, so having a good vocabulary and few technique options certainly helps.

I developed the following patterns as a natural consequence of Thumb Down (T?), Thumb Up (T?) and Pluck (P) combination.

The following examples are based on a D minor pentatonic starting on the 5th fret of the A string. The fact that the pentatonic scale has a symmetrical shape, with one or one and ½ tones on each string (resulting in a two notes per string pattern), offers a number of available plucking combinations. For economy of motion, I would suggest using all available combinations to play any patterns and scales.

For instance, if I end up on a note with a T?, I will use a Pluck to play a note on the same string or next string, or a T? if I need to hit a lower string.

Fingering 1

In this line we have two notes per string, and an even Thumb Down, Thumb Up, Pluck, Pluck sequence is involved. While descending, only the Thumb Down-Up motion is involved from the last four notes which feature a T? T? on each string, as we need to skip strings every two notes.

-The movements involved are:

Ascending

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

Descending

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

Fingering 2

This second fingering features a variation on the note F, which is fretted at the 3rd fret of the D string, resulting in a more open position and a different picking combination.

-The movements involved are then:

Ascending

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

Descending

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

If we play each note of the pentatonic twice, we will have an even  Thumb down, Thumb up,  Pluck,  Pluck sequence, as shown below.

Note: Get comfortable with the motion of the whole hand and keep the tips of your fingers in line with your thumb in order to have them ready to pluck right after the thumb has come up with a T?.

Note Groupings

Playing the pentatonic scale in groups of three notes offers another interesting and versatile pattern. To get used to a different rhythmic pattern which involves a new Thumb down, Thumb up, Pluck combination, here are two different fingering, Ascending and Descending of a one octave D minor pentatonic scale.

 

Ascending

This first line is with two note per string, while on the second line the F is shifted on the 3rd fret of the D string, resulting in a three note per string pattern.

 Descending

I encourage you to work extensively on any combinations you may come up with. Do not stick to the patterns you already know, push it a bit further! Even just changing the left hand fingerings can suggest new combinations and licks. One way to practice could be the scale ascending with one fingering and descending with the other, or the other way around.

The line below shows the same three note groupings, but instead of a vertical shape, the triplets are spread horizontally on the fingerboard. This shape can be played with a consistent T? T? P sequence, and allows us to reach the upper register in case we want to develop our phrase in another direction.

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

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

Stay tuned

Alex

Bass Videos

Artist Update With Mark Egan, Cross Currents

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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

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Review: Minuendo Lossless Earplugs Live 17dB

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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

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Bass Books

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

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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)

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

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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

Follow On Social

IG &FB @bythethousands
YTB @BytheThousands

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