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Worship Bassist’s Toolkit – Transposition by Steven Gregory



Welcome to the latest installment of the Worship Bassist’s Toolkit series!  We have been investigating the tools that worship bassists must have available, maintained, and ready to use in order to create passionate, musical worship.  Thus far, we have looked at Fretboard knowledge, Technique Awareness, and Transcription.  There are many other tools to explore in the Worship Bassist’s Toolkit; however, I am going to close this series for a bit to explore other topics in this column.  Before doing that, one more tool should be included in the initial set:  transposition

Simply put, transposition is taking music in one key and moving it to another key.  There can be a number of reasons to need a song in another key.  Quite often this will happen in the worship setting to accommodate vocal ranges, instrumentation, or set programming.  In order to provide a seamless worship experience, it is important to become skilled at transposition.

Let’s look at transposition through an example:  “Run” by Hillsong.  For these illustrations, I will use the version from the live album “This Is Our God”. Figure 1 shows the bass line for the song’s intro in the original key, F#

Figure 1. Original “Run” Intro – F#

Now, let’s transpose the line down a whole step, to E.  This is shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2. “Run” Intro – E

As you can see, the line was moved, in its entirety, to the new key.  In this example, the shift of a whole step is easy to figure out and convenient to see on the fretboard:  D# becomes C#, B becomes A, F# becomes E, and G# becomes F#.

Now let’s change again, this time transposing the original line up a major 3rd.  We could stay in sharp keys, making this the key of A#; however, to aid in writing and reading I’m going to use the enharmonic key of Bb.  (Note:  “enharmonic” indicates keys that are equivalent, but “spelled” differently.  In this example, A# and Bb are the same keys, but spelled differently.)  Figure 3 shows the intro line transposed into Bb.

Figure 3.  “Run” intro – Bb

If we stopped here, the basics of transposition would have been covered; however, as bass musicians, we should explore this further.

Figure 4 shows the intro again and then shows the beginning of the 1st verse, in the original key (F#).

Figure 4. “Run” intro and 1st verse figure – F#

Note that the beginning of the first verse moves to the next octave D# to begin, moving the entire line up.  On the recording, this is an effective device for separating the 1st verse into two halves – the first half is shown here, the second half moves down an octave.

If we maintain a strict “transpose up” rule, we get Figure 5 when we move to Bb:

Figure 5. “Run” intro and 1st verse figure – Bb

In this transposition, we go much higher in the bass sonic space.  This may be fine, depending on your worship team and where other players move on their instruments.  However, it is possible for guitars and keyboards to rearrange in such a way that your line will be lost in the mix and the entire experience will sound “thin”.  The beginning of the 1st verse, now starting on the high G, is particularly susceptible to instrument clash.

What options do we have?  Figure 6 shows 3 options for both the intro and 1st verse figure.  Option A for each is the “transposed up” line, Option B is the entire line transposed down, and Option C is a hybrid of A and B.

Figure 6.   Options

Here is the fun part (and a major point!) of this column:  I can’t tell you which options and combinations might work best for you!  In fact, there are other options that may fit your situation.  The only way to determine what to play is to keep your ears wide open when playing with your worship team.  In addition, the remainder of the song may have movement or changes that will influence your choices. It is important that you don’t destroy the feel and general movement of the line, but rearranging may be necessary when key changes are made.  Your real concern is to play the lines that best allow passionate worship to happen.  Each of these options might do that, in the right situation!  By understanding transposition, practicing it regularly, and then using your ears to make wise choices in rehearsal and performance, you will find the right line for your worship.

Transposition is a tool that all worship bassists should have available, maintained, and ready for use.  I would love to hear about your experiences transposing – leave a comment below!

Until next time, I hope that your bass playing is blessed and that you can bless others through your bass playing!

Bass CDs

New Album: Ben Mortiz, MORENO



New Album: Ben Mortiz, MORENO

The Chilean bassist, producer and sociologist, Ben Mortiz, celebrates the launch of his latest studio work, “MORENO” an album that mixes jazz, soul, and funk following the characteristic Latin style of  Mortiz. The artist completely produced the album under the label “Fallen Lab Records” in the south of Chile.

“MORENO” brings deep and smooth sounds, expressing a sophisticated and elegant Latin vibe. You will find meditative harmonies and joyful melodic voices. The record’s core is the human vibration that Mortiz feels from the Latin American music. The Caribbean rhythms and strong Latin percussions are the musical glue in every song that emerges with the force of the electric bass.

“MORENO” creates a real connection between corporal reactions and mind sensations, always in reference to the originality of Mortiz to fuse modern and classic Latin sounds.

For more information, visit online at

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Gear News

New Gear: Phil Jones Bass X2C Dual Compressor/Effects Loop



New Gear: Phil Jones Bass X2C Duel Compressor/Effects Loop

Step Into X2C With Phil Jones Bass Dual Compressor/Effects Loop…

Phil Jones Bass latest pedal innovation is the X2C Dual Compressor with Dual Effects Loop for performance and recording. The X2C incorporates advanced compressor circuit technology and provides comprehensive tone control with a dual crossover feature which divides the signal into frequency bands ranging from 100Hz to 500Hz, ensuring exceptional clarity and dynamics in tone refinement. 

With insert jacks on each band, the X2C unlocks limitless creativity, enabling players to use various FX pedals for custom tone sculpting. Additionally, it functions as an electronic crossover, ideal for driving high-performance, 2-way bass rigs.

PJB’s Dual-Band compression design is more flexible than standard single-band compressors and provides a more natural and transparent sound. It also provides greater control over shaping and managing dynamics where standard compressors affect the entire frequency spectrum of an audio signal.  

PJB’s dual compressor enables the player to shape specific frequency ranges of an audio signal which allows for compressing the low frequencies while preserving the high frequencies, or vice-versa. Treating the low-end with a dedicated band also allows for heavy compression without affecting the midrange frequencies, which carry the attack of the sound. 

Effects can be plugged into the insert jacks on the X2C and controlled separately. As an example, the lows can be adjusted separately for an overdrive pedal while the highs can be controlled for a chorus. 

Dividing the audio spectrum into fundamental frequencies and harmonics is also effective in the enrichment of slapping techniques. The low frequencies can be compressed without changing the dynamics of the “slap”. By controlling the low frequencies and focusing the attack on the slap the amplifier will sound louder while avoiding overloading of the amp or speakers. The low band can be compressed without the harmonics being affected. In addition, the send jacks can go to different amplifiers/speakers for a bi-amplification set up.

Compact and potent, the X2C embodies studio-grade excellence, setting a new standard for dynamic processing in an uncompromising, portable pedal. The street price is $359.99.

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Bass CDs

New Album: CATTANEO, Tim Lefebvre, Andrea Lombardini, Hypersphere



New Album: CATTANEO, Tim Lefebvre, Andrea Lombardini, Hypersphere

The members of Buñuel, David Bowie’s band and a prominent electronic artist are united and have releases their first collaborative release via Freecom Hub.

Hypersphere is an EP created by CATTANEOTim Lefebvre and Andrea Lombardini. Following their conceptual milestone, a dream team of bass players and multi-instrumentalists created fragments of music, coexisting and complementing each other individually and altogether. Having been playing with CATTANEO since 2016, Andrea Lombardini describes the process of their work as “strong musical connection”. Starting with the fully improvised set featuring drum-machine and pedal effects. “Some of Paolo’s keyboards are homemade and he has very unique sounds” – explains Andrea. Getting Tim Lefebvre to produce the EP, the duo simultaneously started another vehicle of their collaboration.

Moving their work organically, three extraordinary musicians managed to reach an almost-perfect balance between sounds of guitar and bass with electronic instruments. Morphing together, numerous guitar riffs, loops of synthesizers. Dominating electronic sounds get united with a rock take, depicting dark moods and ethereal landscapes. All these elements work in tandem to create something new each time.

Order Hypersprehere here.

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Bass Events

Milt Hinton Institute for Bass Summer Camp in New Jersey



Milt Hinton Institute for Bass sSummer Camp in New Jersey

Milt Hinton Institute for Bass Summer Camp in New Jersey…

The New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) will host the Milt Hinton Institute for Studio Bass, an exceptional summer music education program for teens, in residence at Montclair State University, in July 2024. Unique among music camps, the Hinton Institute is designed to support intermediate and advanced bass players ages 14 through 18, for a week of expert classes, performances, ensemble work, studio sessions, lectures, workshops and more. The camp will run from July 14 through July 20, 2024Registration is open December 16, 2023, through  June 7, 2024for more information on applying to the Milt Hinton Institute, please visit Student musicians will be required to submit a video of themselves playing two performance pieces during the application process. Need-based tuition scholarships are available.

Peter Dominguez, acclaimed bassist and Professor of Double Bass and Jazz Studies at University of Wisconsin–Madison, will serve as the Institute’s Artistic Director.  An extraordinary faculty of professionals from the music world — including Rufus Reid, Ben Williams, Luis Perdomo, Jeremy Smith, Sam Suggs, Martin Wind, Marcus McLaurine, Bill Moring, Mimi Jones, Emma Dayhuff, Diana Gannett, and Bill Crow — will  focus camp instruction on bass performance techniques and ensemble playing in a range of musical genres including classical, Latin and jazz. 

The camp is named for Milt Hinton (1910-2000) a prolific jazz bassist, studio musician and photographer whose career intersected with many of the greatest musicians of the 20th century. The Institute has been held biennially since 2014. It joined forces with the Arts Center this season in part to draw a larger faculty of professional bass players from among the many musicians living and working in the New York City area. Notable guest artists from the region are expected to visit with campers as well.    

“We’re very pleased to have this program be part of the larger vision of NJPAC and its extensive Arts Education offerings. The work being done by the Arts Center has a significant social impact” said David G. Berger, a lifelong friend of Hinton’s, whose Berger Family Foundation helped support the camp.  “That would have been extremely attractive to Milt. He wanted everybody to be involved with music — old and young, men and women, all colors, all creeds. Long before it was popular, that’s the way he lived his life — he welcomed everyone.”

“I grew up in the jazz festival business, and there was no one whose artistry matched his heart  better than Milt Hinton,” said John Schreiber, President and CEO of NJPAC. “He was a brilliant bassist and he also was a brilliant human being. He was the heartbeat of any band he played in and he exuded a kindness that to me exemplified the spirit of jazz.”

Known as “the dean of jazz bassists,” Hinton played with jazz greats from the early 1930s on, performing with Jabbo Smith, Eddie South, Cab Calloway, Ethel Waters, Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, Count Basie, Erroll Garner, Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan and many others. Hinton also recorded with pop superstars including Aretha Franklin, Frank Sinatra, Sam Cooke, Barbra Streisand, Paul McCartney, Bette Midler and Willie Nelson. Hinton also toured extensively, and in 1993, he was awarded the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master Fellowship. He was also well known for his photography, through which he documented seven decades of jazz history. Hinton was renowned for his willingness to mentor young players; a scholarship program in his name was established by his friends and admirers on his 70th birthday. After Hinton’s passing, the Institute was conceived as a way to continue his work in supporting younger bass players. “Two of Milt’s favorite words — ‘cohesiveness’ and ‘sharing’ — are at the core of this week-long Institute that brings together emerging bassists who often are the singular players in their own community and school ensembles,” said Artistic Director Dominguez, (whose own career was advanced when he became one of the first winners of a Hinton Scholarship Competition  in 1981).  “To be a bass player is often to focus not on being a soloist, but on musical collaboration — making other musicians in an ensemble sound better. Bass players are the soul of ensemble playing, and to develop these young souls through arts education programming at NJPAC is both an honor for us and an important responsibility,” said David Rodriguez, NJPAC’s Executive Producer and Executive Vice President — and himself a well-known professional bass player.

The camp will be housed on the campus of Montclair State University in Montclair, where students will live, study and have the opportunity to take part in multiple performances. “Bringing the prestigious Milt Hinton Institute for Studio Bass to the campus of Montclair State University marks an exciting chapter for the College of the Arts, reinforcing our commitment to providing exceptional opportunities for young musicians,” said Daniel Gurskis, Dean of the College of the Arts. “With NJPAC as our partner, we look forward to creating an environment where passion meets skill, fostering a new generation of accomplished and versatile bassists. We are confident that the Institute will become a beacon, attracting talent from diverse backgrounds who are the future of bass music.”

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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

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