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10 Obsessive Tips for Improving Your Rhythmic Abilities by Igor Saavedra

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10 Obsessive Tips for Improving Your Rhythmic Abilities by Igor Saavedra… Believe me, I’ve done all this crazy stuff myself throughout the years…. well, I am a highly obsessive music student, and I accept that about myself!

1 – Always practice with a metronome… remember that most bass players don’t dedicate a lot of time to this, so to become a soloist or play on their own like a violinist does, you need to flow freely over the groove set by some other musicians. In my opinion, we became bassists to set the groove in a ‘band context’, and for that reason a metronome is the best available tool, even better than a drum machine, because it exposes all your mistakes so you can notice them and improve them.

2 – In relation to the last point, a very important ability to develop is to be able to find any tempo speed just by listening to it. The best way in my opinion is to use a metronome for checking. The more you practice, the better you’ll get.

3 – Whenever you walk any place use that awesome opportunity to practice establishing a steady tempo with your steps and singing your best grooves over it. I’ve been doing this since I became a musician; many times people around me think that I’m just another crazy guy on the street… and they are so right!

4 – One of the most important rhythmic abilities is to be fully conscious of  “Time” in the sense of the length or duration of the musical elements. As an obsessive music student (don’t tell that to anybody), I practiced for years using a good Chronograph hanging on my chest so I was able to guess different durations of sounds and rests – e.g.: 1 second, 75 cents of a second, 2 seconds and 80 cents, etc, and sometimes I still do… I got very good on that, and believe me it’s a very useful ability.

5 – Practice dividing just one 40bpm beat in different fractions. I suggest dividing the beat in 2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15, etc. Play four bars with each subdivision and then move to the next and so on, then go the opposite way. As an obsessive music student I’ve been doing this for the last 20 years and it’s amazingly useful!

6 – Practicing polyrhythms is a highly recommendable subject to address, but not in the way a drummer will do it, that’s distributing different subdivisions related to each other within your 4 limbs. What is useful for bassists is developing the ability to combine different subdivisions between the foot and the fingers. For example, tap your foot and at the same time play 5 equally distributed notes on your bass every four beats you play with your foot. The possible combinations are endless (7:5, 6:7, 2:3, 3:7, etc,). Believe it or not many rhythms we usually play are based on this concept, so it’s a very useful skill to develop. I’ve been practicing this stuff non-stop for the last 15 years.

7 – In relation to the last point, tapping our foot while we play is a highly recommendable skill to develop. What happens here is that the foot provides us objective and precise information about where the tempo is. You won’t only be able to hear it, but also to feel it. Also, it is highly recommendable to get used to practicing certain music styles like Shuffle, Swing, Be Bop and many Jazz related styles, placing the foot on beats 2 & 4, which will provide the real feel for those specific styles by accentuating the right beats. Tapping the foot while we play is an ultra helpful tool for developing our groove.

8 – A very simple exercise is trying to make the metronome “disappear” at different tempos. It’s really easy and fun! Just set the metronome at any speed you want and then clap your hands exactly at that speed. You can play over a table or pluck a string of your Bass, but the most important thing is doing it with such a precision that hearing the sound of the metronome becomes absolutely impossible. It’s very important to mention that the slower the speed the harder it gets to achieve that “virtual disappearance”. I’ve been practicing this myself and with my students for almost 25 years… it’s really fun and most important, when it comes to developing accuracy, it really works!

9 – When practicing, treat rests and sounds equally. Never act as if sounds are more important than rests. You can put that basic concept into real practice by trying all the possible combinations between sounds and rests across all the subdivisions of one beat. When you practice points 5 and 6 include this concept and point of view in your exercises. If you practice this a million times you’ll hear the difference in your playing!

10 – Never miss the opportunity to percuss! If you are eating, sitting on a park bench, watching TV, pushing the cart at the supermarket, etc, just put your hands on any close and available surface like a table, sofa, pole, thighs & chest (mainly yours ha-ha-ha), etc, and enjoy the magic of rhythm!

See you on the next…

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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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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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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

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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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