Sunday, December 31, 2006

Warm up exercise

If you are planning to play in a gig or practice for a longer duration, you can start off by doing some simple warm up exercise.

There are probably hundred of exercises for warm up, but today I'm going to introduce the spider scale. Most people will know it as chromatic scales.

On a 4 string bass starting from the E string.
Postion your left hand on the fretboard. One finger per fret and for right hand just play normal alternate fingering.
Start from the first fret, F(fore) F#(middle) G(ring) G#(pinky) than move to the A string and press the Bb B C C#.
Do the same fingering pattern for the D and G string.
Reverse the pattern. On the G string, B(pinky) Bb(ring) A(middle) Ab(fore) to D string and all the way back to the E string.

Now start from the 2nd fret on the E string and repeat what you have done. Once you reach the 12th fret your fingers should be warmed up.

You do not have to do it very fast. Start slow and build up the speed. Objective is to stretch your fingers and also get a clear tone. Speed is not the objective of this exercise, but eventually it will help you play fast.

Have fun and explore other patterns. As usual, you can also practice your slapping with the chromatic scale.


Thursday, December 21, 2006

Ghost notes


A simple ghost notes exercise to help you "feel" the groove.

Ghost notes are produce when you place your left hand lightly on the fretboard of and pluck with your right hand. Try to place your left hand in between the frets and not on the fret if not you will get the harmonics out.

Now try playing the G major scale as followed where "x" is the ghost note.

GxGGx AxAAx BxBBx CxCCx DxDDx ExEEx F#xF#F#x GxGGx. Simple?
you can also try slapping the exercise if you want.

You can also imagine the "x" to be like the snare drum. and the note to be the bass drum(ask your drummer friend if you are not sure which is the snare).

Try the above pattern on different scales and experiment other patterns.

Have fun!



Monday, November 27, 2006

Relative Minor

For those who have been grooving around might have come across this term 'relative minor'.

How I remember or recognise the relative minor of each key? Simple!!

For me, I know that the vi is the relative minor.

e.g. The relative minor for A is F#m,also because both keys have 3 #

So what do we do with this relative minor? Let's use Key of C to explain.

The notes in the Am scale are A B C D E F G A. Hmmm isn't that the same notes in the C major scale? Correct. Am scale in key of C is also called A Aeolian scale.

So when someone play a C chord, you can solo within the Am scale or C major scale.

Have fun!

Monday, November 20, 2006

1 3 5


After you have memorize the fretboard on the bass guitar, it's time to create some simple bass lines.

If you have a song with chord progression like G Em C D, you should have no problem playing the root note (i.e G E C D )

You will sound right just playing the root note but now you also want to start playing a bit more. You can use 1 3 5 (notes inside a chord) to create something more interesting.

Let's write out the 135 in each chord:

G - G B D
Em - E G B
C - C E G
D - D F# A

Say I start with G and want to link to the next chord Em, I can play G B D E.
Next from Em I can play G B B C then E G G D

This is just the basic idea of creating bass line using 135. You can take it from here and explore which note sound better and try to get a nice line.


Thursday, November 09, 2006

4,5,6 String Tuning

For those who are new to bass playing, you might want to know what are the common tuning for the 4,5 6 string bass. There are 7,8 12 string bass as well.
Anyway let's not stress ourselves.

4 string bass - E A D G ( E is the thickest string)
5 string bass - B E A D G ( B is the thickest string)
6 string bass - B E A D G C ( Same as 5 string but with additional high C)

Some people said that for beginner it is better to start with the 4 string bass as it is more easy to handle.
I think it is up to individual.
There are many people who started out playing 5 or 6 string too.

With the additional strings, you will have a wider range of voicing. A person who played 5 or 6 string bass does not mean that he or she is more superior than a 4 string bass player.
You can decide which bass to start with and put in effort to control it.

Here are a few famous bass players that you can listen and learn from.

4 string - Victor Wooten(He plays a tenor bass too A D G C), Marcus Miller, Jaco Pastorius.
5 string - Nathan East, Abraham Laboriel, Richard Bona
6 string - John Patitucci, Gerald Veasley, Jimmy Haslip

Victor Wooten plays in a band called Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. He has his own solo album as well.
Marcus Miller is more of a solo artist. For Jaco, you can find his solo album or some of the old Weather Report album. Jaco Pastorius Big Band is a tribute to him.

You can find Nathan East playing in some of Eric Clapton's album and the Fourplay.
Abraham Laboriel Sr has his own solo album and he played for many artists including Lee Ritenour, Stan Turrentine, George Benson and etc.
Richard bona was featured in Jaco Pastorius Big Band and has his own solo album.

John Patitucci has his own solo album. He played for Chick Corea in the akoustic and elektric band.
Gerald Veasley was featured in Jaco Pastorius Big Band and has his own solo album.
Jimmy Haslip is in a band called Yellowjackets. He was featured in Jaco Pastorius Big Band as well.

There are too many good bass players like Chuck Rainey, Stanley Clarke, Louis Johnson, John Myung, Stu hamm and etc. Take your time to listen to their music.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Right Hand Technique

I guess there are many ways to increase one's fingering speed. One of them is to practice your scaling, plucking near to the bridge area.
Reason is simple since the tension is greater at the bridge area, it require more strength to pluck.
So as you practice more, your finger will be strengthen and hence can play faster and longer duration too.

Billy Sheenhan make use of his bass pickup and his 3 finger technique in order to play fast. You can check out his DVD to see his live examples.

Victor Wooten uses his unique thumb and finger technique. The concept is thumb down, thumb up, pluck with forefinger and pluck with middle finger. He teaches that on the bass Day 98 DVD. That is a "must watch" DVD for those who are interested to explore bass.

Abraham Laboriel uses Thumb follow by pluck with forefinger and middle finger. You can also learn about chords and thumping at his Beginning Funk Bass DVD.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Bass Strap

This is a simple but useful tip about bass strap.
Some people asked why when they practice a bass lick at home and it is smooth but when they jam with their friends, that bass lick has more difficulties to come out.

One possible reason is that the bass strap is not adjusted to the comfortable length when you stand and play, while at home it rested nicely on your lap.

If you want, you can practice at home with the strap on as if you are standing.
Many rock and heavy metal bass players like to put the bass near their waist. For people with long arms you can do that but might face slight difficulties when slapping.


Friday, September 22, 2006

Listen to them

Here is a list of bass players whom you can listen to.

  1. Abraham Laboriel
  2. Anthony Jackson
  3. Bill Dickens
  4. Billy Sheehan
  5. Brian Bomberg
  6. Bootsy Collins
  7. Chuck Rainey
  8. Chris Squire
  9. Christian McBride
  10. Ed Friedland
  11. Flea
  12. Francis Rocco Prestia
  13. Gary Grainger
  14. Gary Willis
  15. Geddy Lee ( Haven't hear him play)
  16. George Porter Jr
  17. Gerald Veasley
  18. Jaco Pastorius
  19. James Jamerson (I haven't hear him play but he is a legend)
  20. Jeff Berlin
  21. Jimmy Haslip
  22. Jimmy Johnson
  23. John Entwistle
  24. John Patitucci
  25. Larry Graham
  26. Louis Johnson
  27. Marcus Miller
  28. Mark King
  29. Michael Anthony
  30. Michael Manring
  31. Nathan East
  32. Noel Redding (Haven't hear him play)
  33. Norm Stockton
  34. Oteil Burbridge
  35. Paul McCartney
  36. Richard Bona
  37. Stanley Clarke
  38. Steve Bailey
  39. Steve Harris (Haven't hear him play)
  40. Sting
  41. Stu Hamm
  42. Tetsuo Sakurai
  43. Verdine White
  44. Victor Bailey
  45. Victor Lemonte Wooten
  46. Will Lee
That's all for now. There are too many good bass players in the world. Don't stop listening

Saturday, September 09, 2006

In The Pocket

We often ask ourselves (at least for me), how come a season player sounds more groovy when playing the exact same notes than that of an amatuer player.
Beside knowing how to accent certain notes and playing ghost notes to add some feel, the main reason is TIMING.

Top priority for a bass player in any genre of music is keeping time. Sorry it is not just the drummer's job but it is everybody's job to keep time in a band.
For the groove to be happening, the band have to play together.

I was demonstrating to a friend recently, playing the blue scales. With the metronome clicking, the groove is there. You can feel the music as the 12 bars flow through smoothly.
I also showed him that playing funk do not mean you have to slap. It's the timing.

For bass player, we have to locked in with the drummer. When both can play together, it will formed a solid rhythm section.

For examples of people playing in the pocket, please listen to Rocco Prestia, Victor Wooten, Abraham Laboriel and etc.

If you can sound groovy on a metronome, you will sound even better on a drum machine. If you don't have any tool to keep time, either buy one or use the online metronome.
Remember, the tool will not lie. If you can't groove, the problem is with you not the machine.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Rock Music Can Boosts Our Brain Power

I read an article recently that claim that listening to rock music can boost our brain power.

Researchers believe that rock-based songs by Flea, Noel Redding and etc can help improve concentration and boosts memory.

Recent studies suggested that by listening to classical music, it can improve your intelligence, especially material by Mozart.

As group of volunteers were asked to listen to Beethoven's 2nd symphony and a piece by Steve Vai. While the classical music improved the concentration and memory of both groups, there is also a significant effect of the rock fans.

To read the full article :,,176-2340869,00.html

Personally I prefer more Jazzy stuff and I think it will also boost my brain :)

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Glossary of Common Bass Terms

Bass Guitar - 4,5,6 (or more) low frequency electric or acoustic guitar

Chord tone/notes - Note within a chord (G major chord consist of G, B and D)

Crescendo - Gradually get louder in volume

Flat (b) - Lower the pitch of a note by half step

Genre - Type of style of music (Jazz, Blues, Rock, Metal, Classical and etc)

Groove - Playing on time, creating a feel and rhythm to the music (Locked with drums)

Hammer on - Generate a sound of a note with the force of your fretting finger

Harmonics - Touch lightly on the strings or fret (Natural harmonic on 5th 7th 12th fret)

Interval - Distance between 2 pitches

Legato - Long note

Mute - To muffle or lightly touch the strings

Octave - Interval of 12 semitones

Open string - A string is played and not fretted

Pentatonic - scale made up of 5 notes

Pickup - Magnetic coil that transfer the signal to an amp

Pinced Harmonics - nice sharp harmonics (something like artificial harmonics)

Pluck - Use your fingers to play the strings (Pop is to pull the string)

Preamp - Increase the electric signal ( include bass, treble, mid, tone and etc)

Root - The first note of the chord (G is the root of a G chord) also know as the tonic

Scale - Notes that followed an interval formula

Sharp (#) - Raise the pitch of a note by half step

Slap - Using your thumb and strike at the fret to create a solid tone (or left hand strike the fretboard)

Staccato - Short note

Strum - Use your fingers and go through the strings (Just like guitar)

Tap - Hammer on the notes with your left hand and right hand (2 hand tap)

Thump - Use your palm or finger and strike accurately on the string

Vibrato - Waver the pitch of the note

Whole step - Distance of 2 half steps (2 frets)

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Basic Slap Concept

Been messing around with some pentatonic scales lately. This slap concept is not exactly following the pentatonic runs but using the notes within the minor Pentatonic.
I used quite a bit of ghost notes in between to fill up the gap and also give a slight funk feel. This groove is done in key of A and plays around with the 7th in the beginning. Ending with a Asus to Gsus chord, making it a bit rock. Sorry for the not so good video quality and sound.

For those who are not sure about pentatonic scale, the basic are the major and minor pentatonic scales.
Just like the pentagon is a polygon with 5 sides, the pentatonic scale has 5 notes.
Take a look at the formula below:

G major scale - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1 (G A B C D E F# G)
G major pentatonic scale - 1 2 3 5 6 (G A B D E)

G natural minor scale - 1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7 1 (G A Bb C D Eb F G)
G minor pentatonic scale - 1 b3 4 5 b7 ( G Bb C D F)

Have fun!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

3rd Forward

To all enthusiastic bass conrades who want to play more. This exercise is what I called the 3rd forward.
By now I believe most of you already know your major scale. Playing the scale up and down can be a little boring sometimes although it is a good exercise.
This 3rd forward exercise is from the major scale but after you play the main note, it will be followed by the 3rd of the main note. i.e Press G then follow by B and so on.
This exercise is in G and should help widen your melodic thinking and hopefully increase your creativity.

You can also do double 3rd forward which means play each note twice. After you go down the scale, try to come up. Try to play in different keys and have fun.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Hair Band for bass?

Beside using your hair band to tie your hair, Victor Wooten used it on his bass.
He learned it from his brother,Regi Wooten, who does amazing things on the electric guitar. He uses it as a capo sometimes too.

So why did Victor put a hair band on his bass? Well I think most of you who read about him will know that it is to reduce vibration when doing the thumb up and down technique.
That is onlya temporaily solution as he said that we should practise using our left hand to control the vibration. You will feel handicap when using your friend's bass who might not have the hair band.

I got mine for 50 cents and it serve me well when I slap classical thump. Another bass player that follow Victor is Norm Stockton ( Grooving for Heaven).

When I compare the sound with and without the hair tie, I find that it sound brighter without the hair tie (Common sense? depends!)

Give it a try, no harm. You can watch Bass day 98 featuring victor wooten and also Victor Wooten & Cater Beauford DVD video to see more of the hair band mention.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Simple Triplet Slap

I will share with you the technique of creating the fast percussive triplet strike on the bass. Some people called it the bullet slap or machine gun.

The technique is pretty similar as the open hammer pluck. If you can do that, then triplet slap should be no problem. I will show you the basic way of doing it as I believe there are more ways
to achieve it as well.

What I did was I pluck with my fore finger, slap with my left hand on the fingerboard and thumb slap with my right hand. You can see it on the video.

Triplet = 3, pluck + left hand + slap thumb = 3.
Make sure the left hand slap give you a clear fret sound.
That's it!! Not difficult right? Practice slow first! Many bass players use this technique to add spice to their playing. Another way of doing it is use your right hand thumb follow by pluck 1(fore finger) and pluck 2(middle finger).

Ok let me show you in this short simple video clip how the triplet slap can be apply.

Thank you for visting.

Have a good time slapping.



Saturday, July 15, 2006

Diatonic Scales /Major Scale Modes

Last time when I was surfing for some bass theory material and came across these Lydian, Mixolydian and etc. I was like...WOW! What are they talking about? Too sophisicated for me. Perhaps not that important since no one really told me that I need to know these?

Well.. the truth is, it will help explain why certain notes sound right when you are in a certain key playing certain chords. That will expand your music thinking as well.
I will cover the type of modes, it's interval and the notes for those who are still learning.
Let's get started. Remember to tune your bass and print this lesson if you find it useful. :)

There are a total of 7 modes. We will take the key of C for learning purposes.

1. Ionian (Interval - 1 2 3 45 6 7 8) (C D E F G A B C)
2. Dorian (Interval -1 2 b3 4 5 6 b7 8) (C D Eb F G A Bb C)
3. Phrygian (Interval - 1 b2 b3 4 5 b6 b7 8) (C Db Eb F G Ab Bb C)
4. Lydian (Interval - 1 2 3 #4 5 6 7 8) (C D E F# G A B C)
5. Mixolydian (Interval - 1 2 3 4 5 6 b7 8) (C D E F G A Bb C)
6. Aeolian (Interval - 1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7 8) (C D Eb F G Ab Bb C)
7.Locrian (Interval - 1 b2 b3 4 b5 b6 b7 8) (C Db Eb F Gb Ab Bb C)

There are good videos and books available that teaches extended patterns as they use 2 modes at the same time. Also videos explaining how you can apply these modes to your music.

Hope this lesson will give you a better understanding of the modes. Don't be afraid to try. A good bassist will like to learn more each day



Sunday, July 02, 2006

Time to Slap?

Believe it or not most people who wanted to learn bass are because of slapping. They think that it is slapping on the bass that will make them groove, funky or look cool. Well!
Depend on how each individual view it.

The slap technique origin from Larry Graham. It was out of necessity as their drummer was not around and he had to use the bass to double up providing the snare drum.

Throughout the years we saw a few ways to slap and thump that bass. I will just quickly touch on the most basic of it.

What I usually do is to use my thumb and strike the last fret of my bass. It’s like bouncing on it and come back. Some people like to do the thumb down and up method. Occasionally I use the thumb down and pluck with my fore finger followed by my middle.

Try to slap on every open string and get the same volume. D and G string are thinner so might be more difficult to strike. With some practice should be no problem.

Think of a drum pattern and practise with it. For now you can treat the bass drum as your slap and snare drum as your pop.Your pop can be the octave of the note you slap. Up to you. Get the technique right first before playing with a time machine.Got a PC and don't want to spend on a metronome? Thank God for a comfortable tempo and groove.

Ok hope you have some fun with it and don't rush.



Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Nice Tones Playing Chords on Bass

Recently I was trying out some chords on the bass and playing around with different positions/patterns
creating different tone and sounding.

As mentioned earlier in my blog, the basic of how major chords are formed is by pressing on the root + maj 3rd and perfect 5th together. Just by adding an additional maj 7th note and you will get a maj7th chord (e.g G Maj7).
Often you can leave out the perfect 5th.

Example If you want a Gmaj7 chord, press G + B + D + F# at the same time.

When you press a 7th chords, it provides a jazzy feel. Please see tabs for basic fingering.

There are many ways to form chords, so it depend on what sounding you want and how familiar you are with the fretboards.

Have fun and don't give up.


Thursday, June 15, 2006

Boiling my Strings

Hi friends,

Want to save extra bucks on bass strings?
I think some of you had heard about boiling of bass strings. Guess what? I am one of those who tried doing that. Well it suppose to make the strings (used for more than 10 months) sound more bright, remove some rust and etc

Before you start, record the sound of the bass with your current set and after you boiled the strings to hear the differences.
Ok honestly speaking I think there is no big differences but for those who want to give it a try, here we go!

1. Find a round pot big enough to put in your bass strings ( please do not use it to cook anything anymore even if you have wash it hundreds of times) So delicate a pot that you do not want to use and put your strings in.

2. Fill it up with water and boil it for at least 20 minutes.

3. Let it cool for 10 minutes and pour away the water (Is the water slightly brownish?).

4. Dry your strings and strung it back to your bass. ( You might need to adjust the action of the neck if it start to buzz).

Alternatively is to buy a new set of strings. Rotosound is quite affordable. Love the yellow colour box :)

Btw since I unstrung my bass strings to boil, I took the waiting time to polish my frets and the fretboard.
Cleaning up the dirt from the bridge too.
You can choose to use 'fire wine' to soak your strings too. (methylated spirit)



Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Bass Fretboard

Ok we need to know the fretboard well so that we are able to press on the desire notes.
You can't play the the C Major scale without knowing the notes on the fretboard.

For the Bass Guitar, the open strings are tuned as E A D G
( same as acoustic/electric guitar)
When you pressed on the 12th fret the tuning will also be E A D G ( 12notes = 1 cycle), you will get different pitch. The further the frets the higher the notes.

On a 4 string bass, the lowest and thickest string is the open E string. 1st fret will be F, 2nd fret will be F# (or Gb), 3rd fret G, 4th fret G# (or Ab), 5th is A, 6th fret A# (or Bb) 7th fret is B,
8th fret is C and so on.

Just remember that in between E and F there is no sharp or flat and in between B and C there is also no sharp and flat.

For a clearer picture and also the notes on the staff and bass tab, please go to:

Have fun!!


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Lesson 2 : Thumb Technique

Lesson 1 we covered the most common technique called 2 fingers plucking.

We will move on and talk about the thumb technique.

Don't be mistaken, we are not talking about slapping the bass guitar.

The thumb technique is simply to stroke the strings downwards and get a clear distinct tone.

Very simple right? All acoustic guitar should be able to do this technique.

We will bring this technique to another level.

Instead of just stroking downwards, we will do the down and up motion as if using a pick.

This technique is similar as Victor Wooten's thumb technique but without the Plucking.

You will be able to play fast and not get tired too soon.

Try using this technique and play the C major scale, C D E F G A B C.

You can do down up on one note or down on one note and up on the next note. i.e. down up the C note and move down the scale or down C up D and so on.

Whichever way you like it. Just Enjoy!

Hope this simple lesson is useful to you.



Saturday, May 20, 2006

How to Order a Musicman Bass Guitar

With permission from Sinamex Electronics Pte Ltd, here is a short write up of their company and how you can order the famous MusicMan Bass Guitar.

Sinamex is known by musicians and audio professionals across South-East Asia and the Indian sub-continent for offering the latest products and expertise in music technology, equipment and instruments at the best prices. We are the leading specialists in this business and are the exclusive distributors for the industry's top manufacturers. If you're looking for knowledgeable sales staff, affordable prices and dependable aftersales service, you have come to the right place.

According to Sinamex ,
Musicman prices are too far and wide because there are many options available. Customers can go to: to build their guitar and we will be able to offer the exact price.
An order will take about 3-4 months.
We will have different models in stock from time to time and they change very quickly as they get sold out fast.

At you can choose the different type of neck, bass body, pickguard and etc, preview it and give the details to Sinamex. (
They are located at 35 Selegie Road #B1-34 Parklane Shopping Mall.

If you need any help can call them at (65) 6338 8657

Do share it with your friends.



Thursday, May 18, 2006

Lesson 1 : 2 Fingers Plucking Style

The 2 fingers plucking technique is the most common technique that most bass player use.

Usually we alternate our index finger with the middle finger when plucking the bass string.

Like people always said, let your fingers do the walking.

You can either anchor your thumb on the pickup or on the E string (if you are using a 4 string bass).

Start slow and once you are comfortable with the technique you can slowly increase the speed.

Now you can practice doing the C Major scale.

The notes are C D E F G A B C.

If you start with your Index finger on the first note C followed by middle finger on D and move down the scale, you should end with your middle finger on the octave C (last note).

You can practice this technique along with a drum machine or metronome to keep time.

After you walk down the scale, you can walk up again.

To strengthen your fingers you can play near the bridge pickup.

After some practice you will realize that your plucking speed increases.

In order to play fast, you need to exercise your left hand (fret hand) too.

You can practice this technique with any songs or scaling.

You can add ghost notes (mute) to create a more percussive feel.

Try "Every Breathe You Take" The starting chords are G Em C D Em.

Try to feel the song (knock your head), play with emotion and sing along if you want.

Most importantly is to have fun and build up this technique.

Hope this simple lesson is useful to you.



Tuesday, May 16, 2006

18 Ways to Improve Your Bass Playing

I have listed some methods to improve our bass playing. There are more ways so don't limit yourselves.
I do wish I could excel in all the things mentioned. I not hardworking enough lah. Have fun!

1. Find a mentor or learn from better players (Private or school)

2. Buy instructional books or DVDs to practice

3. Get a drum machine or methronome and practice in time (Start slow then increase speed) [You can't hold no groove if you ain't got no pocket - Song by Victor Wooten]

4. Understand and apply music theory (i.e How chords are form,different modes, scales and etc)

5. Watch better players play and learn their technique or develop your own.

6. Watch videos to get inspirations .

7. Play in a band

8. Find materials online and give it a try

9. Stretched your fingers (One finger per fret – increase speed and flexibility)

10. Play near the bridge pickup to strengthen plucking fingers

11. Some people use bass instructional CD Rom.

12. Play along with the song (Find bass tabs if necessary or get the device to remove the bass playing so you can fill in the lines.)

13. Some website and books provide ear training exercises

14. Record what you play and send to friends for comment ( or self review)

15. Listen to all genre of music ( You tend to play what you hear)

16. Try to learn all style of music ( Jazz, rock, blues, reggae and etc)

17. Listen to other musicians ( Esp in a band)

18. Be creativity, Open minded ( Alter tuning, distortion, strumming and etc)



Saturday, May 13, 2006

Bass Amp or Modeling Signal Processor

You already got yourself a bass or planning to buy a bass?

To hear what you play, you need to plug into a bass amplifier right?

For home use, 15-20W is good enough and you can plug in your headphone if you do not want to disturb your family or neighbours. Price range $150 - 250.
I use a Peavey Microbass and usually volume 2 is quite loud already.
Different bass amps got different Frequency Bandwidth, different connectors (effect loops) and some even have XLR connector (plug into mixer).
Depend on your needs and budget, get what you are comfortable with.
Sometimes when you go over to your friend's house to jam, you can bring your amp along too. (If not too heavy) You can also choose to jam at the studio.

Can check out Swee Lee ( Ibanez, Peavey) or City Music ( Line 6 bass amp).

Ok guys you got another option which most people chose is to get a modeling signal processor.

Instead of buying Ampeg SVT or Marshall Amp or other famous amp, you can purchase the modeling signal processor which tries to produce (model after) the same characteristics of the amp tube, but at a lower cost (experiment with it).
Although it does not sound exactly like the real thing but you can have a good mix of it.
Don't be surprise if it really sound likes the expensive bass amp.
You need to plug into an effect loop jack found on some bass amps to get the pure sound of the modifier if not it will sound different.
You should be able to plug in your headphone and use it. The unit save space and very suitable for gigs.
You can check out Line 6 Bass Pod, GT6B, Korg AX 10B, AX3000B or PX4D (with drum machine) and etc
Some of these modeling signal processor also include multi-effects in it (built-in tuner too).
Price ranging from $200 and above
Visit and (under tone works) for more information and view the demo.

Check out City music at Peace centre for tone works or Luther Music to see if anyone is selling their gear. Check out the market price first so that you don't get cheated.

Tempted to get the PX4D. AX10B is cool for me cos I can control volume with the pedal. Include compressor and distortion functions too.

Have fun.



Friday, May 12, 2006

Buying a Bass


You have just decided to learn bass because your band needs one or you want to learn a new instrument, inspired by some bass guru or many other reasons.
I will share with you some basic knowledge to give you a quick start on buying a bass guitar.

Yes, it is not a myth that if you want to improve your skills, you will need to invest buying a bass guitar and practise with it.
There are bass guitars with different settings and different number of strings available in the market.

Beginners can choose to start with a 4 string bass with basic settings first (price ranging $180-300) and as you progress and know more about what character of sound you like and etc, than get a better one. Common tuning for 4 string bass starting from the thickest string, E A D G. Some people want to start with a 5 string bass. No problem.
You can also start with a relatively decent one (good wood, with preamp (bass and treble and some with mid), price ranging $550 and above) and make sure you make good use of it.

5 string bass has an additional Low B right on top of the Low E string so you don't need to play too much of open E giving you more control and wider range of sound and etc.

6 String bass has an additional Low B same as 5 string but with additional High C string below of the G string. Let's not talk about 8 strings and above basses at this stage of learning.

Have you wonder why some basses cost Less than $200 and some cost more than $2000?
Some of the reasons I could think of are:

a. Branding (signature bass or famous basses cost more)
b. Type of wood (e.g Bubinga, Ovangkol, Swash ash and etc)
c. Type of Electronics (i.e. brand of pickup and preamps, e.g EMG, Bartolini, Seymour Duncan)
d. Country of manufacturing ( Some countries' labour fee is lower hence the bass is cheaper but that does not meant lower quality)
e. Import and export fee ( i.e. Shipping or air courier fee and the company that sold you the bass need to earn some "risk" money too)
f. Bass neck connection ( neck thru usually more expensive than bolt on. Also more expensive when you need to adjust the neck action)

The character of the bass sound produce depend on the type of wood used for the bass body and neck, electronic set up, your playing and the type of strings used.

To know more about bass wood please visit (custom made bass website)

Different type of pickups will give you different character of sound. Passive and Active (with battery) pickups also provide different dynamics. Some bass can switch from passive to active.
Below are some examples of bass pickup in the market.

a. Jazz pickup (Single coil)
b. Humbuck ( double coil)
c. P-bass Pickup (spilt humbuck )
d. P-J Pickup ( Single + spilt humbuck)
e. Piezo pickup ( very sensitive - check TRB 5PII for example)
f. Jazz Humbuck ( Single + Double coil)

Two common type of Bass strings.

a. Roundwound strings - Bright sound, good for slapping and tapping. ( I use gauge 40 for my G string because I like to do slap and pop. Most people use 45 - Marcus miller also)

b. Flatwound strings - more mellow sound. Some use it for Jazz and slow rock.

When you try a bass, make sure you are comfortable with the feel and sound produce. The type of bass amp and other gadgets will come into the picture next time.
Buy something you are comfortable with and match your budget. Don't just go for brand.

You can check out shops at Peninsula plaza, Yamaha and many other places. You might want to consider buying a second-hand bass. Check out Luther's Music website and
Can also email bernard from Trader's Green - ( Sandberg bass)

Don't do impulse buying. Try it first, It's free. Ask advise from forum or friends who are more experience.

Welcome to the world of Bass!



Sunday, May 07, 2006


Would like to share a bit about my bass.

I'm using a Squier Jazz bass (made in Korea) by Fender. Change the pickup to EMG and using a Korg AX10B multi-effects pedal which also act as an amp modifier.

If i'm not wrong my bass wood should be Agathis (give long substain) but I think newer version is alder wood.

Many people thinks that Fender bass is better than Squier. I could said it is a mindset and people are just blinded by the "brand" and not the sound.

Squier is a budget bass but it looked exactly like the original world famous Fender. If I were to set it up exactly the same for both Squier and Fender, played it with you blind-folded, I think you would not be able to tell the differences. Some might even find Squier bass nicer. Btw Reggi Wooten uses a Squier electric (made in Japan) Check out his slap and tapping on electric guitar.

My Jazz bass has 3 knobs. One for neck pickup, one for bridge pickup and the last for tone. Very versatile settings. Marcus miller added an onboard Pre-amp (Sadowsky)
My AX10B also has a compressor function and eq. I usually set the amp type as scoop (sound like Ampeg SVT).
For slapping purpose, can reduce the volume by a notch or two at the neck pickup.

If you like a Jaco Pastorius sound, reduce the volume at the neck pickup and play at the bridge pickup position.

For walking bass you can try turning down the bridge pickup and play near the last fret.

If you are talking about high end Fender bass like Stum Hamm's Urge bass which is very versatile and not cheap (4 pickups), no Squier bass can match with that.

So my advise is do not judge a bass by it's brand. Some of you might want to check out Tony Levin's OLP signature bass. $650SGD only. 5 string with 3 band EQ.
Looks exactly like ernie ball stingray. cool for slapping too (Louis Johnson style)

Ok people have fun.



Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Different Bass Techniques


Like to share some techniques of playing the bass guitar.

1. Finger plucking - The common plucking method is the 2 - fingers plucking style. Alternate between your index finger and middle finger. Some people use 3- 4 fingers too (John Myung).
Rock musicians will fancy this style and some metal players use a pick instead.

2. Thumb method - You can just use the thumb only to play ( Anthony Jackson), you can do thumb down and up like a pick motion (Larry Graham, Victor Wooten) or you can snap the string with your thumb (abraham laboriel). Some musicians when first learn to play bass will use alot of their thumb as if plucking acoustic guitar.

3. Slap and pop - This is a techniques that draw non bassist to learn bass as it produce a percussist sound and make the bass sound more funk. This technique was created because the inventor (larry graham) did not have a drummer and he have to double up to provide the bass and snare drum using his bass guitar when he was doing a show with his mum.
Stanley clarke brought this technique into jazz . To provide a more funky sound, apply ghost note (muted note). Some of the famous slappers are Louis Johnson, Marcus Miller, Flea, Stu Hamm and more...

4. Thump - This is a cool technique that Louis Johnson and Abraham Laboriel execute it very well.
You are suppose to strike your fingers accurately on the string and also make use of your palm to create a percussist feel. Using your left hand to mute the other strings that are not strike.

5. Strum - Most guitarist know how to strum. Guess what.. we bassist can strum too, but not our main role so we let the 6 strings boys do it. You can try to strum power chords (root + 5th) on the bottom strings and hear how it sound. Listen to Stanley Clarke's School Day.

6. Tapping - This technique can be easily executed, but yet with much speed and skill can be very complicated. Using both your fingers to tap on the fretboard. You can tap out a chord (root + 3rd + 5th) and let it ring.. Same idea as playing the piano. Very beautiful. Listen to Billy Sheehan, Victor Wooten and Stu Hamm and etc.. This technique came from the guitar.

7. Harmonics - There are natural harmonics found on the 5th 7th and 12th fret of the bass/guitar. Lightly touch the string and pluck it. You can hear the reasonance or vibration of the sound coming out. Beautiful right? Listen to Jaco pastorius (portrait of tracy), Victor wooten(norwegian woods) and etc

8. eBow - I never tried this before and this is mostly used by electric guitarist (Jars of Clay). The sound produce is quite unique though. Using magnetic field and held near the vibrating strings. Can create a wiammmm sound. Check out Michael Manring.

There are many other techniques like palm through, left hand slap, thumb down up pluck, and etc. But guess the above are the common techniques used.

Fast is not everything but play in time. :) A techniques can sound very cool but if cannot apply to make music, it is just a technique.


Where to shop for bass?

Dear all,

I would like to share a few places to find guitar/bass in Singapore

1. City music (Peace centre 2nd floor)
2. Peninsula basement is like a Sim Lim Square for guitars (Davis, Guitar 77, Guitar Connection, Luther music and etc)
3. Ranking (Bras Basah)
4. Sinamex (Parklane basement)
5. Swee lee (Bras Basha and Sim Drives)
6. Yamaha music plaza (Plaza Singapura), (Tampines mall)
7. Tradersgreen (West Coast)
8. Esden Trading (Sim lim)

I do not know how to spell some of the other shops. Haha
Hope the above information is useful.



Sunday, April 30, 2006

Basic Chords Theory


Some basics on how chords are formed.

Let's use Key of G major for an example.

In the key of G major, the notes in the scales are:

Root 2nd Maj 3rd 4th Perfect 5th 6th Maj 7th Octave
G A B C D E F# G

The basics of chords is 1 + 3+ 5 so in this case is G,B,D

This will give you a G chord.

If you want a G minor chord, just 'flat' the 3rd.

So now it's G,Bb,D.

Hope you find this simple theory lesson useful.