Sunday, December 16, 2007

Dorian Groove


This exercise is based on the G Dorian Scale.

Sound pretty interesting when you play it fast.

Here we go,

G Bb C, G C D, G E F, G F G, G

To make it more groovy, you can add a ghost note (X).

Like this,

G X Bb C, G X C D, G X E F, G X F G, G

Start slow and gradually increase the tempo.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Basic Walking Bass

Walking Bass lines are used in rock, blues, jazz, gospel and many other genres.

I would like to share the basic idea of building walking bass lines using chord tones.

Let's try playing a 4 chords progression in the key of G.

The chords are - Am7|D7 |Gmaj7| Cmaj7|.

We need to identify the notes in these chords.

Am7 - A C E G
D7 - D F# A C
Gmaj7 - G B D F#
Cmaj7 - C E G B

Now, each note is a quarter note (1/4).
The timing is like this - 1234|1234|1234|1234 (one note each).
The basic idea is always to play the root notes on the "1".
You can try different arrangement of the notes,
the exercise below is an example of what you can play.


Get a guitarist to play along with you and experiment which notes sound better.

More complicated walking bass lines can be formed using modes,passing notes and need not start with the root note.

Have fun.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Famous Slapper

To be a good slapper on the bass, one need to have a good sense of rhythm and know what notes to hit (Ghost notes play a big part in funk slap style).

Would like to name a few good bass players whom we can study.

1) Stanley Clarke
2) Victor Wooten
3) Stu Hamm
4) Abraham Laboriel
5) Louis Johnson
6) Larry Graham
7) Mark King
8) Marcus Miller
9) Vail Johnson
10) Flea

There are many others in the world but these 10 listed are some of my favourites.

Play around with your amp settings, pickup selection, frequency cuts to get the tone you like.


Thursday, November 01, 2007

Night School


For those who are familiar with Stanley Clarke, will surely know this song "School Day".

There is this part at his lastest DVD titled Night School, where many popular bass players improvise School Day with their style.

Some of the bass players include Stu Hamm, Brian Bromberg, Jimmy Johnson, Marcus Miller, Wayman Tisdale and etc.

Grab a copy now. :)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

5 Steps for beginners

Recently I was sharing with some friends how to improve their playing.

I figure that most people these days just want to play but not learn the theory.

One reason I feel that theory is important - You will know what notes you can and cannot play.

Below are 5 steps to give self taught beginners a kick start.

1) Memorise the fretboard - Start with the first 5 frets (all strings) and slowly move up.

2) Learn the Major Chords and Scales ( Major Chord = 135, Major scale = 221 2221)

3) Practice plucking the strings alternating with 2 fingers (right hand)

4) Practice with a metronome / drum machine ( Start with 1 note per click)

5) Choose a song that you love and hear how the bassist play (Ask a friend or teacher to guide you)

Techniques like slapping, popping, tapping, chords, harmonics and etc are to help produce music.Learning to apply the techniques to your music is the challenge.

Internet resources, videos and books are your friends.
We are constantly learning new stuffs so don't feel pressure if you need more time. Email me if you need any elaboration.


Sunday, August 26, 2007

Minor chord family

Dear all,

Was great to see Stu Hamm performance live at the art house on 23rd August 07.

I think some who came were just accompanying their friends but nevertheless, I still enjoy myself.

For those who listen to Stu's music, you realize that he compose quite a lot of songs in minor key.

Let's refresh on the chords in the major key.

In the key of C - C Dm7 Em7 F G7 Am Bm7(b5) C

Try tapping that and you can play the Prelude in C.

Next the minor chord in key of A (based on A natural minor) - Am Bm7(b5) C Dm7 Em7 F G7 Am.

Do check out the minor chord family for Harmonic Minor and Melodic Minor.



Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Basic Tapping


One way to make the bass sound more melodic is by playing chords.

Tapping can achieve a guitar plucking/piano playing type of sound.

The motion is similar as hammer on.

We will try a G chord for this explanation.
The 4 notes that you are going to tap are G (root) D (5th) G (octave) B (10th).
The fingering is similar as playing bar chord on the guitar.
Now your left hand fore finger on the root, followed by right hand fore finger on 5th , middle on octave and left ring finger on the 10th.

Give it a try :)

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Melodic Lead Bass

Former NBA Star, Wayman Tisdale is one of the better and few bassists that play melodic lead lines throughout the whole song. Wayman Tisdale is a left handed player. If you like smooth jazz and sweet bass lines, than check him out.

The album "Way Up" is what he consider one of his most fulfill title so far.
For more information and sample of the album, please visit

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Grooving for Heaven series


For those who do not know Norm Stockton, you probably also didn't know that he produced 4 instructional DVDs called the Grooving for Heaven Series.

I encourage all beginners to grab volume 1 and learn the basics techniques and theory. If you have benefited from it, then try vol 2-4.

Do note that the notation are sold separately.

You can take a look at the video example from

Have fun!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Bass Floor Pod


Want to get a cheaper Line 6 effects?

Check out the new Bass Floor Pod.

The effect comes with 5 different bass amp model and the knob make it easy for you to choose.

Not only that, the Bass Floor Pod has an OPTO compressor and effects like octaver,envelope filter and chorus, making it possible to get a variety of sound.

The in-built pedal definitely make it an essential tool for live performance.

Check it out at for demos and more information.

Any comments? Value for money?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Simple Hammer on Tap


Will like to share with you a simple hammer on tap technique that can sound real fast and not difficult to execute.
Basically, it is just a hammer on with your left hand and a right hand tap.

A right hand tap is achieve by simply pressing the string onto the fingerboard with the tip of your finger.
We will use the G string for this example.

Place you left hand index finger on the 9th fret( E) followed by a hammer on the 10th fret( F) with your middle finger followed by your right index finger tap on the 12th fret (G).

Subsequently, you just hold your left index finger down and alternate between your left hand middle finger(hammer on) and right hand index finger(tap).

When you are comfortable with this position, try moving your right hand index finger to the 14th fret and back to 12th fret. Left hand remain in the same motion.

Give it a try.


Sunday, March 25, 2007

Slap Pop Exercise


This is a nice and not too difficult slap pop exercise.

You can loop it over and over til you get a nice slap tone and also slowly increase the tempo.

Just note that the G and A are triplets.

Slap G on the 3rd fret twice and pop the octave G on the 5th fret.

You can break it into 3 parts

2. TTP - triplets (123)
3. TTP - triplets (123)

Ok have fun

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Rub Alcohol

Someone once asked me if it will improve his bass playing speed by rubbing alcohol on his hands.

My answer to him was practice, not rubbing alcohol or drinking.

Anyway why some people rub alcohol on their hands is to prevent the strings from rusting. By doing so, it will keep your hands dry.

You may also use it as a string cleaner.

I have dry hands so not a problem for me.

Sweaty palms, this is your helping star :)

Friday, March 16, 2007

Adjusting Intonation

To adjust your bass's intonation is as important as adjusting the neck action, but slightly easier.

The tools required are screwdriver and a tuner.

When tuning the screw at the bridge, it will move the saddle either forward or backward.

1. Now hold a note at the 12th fret and check it with your tuner.

2. If the note is too sharp that mean the string is too short. Move the saddle away from the neck.

3. Tune again to check if it is accurate.

If you are not confident to do it yourself, do send in and get the pros to do it. Also get them to adjust your action as well.


Sunday, March 04, 2007


What are arpeggios?
Arpeggios are chords pluck note by note instead of pressing all at the same time.

When guitarist mention 'play arpeggios', they usually pluck string by string on the chord that they are pressing.
For us bass players, we do the same as well.

As we already know, a chord is formed by pressing root 3rd and 5th together.

So just press note by note of the chord now. e.g G arpeggio - G B D (3rd fret on E string, 2nd fret on A string and 5th fret on A string).

This is useful when your band is playing one bar of G, instead of just holding the G note, you can play the G arpeggio - G B D G.

Now trying going further up the fretboard.

Starting with:
G B D (3rd fret on E string, 2nd fret on A string and 5th fret on A string),
followed by:
G B D G ( 5th fret on the D string, 9th fret on the D string, 7th fret on the G string and 12th fret on the G string).

By doing this exercise, you won't be restricted to just play within the first few frets(obtain different tone) and it also help you to be more familiar with the fretboard.

Try reversing back from the high G ( 12th on the G string) back to the low G ( 3rd fret on the E string).

Have fun!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Scales in C


Today, I will list down 7 scales in key of C which is often used.
I have mentioned some of the scales before in my previous post.
If you are interested to scroll through, just subscribe to my RSS and place it on your browser's toolbar. :)

Ok, although it is more easy for you to practice the fingering if I post the tabs,
but I think it is good that you can find out the position of the notes this time.
You can either use the C on the 3rd fret of the A string or go further up the fretboard.

C Major - C D E F G A B C
C Mixolydian - C D E F G A Bb C
C Dorian - C D Eb F G A Bb C
C Natural Minor - C D Eb F G Ab Bb C
C Major Pentatonic - C D E G A C
C Minor Pentatonic - C Eb F G Bb C
C Blues - C Eb F F# G Bb C

There are lot of good articles out there to explain how you can apply the above scales.

Have fun!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Slap Bass DVD

Hi, usually the good slap materials out there are pretty dry and those fancy ones we can't learn much.
I would like to recommend this Dvd by Ed Friedland - Slap Bass (The Ultimate Guide).
This Dvd provides the essential of playing slap style(beginner, intermediate) and it's not boring.

You will learn the techniques of playing triplets, 16th notes and more using the slap style. Very useful material to guide you play like Louis Johnson, Marcus Miller, Victor Wooten and etc.
Go for it man!!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Basic Rhythm and Note Duration

Thought this might be useful. You can read up from the web for something more complete.
I'm just giving a brief explanation. :)

Play on the "Bold" only and count out loud.
e.g Playing a whole note with G - G 2 3 4 G 2 3 4 G 2 3 4 G 2 3 4

Whole Note - 1 2 3 4 1 2 34 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4

Half Note - 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4

Quarter Note - 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4

Eighth Note - 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 1 & 2 & 3 & 4

Sixteenth Note -
1 e & a 2 e & a 3 e & a 4 e & a 1 e & a 2 e & a 3 e & a 4 e & a

Hope that will give you a headstart.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Are Tabs evil?


I came across quite a few beginners who learnt by memorizing the notes position without knowing what notes they are pressing.
Some learnt by reading using tabs.

So is it wrong or not very musically inclined to learn a song by reading tabs instead of transcribing with your ears?

In my opinion, one should strike a balance. Firstly, you definitely need to know what notes you are pressing and not just memorize by position (i.e 5th fret on D string is a G note).

Tabs are good tools for beginners to kickstart, but as you grow musically, you should try to use your hearing and figure out the notes.
You may occasionally referred to it when certain songs or bass lines are difficult to transcribe.

After you look at the tabs, see if you can derive the theory behind it and not blindly follow. Maybe from the tabs you learnt that by pressing this note and that note it form a certain chords. See, you are learning something.

Be the master over your learning tool and instrument! :d


Sunday, January 07, 2007

Hartke Bass Attack


Just a short sharing of how I use the Harkte Bass Attack VXL Tone Shaper Pre Amp cum DI(Direct Input) if you have no time to read the manual.

1. Plug in your bass to the input and adjust the "Bass" and "Treble". 5 is neutral. My "Bass" is 3 and "Treble" is 6.

2. Step on the "ON/OFF" switch and adjust the "Harmonics", "Mix" and "Brite". " My "Harmonics" is at 4, "Mix" at 1 O'clock(not too dry) and "Brite" at 3.

3. Step on the "SHAPE" switch and adjust the "Shape" knob. I set mine at 850Hz frequency.
For "Shape", it can affect your slapping tone.

For this setting, it depend what sound you want and how you adjust your output's EQ. It also depend how you adjust your bass's preamp(if any). You can get the pure sound of the bass attack by connecting to the effect loop of your amp.

If your bass has a built in preamp, adjust the sound you like first before setting the "Harmonics", "Mix" and "Brite".

Take some time to explore and experiment.

A typical set up propose by the manual is, your bass to input of Bass Attack,the XLR output or line output to mixer and parallel output to amp.

For me, instead of using the parallel output to amp, I used the line output and set the amp as my monitor.

Harkte Bass Attack is designed and engineered in the US by Samson Technologies. Made in China :)

Rugged Aluminium Chassis. You can use a 9V battery or DC adaptor.