How Do Professionals Structure Their Practice Routine?

In episode #45 of 'Ask Geoff & Lauren' we answer a question about how professional musicians organise their practice time. Lauren and I are always working on improving our practice routines to make them as effective as possible, so it's a great topic that we are really passionate about. 

It would also be great to hear what's been working for you, so please join the conversation by leaving a comment below. 

 

In the video I reference shifting drills. Here's one I use each time I play, 'The Glide Exercise'.

Geoff's Favourite YouTube Double Bassists - Pt.2: Classical

In this selection of my favourite YouTube double bassists I share some classical recordings that are at the top of my ‘most played’ playlist! Of course I've only scratched the surface of the incredible music on YouTube, but I hope you enjoy the selection. GC


Mikyung Sung - Bottesini 'Elegy No. 1 in D' 

Korean double bassist Mikyung Sung is one of my favourite classical soloists. Her virtuosic performances will take your breath away, but more importantly she is also one of the most expressive musicians I've ever heard. I love the way she phrases her music and communicates her ideas in a unique and beautiful way. Here are two examples of her incredible double bass playing.

Mikyung Sung - R.Gliere 'Tarantella'


Bassiona Amorosa Featuring Roman Patkoló & Maxim Vengerov - 'Czardas'

I was first shown this video by a teacher of mine Paul Miller (principle bassist with Opera North). I can still remember watching it on his old computer and being completely dumbfounded. Paul was a great teacher and showing me this video taught me the lesson that anything is possible on the double bass.
It’s a truly astonishing performance by bassist Roman Patkoló and I love that it’s a light hearted, fun vibe on stage with everyone enjoying the moment.


Jeff Bradetich - Elgar Cello Concerto (1st Mov)

I could have picked any one of Jeff Bradetich's YouTube videos as they are all amazing, especially his performances of the Bach cello suites. However I just love this version of the Elgar Cello Concerto (1st Mov) and I hope you do too!


Rinat Ibragimov - Bach Cello suite No.3 Movement 1.

I love Rinat Ibragimov's playing and in particular the video Lauren shared in her list of favourite YouTube double bassists. My second favourite is this masterful performance of Bach's third cello suite.


Božo Paradžik - Bruch: 'Kol Nidrei'

Božo Paradžik was a visiting bass tutor when I was studying classical music at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. He would come several times a year and it was always a joy to study with him. He has an incredible amount of talent, a formidable work ethic and a gift to be able to communicate something very personal with his music. There are a lot of great bassist I can point to, but only a handful who’s playing is as moving and genuine as his.


Renaud Garcia-Fons - 'Aqa Jan'

There are very few musicians who develop a truly individual voice on their instrument & Renaud Garcia-Fons is one of them. In this video he showcases his virtuosic technique, original music and soulful playing. I have listened to the album version of 'Aqa Jan' hundreds of times. I find it so uplifting and a truly beautiful composition. This version was filmed on a mountain! 


Edicson Ruiz - 'Vals Natalia' by Luis Laguna

Venezuelan double bassist Edicson Ruiz is a true virtuoso. He has numerous videos documenting his astonishing technique so I thought I would share one of his simpler performances, but one that's played with a lot of passion!  


Ethan Jodziewicz & Sierra Hull play Bach Invention #6 in E Major.

Sierra Hull and her bassist Ethan Jodziewicz are an incredible team! I love it when they play bluegrass, but they also do a great job with this Bach invention!


Lauren Pierce - 'Maria' (from leonard bernstein's west side storY)

I can remember watching Lauren's video of 'Czardas' for the first time in 2014 and being blown away! Lauren plays the piece beautifully, with passion and a great vibe so it's no surprise that it's had almost 200,000 views! You can see that, as well as her other incredible videos over at her YouTube channel
She has continued to make incredible music like this wonderful version of Maria that's arranged for four double basses! That means four Laurens at the same time!

In addition to being an incredible performer Lauren is also a wonderful teacher and I'm proud that's she's now a part of Discover Double Bass and has created several superb, step-by-step video courses


I hope you enjoyed these, they have brought me a lot of pleasure over the years and I want to thank each one of these artists for sharing their unique talents with the world, for free! It’s mind blowing that we can watch this stuff so easily and I hope it will inspire you to find your voice on the double bass. 

What have I missed? I can only scratch the surface of the great music that’s out there on YouTube so would love to hear what you are listening to. Join us in the comments section below and share your favourites. 

Cheers Geoff

 


Lauren's Favourite YouTube Videos: Pt.2 Jazz

Here's part two of Lauren's list of favourite YouTube videos. Part one was very much focused on classical music, so this list covers jazz. 
 

Esperanza Spalding - 'Overjoyed'

I remember watching this video in my Jazz History class at UNT and being enamored by it (and then subsequently watching it thousand of times to the annoyance of everyone around me). Esperanza is just an all around fantastic musician - her beautiful voice, stellar bass playing, and upbeat stage presence make this such a fun performance to watch. You can see Mr. and Mrs. Obama bopping their heads in the audience, which is quite possibly the best part of the whole video. 


Christian McBride - 'Turnaround'

So I have to admit something. Christian McBride might be my favorite jazz bass player ever. I’m sorry if that offends you, or if anything I ever say offends you. But I can’t help it - I love Christian with all my heart. His playing is unarguably virtuosic, and I love how he is always right at the front of the beat, sometimes uncomfortably so, but still somehow manages to just feel so good. 


Brad Mehldau - 'Teardrop' 

I’ve watched this video probably close to a thousand times. Brad Mehldau has one of the most beautiful touches on piano, and his slight changes in harmonies and added dissonances make this such a special piece of art. 


Nina DeCesare and Zach Rizer - 'Spain' 

Nina and Zach are friends of mine and both great musicians. I love this arrangement of Spain because they bring something new and different to an already beautiful tune. Nina’s tone perfectly fluctuates between airy and mellow to direct and forward-moving depending on the moment, and I love her choice of where to add slides and vibrato. Zach’s playing is fantastic throughout, but I love his solo towards the middle of the video. 


Christian McBride and Lynn Seaton - 'Blues in the Closet'

I’m proud to say I was in the room for this beautiful moment, and even still, I’ve watched this video thousands of times. If you don’t know Lynn Seaton, he is the jazz bass teacher at the University of North Texas, former bassist with Tony Bennett, and all around badass and beautiful human being. What’s not to love about two fantastic musicians and friends getting together to jam?


Ray Brown, Victor Wooten, Edgar Meyer - 'Sister Sadie' 

I love it when I find out my idols are friends and even more when they get together to collaborate. I think this video speaks for itself - there’s an insane amount of talent on that stage, and some stellar music making! 


John Clayton - 'Cheek to Cheek' with Diana Krall

John Clayton’s bass lines are some of my favorite to listen to. I used to transcribe his bass lines and play them along with the recordings, alone in my house so no one could hear me. I love hearing him play with Diana Krall because they just fit so perfectly together. 


Tal Wilkenfeld - 'Blue Wind with Jeff Beck' 

Anytime you see two people playing one bass at the same time, you know it’s going to be entertaining. Underneath the playfulness and spontaneity of the moment, there is still some fantastic music being made between these two masters. 


Craig Butterfield - 'Donna Lee' 

I know Geoff included this video in his last list, but I just couldn’t leave it off of mine - it truly is one of my all time favorite videos! I’m sure I’m biased because Craig is my former teacher, but I just love his playing, particularly his bowed solos. I was at UNT when this video came out, and I remember everyone in the jazz department watching it and raving about “that guy’s crazy bass playing.” I was proud to brag on my teacher then, and I’m proud to do it again years later. 


Jamareo Artis with Bruno Mars & The Hooligans - 'Treasure'

I know Bruno Mars isn’t exactly a jazz musician, but I’m not exactly a jazz musician either, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ One thing I love most about Bruno Mars is his band, particularly his bass player, Jamareo Artis. I have watched every video of Bruno’s band on YouTube and that boy never disappoints. He’s got such a great feel and a punchy tone quality that makes Bruno’s already fun music even more upbeat. I love his playing from around the 3:50 mark in this video - those fills are incredible, busy, but still just feel so good. And of course he does all of this while dancing seamlessly.


What do you think? Did you enjoy the videos and what what are your favourites? I love to hear new music so please join us in the comments and share your favourites. - LP


How to Eliminate Feedback on the Double Bass (L#102)

In this video I share my top tips on eliminating feedback when playing the double bass. If you want to get a great amplified sound on your gigs check out my top tips! 

    In the video I reference:


    It's also great to hear your experiences with taming feedback. How do you do it? Join the conversation in the comments below this video. 

    Four Bad Habits That Make You Play out of Tune in Thumb Position (L#101)

    In this lesson Lauren shares four bad habits that cause you to play out of tune in thumb position. These tips can make a big difference to your intonation, so check out the short video to learn what the most common problems are and how you can fix them.



    I hope you enjoyed the video and check out 'Double Bass Thumb Position' by Lauren Pierce. It's over four hours long and a step-by-step method to master thumb position technique on the double bass. 

    Sister Sadie on Bass - Playing the Tune! (L#100)

    In this lesson I teach you how to play the melody from 'Sister Sadie' by Horace Silver. It's a great tune and a lot of fun to play on the double bass.
    There's a lot to work on as it has a rhythm that's hard to play at full speed and the final A section is in thumb position. 
    I also demonstrate some walking bass lines for the B-section whilst the guitar plays the melody. 

    Big thanks to my friend Simon King who played both guitar and drums on the backing track! What a player and I love the lines he plays at the start of his solo.


    Please join the conversation by leaving a comment below and I hope you enjoy the lesson. Cheers Geoff
    P.S This is the 100th Discover Double Bass lesson that Lauren Pierce and I have published on YouTube. Big thanks to you for watching and for all of your support. 

    Geoff's Favourite YouTube Double Bassists - Pt.1: Jazz

    I’ve put together a selection of my favourite YouTube videos by jazz double bassists. My aim is to share some great jazz music that you might not have heard before, so there's lots of notable bassists missing. I’ve also shared mostly modern day bassists, so I will be sure to revisit the list with more in future (did someone say Ray Brown!). 


    "Shhh" by Wycliffe Gordon - Ben Williams on double bass

    I love this performance and it’s a world class band. Ben Williams pulls a huge tone from his double bass. I’m pretty sure he’s using a New Standard Cleveland hybrid model bass with Thomastik 'Spriocore Weich' strings. It also looks like he’s playing acoustically! Whatever’s going on he gets an incredible tone and plays a classy solo with some killer lines!

    The bass solo starts five minutes in. Enjoy :-) 


    Neil Miner - ‘C Jam Blues'

    Double bassist Neil Miner is another favourite of mine and he swings like mad in this trio recording. It’s classic jazz double bass with a fat tone that really drives the band. I can’t say enough how much I love his fills and solos. His performance in this video is how I aspire to play walking bass. Great tone, killer swing feel and an awesome groove! 


    Marco Panascia - ‘Solo Jazz Bass Blues in F’

    Marco is one of NYC’s top jazz bassists and this video will show you why. It was released only a year after YouTube had launched over 10 years ago, so he was a real pioneer! I can still remember watching this video for the first time. It blew me away and I’m still in awe of how effortless he makes it look. If you are into virtuosic bebop solos played on the double bass with real passion, Marco Panascia is your man! 


    Brad Mehldau Trio 'Ode [Number 19]' - Larry Grenadier on Double bass

    I’m a huge fan of Larry Grenadier, so I've had to include two of his videos! 

    First off, check out the bass solo at 02:13 with the Brad Mehldau trio! It’s just too good. The interplay between musicians, the way the solo builds and the phrases develop is a masterclass in improvisation. I recommend listening to this in a dark room with your favourite drink. :-) 

    Rebecca Martin and Larry Grenadier ‘ No Moon at All'

    This video is very low fi, but it’s got a great vibe and I’m sure you will love the bass playing. If you would like to hear more like this I can recommend their album ‘When I was Long Ago’. The band is only vocals, double bass and saxophone, so you can really hear Larry’s playing clearly. In the meantime check this out!


    Craig Butterfield - 'Donna Lee'

    Wow, just wow! I’m still getting over how good Craig’s bass playing is. His arco skills and left hand technique are flawless! He also writes some beautiful music so be sure to look him up online once you've seen this video. You won’t regret it! 

    Side note: Craig Butterfield also taught Lauren Pierce which might explain where she got some of her superhuman double bass skills! It's also rumoured they can fly. ;-)


    B'ANG Duet - ‘Whisper Not' - Petros Klampanis & Or Bareket on Double bass

    I was lucky enough to meet Or and Petros when I attended their masterclass at the 2015 ISB conference. They are seriously inspiring musicians so hearing them play and teach was a real highlight of the show for me. 
    Playing double bass duets is really hard and takes great skill to do well. This is a masterclass in tasteful playing!


    The Wood Brothers ‘Atlas' - Chris Wood on Double Bass

    Double bassist Chris Wood is a force of nature. I love his energy, incredible tone and tasty note choices. Don’t miss this one! 

    String Warning: Chris is using a full set of Pirastro's Eudoxa strings. These are sheep gut core, wound in silver and hand polished. So, you know they are not going to be cheap! His tone is to die for by the price may cause serious damage to your finances, so only watch this video if you can resist the compulsion to buy new strings! ;-) 


    Katie Thiroux - 'Oh, What A Beautiful Morning' & 'Ray's Kicks'

    This video was the first I heard by Katie Thiroux and I love it! It’s fantastic to see a modern bassist playing hard swinging jazz with some superb arrangements. Check out the tone, the energy and the good vibes!  

     

    There are loads of great videos I’ve missed, this is just a small selection to get started. I will be adding to this list in future and would love to hear your recommendations. As these are YouTube videos there are more modern artists, but I’ve not forgotten about the pioneers of jazz bass such as Paul Chambers, Ron Carter and Scott LaFaro. I'm sure they will be covered in a future update, or possibly a separate list. Anyway, let me know what you think and what's missing! 

    Cheers Geoff 

    Lauren's Favourite YouTube Videos: Pt.1 - Classical

    DaXun Zhang - Meditation (from the opera “Thaïs”) by Jules Massenet:

    I went through a period where I watched this video every day. There’s just something about DaXun’s phrasing and warm, tender tone quality that hits me in a way other recordings don’t. 


    Rinat Ibragimov - Gran Duo by Giovanni Bottesini: 

    Rinat’s recording of the Bottesini Gran Duo is a favorite for a few reasons - the obvious being that Rinat is absolutely fantastic and this recording is diva as all hell. I love that he is sharing the stage with his daughter, Alina, who also happens to be unbelievable. The chemistry between these two makes this recording really special.


    Božo Paradžik - Intermezzo and Tarantella by Reinhold Glière: 

    This is another recording I watched every single day for a while there. What I love so much about literally anything Bozo plays is how much care he puts into every moment - no phrase, no note, no pitch goes by without intention. He manages to play those fast notes with machine gun-like clarity, while simultaneously being incredibly musical. 

    I also love that he makes his pianist wait in between the Intermezzo and Tarantella so he can tighten his bow. 


    Maxim Vengerov - Violin Concerto by Jean Sibelius: 

    Maxim is quite possibly my favorite musician ever. He’s brilliant and exceptional, but he just truly loves what he does, and that really comes across in his playing. There are so many wonderful performances of Maxim on YouTube, but I think his interpretation of the Sibelius Violin Concerto truly captures what he’s all about as a musician. 

    And if you want to hear him talk about his thought process behind his phrasing, check out this masterclass on the Sibelius: 


    Edgar Meyer - Bach & Friends: 

    I can’t make a list of my favorite recordings without including Edgar. I love that man, and I love this video. It’s simple, but so beautiful and inspiring. It’s just Edgar talking about his relationship with Bach and his own musical journey, all while his performance of the 2nd suite prelude plays in the background. I watch this video anytime I’m in a bit of a slump or just need a lift. 


    Runner up…

    Edgar Meyer and Chris Thile - “Why Only One?”

    Surprise! It’s another Edgar video. I’ll bet you weren’t surprised. I just adore anything that man creates, and whenever he and Chris Thile get together, the result is going to be amazing. The playing is beautiful, the scenery is stunning, and the camera work is super cool.

    What do you think? Did you enjoy the videos and what what are your favourites. I love to hear new music so please join us in the comments and share your favourites. - LP


    Related Articles:

    Planting Fingers - Double Bass Shifting Technique + Drill (L#99)

    In this lesson Lauren Pierce shows us how to shift cleanly on the double bass. This technique will help you play smoothly and cut down on squeaks and scratches. It also helps you to develop your muscle memory which is an essential aspect of playing in tune. 
    In addition to explaining the technique and showing you how to shift, Lauren also shares a great shifting drill for you to practice. 


    I hope you enjoy the lesson and if you have any questions or want to share what's helped you shift, please join us in the comments section.

    If you want to learn more from Lauren you can check out her full length double bass courses:
    'Double Bass Bowing Technique' & 'Double Bass Thumb Position'

    What are the Best Hybrid Strings for Double Bass?

    In this episode of 'Ask Geoff & Lauren' we answer the question 'what are the best hybrid strings for double bass?'

    We share our recommendations for hybrid double bass strings that are suitable for jazz, classical, bluegrass and more. Finding the perfect string has been a life long quest for both of us so we share what has worked and what you should bear in mind if you are on the hunt for your perfect string. 


    Some of the brands we discuss are:
    Pirastro: 'Evah Pirazzi' Weich, 'Original Flatchrome'
    D'Addario: 'Kaplan', 'Zyex'
    Thomastik: 'Spirocore', 'Belcanto'

    I hope you enjoy the video and please join us in the comments section to let us know what strings you're using. Cheers Geoff

     

    Two Octave D Major Scale (L#98)

    In this lesson I teach the two D octave major scale on the double bass, as well as a useful alternative fingering. 
    I also compare the fingerings to those in the two octave D Aeolian and D Dorian scales. Plus, the tow octave Db major scale, so we cover a lot of ground in a short video!

    To learn more about scales please check out my course 'Double Bass Scales: The Play-Along Collection'.  

    I hope you enjoy the lesson and if you have any questions or lessons requests please post them in the comments section below and thanks for watching! Cheers Geoff

    How to Break Though a Plateau?

    'How do you break though a plateau?'

    In this episode of Ask Geoff & Lauren we discuss how you can break though plateaus and make the most progress with your bass playing. I hope you enjoy it and if you would like to join the conversation please leave a comment below the video. 

    If you want to learn more about scales for the double bass please check out 'Double Bass Scales: The Play-Along Collection'. 

    Bowing Technique for Playing Double Stops (L#97)

    In this double bass lesson Lauren teaches us the bowing technique for playing double stops.
    Starting the string cleanly, without any squeaks takes care, especially when playing two at once! Lauren explains the technique and demonstrates how you can play double stops with a great sound. 


    I hope you enjoy the video. It's a preview from her course 'Double Bass Bowing Technique'. The course comprises 70 lessons and is over 5 hours long!

    How to Memorise Music

    In this episode of Ask Geoff & Lauren we discuss how we approach memorising music. It's something all musicians have to do. Whether you are playing jazz standards, or a classical concerto, it's an essential part of the performance process. There are several different ways to approach memorising music so we share our recommendations in this video. 


    I hope you enjoyed the video and if you have any questions, or want to share your tips on memorising music,  please join the conversation in the comments section. 

    Crossing Strings in a Slur (L#96)

    In this lesson Lauren teaches us how to cross strings in a slur without creating a gap between notes, or any scratches and squeaks. She shows us the left hand and bowing techniques you need to know to play with a clean sound. 
    If you want more lessons like this please check out Lauren's step-by-step bowing technique course

    I hope you enjoy the lesson! If you want to join the conversation please leave a comment below. 

    Essential Walking Bass Line Patterns (L#95)

    In this lesson I share some essential walking bass patterns. These riffs work over almost any chord which then moves up by an interval of a 4th to the next chord. This is the most common movement between chords, it's literally everywhere, so having some great bass riffs under your fingers will really help you. It's also a simple method that you can use to get started with improvising your own walking bass lines. 

    I demonstrate how you can apply these patterns using the chord progression from 'Fly Me to the Moon'.

    If you want to take a comprehensive course please check out 'Creating Walking Bass Lines: A Step-by-Step Course'. 

    Flying with a Double Bass

    In this episode of Ask Geoff & Lauren we answer a question about flying with a double bass. Taking your irreplaceable instrument on a plane is never easy, so we share our experiences. Lauren also tells us how she got her bass from the US to Australia when she moved earlier this year.

    In the video I reference the website Rentabass.

    I hope you enjoy the video and if you have any questions please join the conversation in the comments section below. Plus, if you have flown with a double bass we need to hear from you! How did it go and did you both survive the trip! :-)

    Cheers Geoff