Thursday, January 4, 2018

Google Tools for the Busy Musician - Full Article



Google employs me as a bassist. I wish! What I mean by that is, their free services give the outside world the impression that I’m an organized, punctual, prepared, professional bassist and I keep getting hired. Want in on a secret? Yes, I’ve enjoyed a 20+ year career as a performing and recording bassist in Prince Edward Island while working full time in IT, teaching bass at the Holland College School of Performing Arts and UPEI, raising five little kids and sometimes seeing my lovely wife; however, my life is full of daily challenges that seek to make me fail in my music career. I'm naturally disorganized, forgetful, and full of procrastination. Enter Google, add my Smartphone, and watch as my chaotic life is turned into beautifully manageable bits. This music career of mine is not limited to the instrument I play, the notes I choose, the styles I enjoy, or the gigs I get. It has a thousand tiny pieces that make up who I am as a musician, which translates to who I am as a professional, which translates to this: when someone hires me, who are they really getting?

I want to share with you some of the habits I've developed over the last 10 years since getting my first iPod Touch and subsequent smartphones - habits which honestly I didn't intend to create. I look back and realize they are habits I wish someone had introduced me to 25 years ago when I first started gigging - habits that now I could not function without. Google makes it incredibly easy to implement and use these techniques on a daily basis so you can worry about what is important: the music.

Google Calendar is my invaluable personal assistant: its power is highly underrated. I outlined this in more detail in the Bass Column in the Sept/Oct 2017 issue, but briefly, make sure you create all calendar entries with a title having the same searchable keyword. Add the date and time you need to arrive, the address, gig specific notes, a default reminder of 45 mins, 24 hours, and one week before. Make sure you invite anyone that should know about your gig: band members, significant others, Alain Caron, etc. Google Now will calculate the distance to your gig location and tell you when you need to leave. Hop in your car, click the location on your calendar entry and the GPS in Google Maps will guide you to your gig.


                              

Google Contacts are an often overlooked feature of any Gmail account. Have you ever seen someone post on Facebook "Got a new phone...lost all of my contacts. Text me your number so I can add you". I always simultaneously chuckle and shake my head. Say it with me: Google Contacts. Add that lovely Google account to your phone so that when someone texts you, choose "Add to Contacts" and save to the Google account. When you switch or lose your phone, just add your Google account to your new phone and you have all of your contacts again like nothing changed.

Besides the obvious single contact usage, contact groups are another overlooked feature. When you add that new contact make sure you add them to a group. Once I had an amp I was trying to sell and I put it on Kijiji, I put it on Ebay, I put it on Facebook. No bites. Then I decided to try some direct marketing: Email every bassist I know. “Ok, compose new email, write my perfect sales pitch, now who am I sending it to? I've got 716 contacts, go through each entry and remember who is a bassist.” No way. I don't have time to sort through contacts. I use Google Contacts groups that I've spent tiny bits of time over the years compiling and maintaining. Then I go to Gmail and compose new email, and start typing "Bassists" in the to: field like this:




Sure Facebook is great for this too, but sometimes an old-fashioned electronic mail in true circa 1994 style can really do the trick. For the record, I sold that amp because of that email.

Google Drive has saved my hyde more times than I can count and I’m a bass player so that’s more than 4 times. It is my office/library in the cloud secured by 2-step verification (more on this later). I have my Drive meticulously organized in folders/subfolders to organize the various parts of my life.



Musically speaking, it contains:
  • Every chart I make or receive, organized by person/band I’m playing with
  • Every gig setlist organized by year with notes, youtube links, talking points, soloists
  • Several versions of my bio (short, long, life story, tome) as well as various photos for promo 
  • All of my commonly used teaching materials (lesson plans, exercises, backing tracks, articles)
  • Music related receipts for tax time
  • Professional development materials, course material, lists of to-do's, hopes and dreams
  • Email templates (musician services quote, new student welcome, pestering Alain Caron for a bass lesson)
  • All of my gear info (receipts for warranty, insurance, serial numbers, identifying photos, favourite amp settings sorted by venue, maintenance photos, bass-glam shots, bass selfies )

Having all of that material in one place and at my fingertips anywhere I go helps me sleep at night. Drive lets you create documents, spreadsheets, or scan text from a physical document and save these directly to your Drive. I'm going to tell you two things...which one is the truth?
  • I wrote this entire article at my desk sitting in front of my computer
  • Jaco needed a fifth string 
Lies, they’re all lies. I wrote 85% of this article on phone while on my couch, in a parking lot, in my kitchen, or sitting waiting for my kids at Kung-Fu or Choir (“OK Google, remind me to start a kung-fu choir”). Heck I wrote part of this article pulled over on the side of the road because I was struck with a great idea. (Sadly CM wouldn’t send me to Robert Trujillo’s house to write while playing Jaco’s bass for inspiration). Now what about all of your old files? I'm sure you have important files on your computer that you'd like to back up or have access to while on the move. Google Drive has downloadable sync tool which syncs files from your computer’s Google Drive folder with your Drive on the cloud.

Did you know that any content in Google Drive is shareable with other users? You can send a link to a specific item or an entire folder and manage the access level so other users can just view it or view and edit. Setlists are great example. Maintain your setlists in one location and no more 1000 line indecipherable Facebook threads that only half of your band members caught in the first place. No more “What? We were supposed to learn Wrecking Ball for this rehearsal?” Everyone knows where to check the setlist and therefore no surprises.

Another great feature is the ability to share files as an email attachment or to any other app on your phone. Imagine walking to your van the morning after a gig to find your windows smashed and your precious gear stolen. You have a precise list of serial numbers and identifying photos to provide to the police and instantly share online and with local pawn shops. Or let’s say I'm a band-leader for a corporate gig 100 kilometres away from my house. The contractor comes over to meet the group and after chatting says in front of everyone “Forgot to mention we need an invoice, if you have one we can cut a cheque tonight, otherwise it’ll be sometime late next week”. Rather than sweating through your lime green tux and facing seething band members you whip out your pocket computer, fill out the blank invoice template you have saved in Google Drive and you email it to Mr. Money faster than you can say Gene MacLellan.

Often I've punctually sent charts, lesson material, setlists, recordings, invoices, and bios/photos directly from my phone while standing in line at Tim Hortons, from the car, sitting on a bench, or making supper while fielding a thousand questions per minute by my four year old. Having an organized and standardized location where everything is saved really helps cut down on productivity loss and information loss or duplication. How many times have you emailed yourself something to remember only to have it buried in your poorly organized email. Email isn’t a great option for saving information. Or is it?

Welcome to Inbox by Google. It's like a five-string Gmail with active pickups, a Leo Quan badass bridge, and every note is the brown note. Content-wise it IS Gmail; however, its presentation varies from your grandpa's Gmail and is intended for forward thinkers like you. Have you ever missed an important email because it got lost amidst all of your Old Navy/Bulk Barn promos and loads of completely hilarious and useful forwards from that family member? Inbox automatically sorts and groups all promotional, social media, financial, purchases, etc together in groups and leaves your important email highlighted and exposed. You respond to the important emails that have response-awaiting humans and you deal with that other stuff when you're waiting for the bus or sitting on the...board of a local charity you believe in. It also consolidates your travel plans by trip location so there's no more searching for flight or hotel information.





On top of its automatic sorting features, I absolutely could not live without Inbox's snooze feature. You don't always have the ability to deal with email requests immediately right? Well, anything in Inbox can be snoozed so that it pops up again as if it was new again. Amazing. You have several options here including snoozing to a later date/time or a specific address/location. Inbox lets your pre-define your typical snooze times depending on your schedule.



What about when you get an important email that requires your attention but you can't respond immediately? Snooze it! Again whenever the specified snooze time is up, Inbox will notify you that you have a “new” item. You respond when you're ready but still in a timely manner and avoid getting labeled as one of those people that never responds or just getting ignored for the gig next time. You can also keep hitting that snooze button like a teenager/any employed adult on a Monday. Sorta like how I constantly revisit that time Joe Dart responded to my email. #Vulfpeck. I receive music related emails during the day and because I'm at my IT job I'll snooze emails until lunch time, or after the kids’ bedtime or simply for when I'm at home.

Which reminds me (see what I did there?), Inbox even has incredible location based reminders which you can use in conjunction with Google Now. Yes you may get strange looks talking out-loud to your phone like it's your personal assistant but it's worth it. “Ok Google...remind me to send setlist and charts to the band when I'm at Home. Remind me to book my vacation for Jazz festival when I'm at Work. Remind me to buy new bass at Long and Mcquade”. Next time you step in that door your phone will beep and remind you.

Do you have a task that you do daily? You can create repeating reminders so at the same time every day it notifies you to research online music sales opportunities, or Google your own name, or cycle through every radio station possible to see if your single is being played.

Hey, I bet you have more than one email address and you check them all in different apps or websites or maybe you forward them all to one address. Wouldn't it be nice to have all of your email in one location where you could easily view emails sorted by address and easily respond using whichever email address an email was sent to? Gmail man. Gmail. Don't be afraid of the S word..settings. Head to the Gmail settings and add up to five accounts to receive and send mail from. A thing of beauty.

I'd be remiss if I didn't show some love to the one that started it all: Google’s indexed Search results. This free service is taken for granted like the air we breathe or the warm sound of a Pbass. “Music venues in Nanaimo, BC”. “Guitar repair in Red Deer, AB” “Drummer babysitting in Toronto”. The ability to ask your phone or computer about something common or obscure and get usually solid results is incredible. Especially for someone like me who used to use the yellow pages...like the physical kind...in a phonebook…no not an app… a book...a real book...oh nevermind.

Google Keep is like extreme sticky notes from the future. The app allows you to quickly store a checklist, notes, voice memos, a picture from your camera, or it even gives you the option of doing a quick sketch in case you get an idea for a new custom bass design.

                                                 


I know...I should stick to bass playing. Bottom line is, Keep is a great sandbox for ideas and here's the great thing: all of the snooze features I mentioned above from Inbox are also available in Keep. Bravo Google.

Google Play is a fantastic subscription based music streaming service that gives you access to all of the great music of the world at your fingertips. In preparation for gigs I find that I'm spending more time listening to the music for the gig and less time stumbling through tunes as I play along. It ends up meaning more efficient and quality time spent on the bass. Space is cheap and Google knows this. They have more servers than Stan Rogers has verses and this allows you to upload up to 50,000 of your own songs, demos, band recordings or whatever audio file you need for your work. You can stream any song or temporarily download songs, albums, or playlists to your phone to save on data charges. This is all included in your monthly subscription. Pop in your ear buds and shed along in your mind to the new song you wrote or connect to your vehicle's Bluetooth and review your band's practice recordings while you drive and reflect on just how awesome you are.

Lastly Google Authenticator is a must. Secure your Google account with 2 step verification. If you happened to ignore every current piece of security advice available and use 12345 as your Google password and someone guessed it because they used the same combination on their luggage, they would still need your phone (which is secured right?) and the unique code from Authenticator that changes every 60 seconds. Authenticator also works with many other providers such as Facebook and Zoho and this lessens your chance of a stolen identity.

Call me crazy but I think all of these Google apps are really great and they really work for me and my style. I’m always on the hunt for new ways to make managing my life and career easier and truly justify the expense of a smartphone. All of this being said, if you decide to make better use of your smartphone by trying these techniques, make sure you balance all of this fantastic tech with the human factor. Sometimes it’s triple the effect if you pick up a phone, dial 10 digits, and make a human connection, or squat down, look your four year old in the eye and explain once more that the words are not “Another One Bust the Dust”.




**p.s... look .. I'm even on the cover... err....sorta... does this count?  I say it counts..


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Google Tools for the Busy Bassist

Originally published in Canadian Musician magazine for the Sept/Oct 2017 issue. 

In addition to being a professional musician, I'm also an IT guy, so maybe it's second nature, but I really like to use technology when it comes to organization because, like so many musicians, I wasn't blessed with the best natural organizational skills.

I'm also an avid Google user. They do it right. They offer some pretty incredible FREE tools that allow a user to make so many different parts of their life/career/hobby easier. In talking to many colleagues, friends, and family, I find it is an incredibly underused service.

Like most people these days, I use a smartphone, and the phone is smartest when used correctly. Using a tool like Google Calendar, it can remind you of all the stuff you need to do, and I'm not good at remembering those things on my own. I’m not a smartperson, except I know to use my smartphone smartly, so maybe I am a smartperson!

So let’s say I'm at a friend’s house and get a call or email asking if I can do a gig three Wednesdays from now. I have all of my gigs in Google Calendar. All of them. With as much detail as possible.

When I create the calendar entry I make sure I do a few things:

Date/Time

Besides the obvious date of gig, I put the time – more specifically, the time I need to arrive. In the notes field, I'll list the details: load in, soundcheck, gig time, specific gear I may need to bring, specific sheet music, etc., as well as details from the organizer or bandleader: "You can park in back and load through the service entrance," "Meal included," "Please wear pants,” etc. You get the idea.

Keywords

Use the same keyword in the title for all shows. I use “gig.” This is great for several reasons. First, I know my gig schedule for next two months by just searching the word “gig,” so I know what music to work on, etc. Or say it's tax time. Okay, let's make sure I recorded all of my gig money, plus any expenses related to gigs. Boom. A list of all the gigs you've done. You're rewriting your bio – who did you play with this year? Ah, right…

Location

Add the exact address or Google Maps-recognized name in the location field. Google Now is incredible. I'm sitting on my couch watching Three’s Company reruns and I get a notification. "You need to leave in 30 minutes to reach your destination for ‘Jazz gig with special guest.’” Whoa – I've completely forgotten about a gig. My phone just said if you don't get your butt off the couch, dressed, packed, and on the road in 30 minutes, you're ruining your reputation. Day saved because Google Now will use the addresses in your Calendar entries to calculate the time it takes to get there, assumes you're not a smartperson, and reminds you. Seriously awesome.

Reminders

I add a default reminder in my Google Calendar settings both 24 hours and 45 minutes ahead – 45 minutes for the above "I totally forgot" scenario and 24 hours for the "I have a gig tomorrow night?!" scenario. If you were supposed to learn tunes, pick up your tux, and shave your back before the gig, this just saved your hairless back.

Invites

Have a special someone in your life? Are they tired of you saying, "Oh, I didn't tell you about the gig? Yeah, I'm outta town for a few days. Umm, good luck with the kids..." Invite your better half on all of your calendar items to avoid awkward last-minute conversations. Or, if you're a band-leader, add your bandmates. Or, if you have a day job with a work email address, invite your work self so you're always in the know.

You may think you're not busy enough to need to put your schedule into Google Calendar, but that's the point – it reminds you if you're not playing daily. And of course, to answer the original question, yes! You CAN do that gig three Wednesdays from now because in two minutes, you were able to check your schedule and respond, instead of not knowing, having to check your paper calendar when you get home, forgetting to check, forgetting to respond, and losing a gig because the person got tired of waiting. Do that enough times and you'll be second on the call list next time, or worse.

Bottom line, if you don't have a Google account, do yourself a favour – go get one. If you already have one, stop playing Flappy Bird, try out some of the techniques above, and make it part of your routine.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Google for Musicians - Pt 1 : Contacts & Calendar

I have a house.  In my house I have a music room.  In that music room I have a desk/shelf/computer, etc.  And in and/or on all of those items are books, sheet music, CDs, calendars, receipts, invoices, tax documents, bios, headshots, setlists, gig pics, Facebook pages, websites, plans, history, dreams, failures, successes, etc, etc,  And in that music room I have instruments that I play privately and professionally.  I have a career; however, large or small, in music.  That career is not limited to the instrument I play, the notes I choose, the styles I enjoy, or the gigs I get.  That career has a thousand tiny pieces that make up who I am as a musician - which translates to who I am as a professional:  which translates to this: when someone hires me .. who are they getting?

Now... let's set a few separate hypothetical scenes.  Let's consider:
  1. I'm trying to sell some gear and I want to target a specific group of local musicians, that aren't all on Facebook!  
  2. I'm at a friends house and get a call or email asking if I can do a gig three Wednesdays from now.
  3. It's tax time... what gigs did I play this year?  and what music related items did I buy this year?
  4. I'm a band-leader on a high paying corporate gig 60 kilometres away from my house with an 8 piece band.  The contractor comes over to meet the group and after chatting says in front of everyone "So I never did get an invoice from you so we weren't able to cut the cheque this week.  If you have one with you we can try to get it done on Monday, but cheques aren't usually done until Thursdays".
  5. I'm on vacation and have an upcoming show, the organizer calls and says "We have a deadline tomorrow for advertising in the local paper, if we can get a 250 word bio and a high-res photo today we can include your act in the promo."
  6. I'm stuck in traffic, and I want to listen to new music my cover band is playing.
  7. I'm playing in the same venue for the 4th time this year.  My amp sound last time was great.  This time it's not cutting it. 
  8. I'm at a gig, and I've forgotten my well planned out setlist on my desk.
  9. I have a lesson tomorrow and I need to remember to bring a method book before heading to work in the morning. 
  10. All of my gear has been stolen.  
Ok, as well as being a professional musician I'm also an IT guy, so maybe it's second nature but I really like to use technology where possible and be as lazy as possible when it comes to organization.  Because...like so many musicians..I wasn't blessed with the best natural organization skills. 

I'm also an avid Google user.  They do it right.  They give the user some pretty incredible FREE tools that allow a user to make so many different parts of their life/career/hobby/etc easier.  In talking to many colleagues, friends, family, etc I find it is an incredibly underused service.  <Insert Boggle into Brain Here>. 

Like most people these days I use a smartphone.  And seriously..the phone is smart if used correctly and will remind you of all the stuff you need to do, I'm not good at remembering those things on my own.  i.e I'm not a Smartperson. ( Except for the part where I use my phone smartly.  Ok ..so I'm a Smartperson! yay! )

Here are my favourite tools and in an N-Part series (that's mathematics talk for "however many") I'll talk about how how I use each one to resolve the items above.  
Let's tackle the two easiest scenarios above - solved by Google Contacts and Google Calendar.

I'm trying to sell some gear and I want to target a specific group of local musicians, that aren't all on Facebook!  

Contacts are an oft overlooked feature of any smartphone or Gmail account.  Ever see someone post on Facebook "Got a new phone...lost my old one, along with contacts.  Text me your number so I can add you".   I always simultaneously chuckle and shake my head.  Yeah because allll of your previously saved contacts are going to immediately text you all the details you had previously saved.
Google Contacts....Gooooooooogle Connnnnntacts.  You add a Google account to your phone...when someone texts you, you choose "Add to Contacts..." and use the Google account, don't save on the phone.   When you switch or lose your phone, you add your Google account back and you have all of your contacts again like nothing changed.

Besides the obvious single contact usage, groups are another overlooked feature.   Over the years I've made a lot of connections with musicians, specifically bassists.  I had an amp I was trying to sell and I put it on Kijiji, I put it on Ebay, I put it on Facebook.  No bites.  Then I decided to try some direct marketing: Email every bassist I know.  Ok.. compose new email...perfect..write my perfect sales pitch...great..now who am I sending it to?  Ok..I've got 645 contacts... lets go through each entry and remember who is a bassist.  No way man.  I don't have an hour to sort through contacts.  No time for this, I want to play bass.  So I use Google Contacts and contact Groups that I've spent tiny bits of time over the years compiling and maintaining.

Here is my bassists group:



Then I go to Gmail and compose new email, and start typing "Bassists" in the to: field like this:


All N-number of Bassists I've added to that group will get an email.  Lucky them!  I also use this for questions as well "Hey fellow bassists.. does anyone have recommendations for a local luthier to fix my cracked headstock?", etc, etc.  Facebook is great for this too, but sometimes an old-fashioned electronic email direct from circa 1994-style can really do the trick.

btw..I sold that amp through email.

Next.........

I'm at a friends house and get a call or email asking if I can do a gig three Wednesdays from now.  

I have all of my gigs in Google Calendar.  All of them.  With as much detail needed as possible. 



Here is a sample Calendar entry:


When I create the calendar entry I make sure I do a few things. 
  1. Date/Time: Besides the obvious date of gig, I put the time: more specifically, the time I need to arrive.  In the notes field I'll list the details: load in, soundcheck, gig time, specific gear I may need to bring, specific sheet music, etc.  Also things like: details from the organizer or band-leader "You can park in back and load through the service entrance",  "please wear suit and tie", "meal included", "meal not included, don't arrive hangry", "please wear pants", etc, etc. You get the idea.
  2. Keyword: use the same keyword in the title for all shows.  I use gig  .  If you look at my list above, you'll notice every entry has gig in the title.  This is great for several reasons. 1) What is my gig schedule for next two months, so I know what music to work on, etc .. go to Google Calendar and search the word gig. Boom.. a list.  2) It's tax time.. ok let's make sure I recorded all of my gig money, plus any expenses related to gigs..boom..a list of all gigs you've done. 3) You're rewriting your bio... Who did I play with this year? ..boom..a list..
  3. Location: Add the exact address or Google Maps recognized name in the location field.   Google Now is incredible.  I'm sitting on my couch watching Threes Company reruns and I get a notification.  "You need to leave in 30 mins to reach your destination for "Jazz gig with special guest".  OMG I've completely forgotten about a gig.. my phone just said if you don't get your butt off the couch, dressed, packed and on the road in 30 mins, you're ruining your reputation. Day saved because Google Now will use the addresses in your Calendar entries to calculate time it takes to get there and assumes you're not a Smartperson and reminds you.  Seriously ...awesome.
  4. Reminders : I add a default reminder in my Google calendar settings.  45 mins, and 24 hours.  45 mins for the above "I totally forgot" scenario and 24 hours for the "I have a GIG tomorrow night?????"  scenario.  If you were supposed to learn tunes, pick up your tux, shave your back, before the gig tomorrow, this just saved your hairless back.
  5. Invites: Have a special someone in your life?  Are they tired of you saying "oh.. I didn't tell you about the gig? yeah... I'm outta town for a few days..um...good luck with the kids. oh btw it's a full moon tomorrow".  Invite your better half on all of your calendar invites to save last minute awkward conversations.  Or.. if you're a band-leader - add your bandmates.  Or..if you have a day-job with a work email address, invite your work email so you're always in the know. 
You may think you're not busy enough to need to put your schedule in your Calendar.  But that's the point.. it reminds you if you're not playing daily.  And of course to answer that question.. Yes..you CAN do that gig three Wednesdays from now because you were able to check within 2 minutes and know your schedule and get back to the person.  Instead of not knowing, having to check your paper calendar when you get home. Forgetting to check.  Forgetting to respond.  Losing a gig because the person got tired of waiting.  Do that enough times and you'll be 2nd on the call list next time. Or worse.

Ok, enough for now... if you don't have a Google account..do yourself a favour..go get one. www.gmail.com.  If you already have one, stop playing Flappy Bird, and go try out some of the techniques above, make it part of your daily routine.

Next time I'm going to talk about Google Drive.   This service saves my hide more times in a day than you can imagine.


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Note-Well - Mastering the Fingerboard

if you are still struggling with the fretboard and names of notes it can be pretty daunting to try to apply concepts that you learn, especially in real time, say in a jam.  If someone is calling chords out, or you're looking at a chord chart it's just simply frustrating if you don't know the names of the notes you're playing. It can feel like you're playing blind.  

A good portion of us have 4 strings, with 21 frets... that's 84 different notes to learn.  Again..it can be daunting.  Yes there are only 12 notes, and they repeat, but if we want to be fretboard masters, we really need to know all 84 notes, more if you're a 5, 6 string player.  

... I watched an Anthony Wellington master-class video on Scotts Bass Lessons.. he jokes about running into a student and saying "15th fret, A string" and that student has to know it's C .. but..he's serious.. it's your vocabulary.. no.. your alphabet and if you're denying yourself that, again you'll find frustration trying to follow a lead sheet and know where to put your fingers .. "you'll see the chord is AbMaj7 .. you'll know the notes are Ab C Eb G .. but .. where are those notes on the fretboard? How can you play it anywhere and groove, and and be musical, and interesting, and have a bass face that doesn't look like you're screaming "HELLLLP MEEEE" on the inside :P  

Other than saying "ya just gotta learn it" ( which maybe works for some) there has to be an easier way right?  ( insert cheesy late night infomercial voice here ) .. "  Whyyyyy yes there is!!! Call now to buy the Note Well, if you call in the next 10 minutes we'll throw in a new pick and a half of a ham sandwich. " 

Ahem.. but seriously... I used to use this terribly cheesy thing with younger students that has worked well in the past... the description is a bit cheesy but the concept works, and it's essentially what Anthony is talking about.. I call it the Note-Well ... it's  the place where you keep all the names of the notes on the fretboard, for later retrieval.  

so.. if you start out and completely fill your note-well with every possible note and then try to retrieve one at a later date it'll be tough.. it's too many notes to keep track of too soon.  

So start with literally just one note ( you probably already have more than one ) .. but .. just one note on one string.. say... 8th fret on A .. it's an F. Great... now.. put that note in your note-well ( this is where I'd make the motion of taking the note off the bass and inserting it into my head by squishing it in forcefully... kids dig it.. teenagers just think you're weird ... adults start scanning for the nearest exit ) and don't forget it..

Now same as Anthony says..if I walk up to you on the street and say where is an F on the A string.. BAM.. you know where it is.. easy to remember...one note.  Success.  

Then..start adding notes one by one.. here and there... great you have say 4-5 notes.. cool... now.. if I said where is an F# on the A string.. Bam.. it's easy because you already remember where F is.. you just need to go up one fret... and now because F is in your Note-well the recall time is much faster... and chances are you barely thought about the F, you just went for the F#.  

until eventually.. you fill your-note well in an organized fashion...and you know where everything is ( in relation to everything else ) .. because you took the time, one by one. 

Then on your next Jam you're presented with a lovely AbMaj7 chord and all of a sudden you're an AbMaj7 fretboard monster, grooving like mad.  

Friday, January 9, 2015

Bass Bits: Sweet Child O' Mine by Guns & Roses

Sweet Child O' Mine ...  yes Slash's guitar intro is universally recognizable but Duff McKagan's bass intro is just as recognizable in the bass world and arguably a rite of passage for any rock bassist. 

It has melody.. higher register playing.. and that sweet chorus + Fender tone. 

Enjoy


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Bass Bits: Come On, Come Over

Here is the opening riff for Come On, Come Over by Jaco Pastorius & Bob Herzog, found on Jaco's first album.


Keep those left hand fingers close to the fingerboard and do it as efficiently as possible.  Keep it tight, keep it groovy.  

Make sure to channel your inner Jaco with your right hand. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Jaco the Film

So.. we all love Jaco right?   I'm sure most of us have been influenced, affected, inspired, blown away, or at the very least moderately moved by his music...   As I'm sure most of you know there is a film.. Jaco the Film due to be released this spring... Robert Trujillo, the bassist from Metallica, has primarily funded it out of pocket... and now he's looking for some help with pre-orders and other goodies... 

Let's face it... the DVD itself it's going to be a great addition to your collection ..  :)   Heck.... give someone the hint saying you want it for Christmas!! 

If you want to help out .. you can go pre-order the DVD or other goodies ( you can even buy a bass of doom replica used in the film, or skype bass lessons from Jerry Jemmott, Robert Trujillo, and Jaco's son Felix Pastorius.... cool ) .. 

here's the link.. 


If you can't buy anything you can help out by just spreading the word... share the above link.. go to my facebook and share from there.. or Twitter.. 

you can find links on my facebook https://www.facebook.com/BassPlayerMobile and twitter https://twitter.com/bassplayermobi