SPEED IS GOOD! HOW ABOUT INTONATION?

HA HA HA! I understand you want to play as fast as Jeff Berlin, Victor Wooten, Jaco Pastorius, Richard Bona and all other Gurus out there. I totally understand that you admire the way they play and I also respect your passion and feel about what you want to do but one thing you need to understand is that this guys have spent so much time to perfect every thing you see or hear them play on the bass.

Sometimes it might take the 1000-time principle for perfection, I meant practicing one particular thing over and over again for a thousand time, I know that sounds ridiculous but sometimes it is the price that is needed to pay in order to be able to perfect that particular passage, pieces, phrases, motifs, scales, chords, or any other thing you want to get better at.

On the other hand, I have seen several bass players who do not really articulate their notes why playing. They speed up but nothing can be picked out from the note been played, it sounds muffled and unclean. This is what happens when you are speed oriented instead of paying attention to intonation and then gradually picking up on speed.

Using a metronome can help to keep tabs on your speed practice. Meaning that it will help you know how many beats per minute (bpm) you can play. For example, you where able to play your chromatic scale as fast as 60 bpm during one of your practice session, you noted it and the next practice session, you increased it to 61 bpm or 62 bpm. That’s exactly what I meant by keeping tab. You might not notice too much difference in speed when you increase by 1bpm or 2bpm but this is the discipline required in other to have a clean and steady intonation and speed. Don’t increase the beat from 60bpm to 80bpm because you think you can crush it, not a good idea, your hand or muscle memory will not be learning anything at this point, and this is exactly what usually leads to inarticulate, muffled or indistinct note when trying to play fast.

Play one note, let it resonate, pay attention to the sound quality, hear how beautiful it sounds, then play the next note and do the same. Try any scale at this point while you reading this article, if you have your instrument with you and observe the instructions mentioned above. Let me know if you notice any change in the comment below 🙂

This is a random example, it might not apply to your level of expertise but i’m sure you understand and can pick out one or two useful points from this article.

Please leave a comment below if you enjoy reading this short article!

Don’t get kicked outta pocket.

Mike’s Bass Lessons

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