<![CDATA[St. Louis Scot - Insight]]>Mon, 04 Jan 2016 06:10:57 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[When To Blend. When To Be Bold.]]>Tue, 20 Oct 2015 18:46:57 GMThttp://stlscot.weebly.com/insight/when-to-blend-when-to-be-boldWhen I blend a bass line I choose notes that serve the music, without being overt or noticeable. It’s akin to the hidden beams in the structure of a modern home — you don’t see them, but if they weren’t there, the home would collapse.

Now a bold groove on the other hand, has a much more obvious role in a tune. It’s more akin to the exposed beams of an old colonial house. They also serve to hold up the roof, but they’re obvious as well as ornamental; they’re a major part of the aesthetics.

Bass grooves that blend and bass grooves that are bold both have their proper place in music, and both are equally respected when they’re used appropriately.

  • Blending grooves: I use a blending groove when I'm playing a supportive role in a song, when I'm staying out of the way of the vocals or a melody, or even when I'm just not all that familiar with the particular song (or musicians I'm playing with). I typically achieved this by establishing the root note, and playing subsequent "follow up" notes below the root. Of course there is more to it than this, but it's an excellent start.

    Listen to the song Soul Man (see video below.) Donald "Duck" Dunn plays a perfectly complex yet unobtrusive groove. It blends so well that it’s kind of difficult to imagine what the song would sound like without it.

  • Bold grooves: Now playing a bold groove thrusts you into a leadership position; suddenly I'm leading the song, and the bass part has a much more authoritative and unyielding quality. This means, of course, that I have to be very familiar with the song. There is a lot to establishing a dominant supporting bass line. But a great way to start is to establish the root, and play melodic "follow up" notes above the root, possibly even a full octave higher.

    The Beatles’ Come Together (see video below) is a perfect example of a bass line that really sticks out, creating a secondary melody to the song. Albeit perfect, it doesn’t actually blend in at all. While the bass line for Soul Man is difficult to imagine the song without, the bass line to Come Together cannot be separated from the song. It's the hook that holds the entire song together.

Example of a Blended Groove.

Example of a Bold Groove.

<![CDATA[100% Of What You Don't Try]]>Mon, 28 Sep 2015 15:54:39 GMThttp://stlscot.weebly.com/insight/september-28th-2015For 27 years, off and on I've played with this cat from Houston. He often says "You get 100% of what you don't ask for." Oh the grammar makes me cringe. However, his point is valid; you can't have what you don't actively seek. You only fail when you fail to try, right?!

For the longest time I've wanted to hang up my bass guitar and dive head first into upright bass. But, as with all new endeavors, you guessed it, I'm scared. Scared I'll fail. Scared I can't do it. Scared I'll never play another gig. Scared I'm too old to try new things.

For now I'll continue to improve my bass guitar skills, shop unashamedly for upright basses I have no current intent on purchasing, and watching videos like these. Zoltan Dekany tearing it up!
<![CDATA[Protect Your Hearing]]>Thu, 17 Sep 2015 21:50:45 GMThttp://stlscot.weebly.com/insight/protect-your-hearingThis is a pretty important topic to me lately. I play pretty regularly with a blues power trio and a party band. After most gigs my ears ring loudly for about another 12 hours. I have a real concern that one day the ringing will be permanent, also known as tinnitus.

My awesome and well-meaning son gave me some rather nice earplugs for Father's Day. I've tried to use them, but unfortunately they work too well. The way we play I need to hear the lead guitar to know what we're playing next because we don't stick to a set list. Instead we feel out the crowd and play toward their reactions, what's getting them dancing. So I've not been using hearing protection.

There are more expensive models that are molded specifically for your own ears and crafted to lower the volume but allow all frequencies. While that would be ideal, I would need to work about 8 or 10 well-paying gigs to afford them. Yikes! I'm currently considering in-ear monitors as an alternative. But for now, I don't have a working solution. I may just have to suck it up and use the ones my wonderful son bought me.

Scott Devine of scottsbasslessons.com addressed this topic on his website. Check out the video below. In this video Scott mentions that he sometimes wears a plug in just one ear, closest to the drummer. I may need to try that this weekend!
<![CDATA[It's Impossible to Sing and Play the Bass]]>Tue, 08 Sep 2015 17:04:07 GMThttp://stlscot.weebly.com/insight/its-impossible-to-sing-and-play-the-bassFrom The Bass Lesson by the unbelievable talent of Jay Leonhart. Enjoy.

<![CDATA[Applying Scales and Arpeggios]]>Fri, 04 Sep 2015 16:23:11 GMThttp://stlscot.weebly.com/insight/applying-scales-and-arpeggios"Simply learning to play scales up and down the neck, back to front, standing on your head (if you really want to!), unfortunately doesn't mean you're going to be able to make music real from them.

Well, this is where studying vocabulary comes into play.

You should be learning other bassist's bass lines, solos and grooves - then, (and this is the important bit!) learning which arpeggio or scale they are related to. This gives you instant insight into how other players are using arpeggios and scales to make real music.

You've heard that transcription is important? Well, this is why.

We should be constantly studying how other players are using vocabulary within there playing - and actively absorbing that vocabulary into own own.

Ultimately, this is what will give you your own sound in the future."

--Scott Devine, founder of scottsbasslessons.com

<![CDATA[July 28th, 2015]]>Tue, 28 Jul 2015 18:44:35 GMThttp://stlscot.weebly.com/insight/july-28th-2015For the best time you can have on a Wednesday night come out and invade the Dizzy Rooster at 9pm at 306 E 6th St in downtown Austin. Public Disturbance will crash the stage with dizzying sets of Rock and R&B, all your favorites and all your requests.
<![CDATA[Allen Woody on Funk Bass Styles]]>Thu, 21 May 2015 14:46:48 GMThttp://stlscot.weebly.com/insight/allen-woody-on-funk-bass-stylesYou all know my story: I've been playing music for 41 years and bass specifically for 31. I began taking bass very seriously about 3 or 4 years ago and am humbled at how much God has blessed my playing, which is why I give it back to Him with the worship team at Calvary Austin being my #1 gig. Everything else is a side gig.

But even with all the work I've put into being an in-demand player, funk and modern-gospel are still a struggle for me. I'm always looking for new technique while learning the classics like Tower of Power, Graham Central Station, Prince, etc.

In this video, Allen Woody of the Allman Bros Band spends some time discussing and demonstrating his funk technique with a pick and ring finger. This is really different, and I like his sound. Give it a watch. The "funk section" begins at 23:45. Enjoy.

<![CDATA[Two-A-Day (or Slow And Steady Wins The Race)]]>Tue, 05 May 2015 12:41:53 GMThttp://stlscot.weebly.com/insight/two-a-day-or-slow-and-steady-wins-the-raceLast night I learned (completely) the first two songs on the list below this post. This morning I played them again to recharge my mind and remember the nuances. Tonight I'll play them again, then learn the next two. Tomorrow morning I'll play all four. That night I'll play them again, learn the next two, and so on... The goal is to have learned 50 new songs by the end of May. Hard work never hurt anyone, eh?

Now some of these I already know. But part of the goal is not just song knowledge, but mastery. That's going to require more than just memorizing notes, which is all my lazy butt usually musters.  But to be more than just another human jukebox requires that I analyze and understand each bass line; why did Duck Dunn use hesitation notes; does this chromatic piece make it funky; etc?

Ha! Wish me luck. Wait! No! Break-a-leg would be best.


  1. The Midnight Hour by Wilson Pickett
  2. Brown Sugar by The Rolling Stones
  3. Proud Mary by CCR
  4. Jumping Jack Flash by The Rolling Stones
  5. Superstition by Stevie Wonder
  6. Play That Funky Music by Wild Cherry
  7. I Feel Good by James Brown
  8. Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton
  9. Respect by Aretha Franklin
  10. Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd
  11. Sultans Of Swing by Dire Straits
  12. La Grange by ZZ Top
  13. We Are Young by Fun
  14. Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison
  15. Johnny B Goode by Chuck Berry
  16. Who’ll Stop The Rain by Creedence Clearwater Revival
  17. September by Earth Wind And Fire
  18. Good Times by Chic
  19. Gimme Some Loving by The Blues Brothers
  20. Twist And Shout by The Beatles
  21. Pride And Joy by Stevie Ray Vaughan
  22. Mustang Sally by The Commitments
  23. Get It On by T Rex
  24. I Wish by Stevie Wonder
  25. Long Train Running by The Doobie Brothers
  26. Little Wing by Jimi Hendrix
  27. Satisfaction by The Rolling Stones
  28. I Saw Her Standing There by The Beatles
  29. Summer of 69 by Bryan Adams
  30. Lost In Music by Sister Sledge
  31. Soul Man by Sam And Dave
  32. Suspicious Minds by Elvis
  33. Back in The USSR by The Beatles
  34. Carwash by Rose Royce
  35. Le Freak by Chic
  36. Billie Jean by Michael Jackson
  37. Honky Tonk Woman by The rolling Stones
  38. Forget You by Ceelo Green
  39. Maria Maria by Santana
  40. Locked Out Of Heaven by Bruno Mars
  41. Let’s Stick Together by Roxy Music
  42. Stuck In The Middle With You by Stealers Wheel
  43. Brick House by The Commodores
  44. Great Balls Of Fire by Jerry lee Lewis
  45. The Power of Love by Huey Lewis And The News
  46. Pretty Woman by Roy Orbison
  47. Lady Marmalade by Labelle
  48. Bad Moon Rising by Creedence Clearwater Revival
  49. Mr Brightside by The Killers
  50. Everybody Needs Somebody by The Blues Brothers
<![CDATA[Mike Porcaro dies at age 59]]>Mon, 16 Mar 2015 15:31:06 GMThttp://stlscot.weebly.com/insight/mike-porcara-dies-at-age-59
Toto bassist Mike Porcaro passed away last night after a 7+ year battle with ALS. RIP, Mike. Thanks for ALL that great music and live jams.

Porcara also worked with Boz Skaggs, Seals and Croft, Joe Walsh and many others.

<![CDATA[Ampeg SCR DI = Need!]]>Fri, 06 Mar 2015 05:36:16 GMThttp://stlscot.weebly.com/insight/ampeg-scr-di-needThe new Ampeg SCR DI , due to release this month is not a matter of want or G.A.S.  Total need. I can see two applications for worship at Calvary, as well as three or four for the cover band. Even as a small practice rig it'd be really useful. This is definately going to the top of the aquisition list.