Concept Lesson EP 008 Bossa Nova

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    Yeey! My ukulele family has expanded with a Kala bass that I found 2nd hand on Market Place. Yippiiii so much fun. I’m practicing the Bossa Nova right now.
    Stephen: How do I mute the open (rubber) strings after playing them so they don’t keep humming?
    Andrew: nice interesting three note voicings. Would be nice to learn more like these.
    Opposite problem then with the bass; the sustain of my ukuleles aren’t long as as in your recording. They fade faster but if I play a tiny bit faster there is still sound left when I slide from one note to the other.
    For those who are also interested in this song, you don’t play the G string at all so it works for either low and high G ukulele.

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    Congratulations on the bass ukulele! As far as the longer sustain, my U-Bass has the metal round wound strings. These strings have longer sustain due to being metal. As far as muting, you can rest your right hand thumb on the E string to keep it from ringing when playing the other strings, and you can use the fretting hand fingers not currently playing to mute as you go as well. It takes some getting used to, but just being conscious of it helps. Great questions!


    Thanks Stephen, I’ll try that.


    Hey Stephen,

    I have no clue if I am holding the bass right. I used a strap because the bass kept slipping away and I see in you vids that you are sitting right leg over left to support, but I got cramped sitting too long in this position.
    Further am I holding the right hand in the right position?
    Is is not too far up the fretboard?
    I sort of play with index and middle finger in the right hand.
    Like I learned from Andrew in picado technique.
    Is that correct for bass?
    Is the thumb also included or is that only when you slap?

    I practiced unamplified and was a bit shocked after I put in an amp.
    So much humming! Thanks for the tip to mute the E string with the thumb.
    I thought playing bass would be easier, just single notes and not too many
    but you are very busy muting the notes after playing them.
    It would be nice to have a lesson on basic technique.
    Is the sustain of an ukebass (bassuki) longer then a double or electric?
    Can I apply any exercise for electric bass?

    Also I had to really become very Zen and disciplined to play in timing
    and I am a very jumpy person.
    I now understand why bass players are generally calm modest people (except for Davie504) and friendly and supportive. Not so much applause as the singers or soloists but they oh so important.
    I send this message here so other bassuki enthousiasts can read along.
    It would be nice to have the answers to the questions because I want to start practicing your Jazz Blues.
    Thank you 🙂


    Hi Gina,

    That’s a lot of stuff to cover. I almost feel like a Skype lesson would be an easier way to cover every topic you mentioned! I have some basic tutorials on this playlist.
    The short answer to right hand technique is: there are many styles of playing! Picado is fairly close to the normal plucking technique on bass, so this is certainly valid! As far as using the thumb: I like to mute with my right hand palm and pluck with the thumb at times for a more muted sound. Also, if muting is frustrating for you, Gruv Gear makes something called a fret wrap that might help you with this! Then for where you are plucking: It’s fine to pluck by the neck, but many players like to play closer to the bridge. Where you pluck has two main effects on playing: Tone and string tension. For tone, you get a brighter tone closer to the bridge, and a warmer tone closer to the neck. For string tension: Closer to the bridge there is more tension, which makes it easier to play faster. Closer to the neck is great for slower songs that require a warmer tone. I hope this helps!


    Thanks Stephen that helps a lot!
    I will experiment with tone and position to not butcher your nice Jazz Blues. 🙂

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