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487: Bernard Gallone on left handed bass playing

When Moulin Rogue bandleader and bassist Bernard Gallone reached out to me about doing an episode on the unique challenges of being a left-handed bassist, I was intrigued. I am also a left-handed bassist, though like many other left-handed people, I was taught to play in the traditional, “right-handed” way. Bernard plays the bass left-handed, with his right hand doing the fingering and his left hand plucking the strings. He keeps the string order the same, so his G string is on the same...


486: James Ham on double bass innovations

James Ham is a legend in the double bass luthier world. After a multifaceted background that landed him in Victoria, British Columbia, James Ham created a series of revolutionary designs for the double bass. His first instrument was commissioned by Gary Karr after a deep analysis of the various positive and not-so-positive traits of the Karr-Koussevitzky bass, Jim created a marvelous instrument on which Gary Karr still plays. In fact, Gary will only perform somewhere these days if...


485: Haruki Gonai on competitions

Fellow International Society of Bassists board member Marcel Villaflor suggested that I get in touch with high school junior Haruki Gonai about winning the Yonkers Philharmonic Concerto Competition. Haruki is the first bassist ever to win this competition! Haruki will be performing the Koussevitzky Concerto on Sunday May 20th, 2018 at 3:00 PM at Saunders Trades and Technical High School. The ISB has also arranged for Haruki to perform the Koussevitzky Concerto on the Karr-Koussevitzky...


484: Sperger Competition details with Christine Hoock

The Johann Matthias Sperger Competition is being held from 22 to 29 July 2018 in Ludwigslust / Germany. This competition is open to all double bass players with an age limit of 35. Applications are required to submit audio links. Deadline for applications: June 1st, 2018. Invitations and compulsory piece will be sent till June 15. The final round will be played with the Orchetra of Staatskappelle Schwerin. Prize winners of Sperger Competition will have the opportunity of playing solo...


483: Gael McKeon on his luthier journey

Gael McKeon saved my bacon in 2017 on the way to a gig. I was headed out the door to rehearsal when I heard a worrisome wooden banging sound from my bass—never a good sign! Opening up the case, I discovered to my horror that my tailpiece had cracked apart. My soundpost was rolling around the bottom of my bass, and my bridge and strings were splayed all over the place. In a panic (I only have one bass!), I called Gael, and he had me in his shop and all set up with a new tailpiece in...


482: Charley Sabatino on the power of theory

Charley Sabatino is on a mission to re-vamp the way people teach music theory. There’s a lot of wariness and confusion around music theory for many players, and it often comes down to the way it’s taught. That’s not all that Charley is up to these days, however. He’s a man in constant motion: composing new music, teaching clinics on improvisation, and working with the next generation of players on the art, science, and business of music. We dig into all kinds of topics today, like...


481: Ole Wilson on pickups

Ole Wilson is the CEO of Wilson Pickup Systems, which have been making the signature Wilson Pickup for double bass for over 34 years. Wilson provided the first commercially available piezo pickup systems for the double bass back in the 1980s, and it has been used by artists like George Mraz, Gary Peacock, and John Patitucci. We dig into the history of the pickup, how the company has branded out into other string instruments, how the pickup is installed, and more in this special...


480: Yoshi Horiguchi on George Vance

Yoshi Horiguchi is a Baltimore -based double bassist and educator as well as a faculty member of Maryland’s thriving Bass Works program. In the fall of 2017, Yoshi got in touch with me about putting his analysis of George Vance’s Progressive Repertoire Book 1 online. We got it up on the blog, and it has proven to be a popular resource for bassists worldwide. In this analysis, Yoshi interviewed Nicholas Walker, Tracy Rowell, Johnny Hamil, and Martha Vance about the pedagogy of...


479 : Dominic Duval Jr.

As the son of Dominic Duval Sr. (Cecil Taylor’s bassist for a decade), Dominic Duval Jr. grew up immersed in the world of avant-garde jazz. Dominic attended the Eastman School of Music, working with James VanDemark and Jeff Campbell. He has performed at venues like Carnegie Hall, Avery Fischer Hall, and many New York jazz clubs. The classmate of former podcast guests Danny Ziemann and Eric Steffens, Dominic and I dig into all kinds of topics, like: …and much more! Be sure to...


478: Cielito de Jesus

It was a pleasure to connect with Cielito de Jesus and chat about the vibrant double bass educational scene she has built in Southern California! As the founder of the Rabbath Institute Los Angeles, Cielito has dedicated her career to teaching Vance-Rabbath pedagogy to middle and high school students throughout the Los Angeles area. She works with over 60 bassists each week. Cielito has worked with many of the world’s great bass teachers, including past podcast guests François Rabbath, ...


477: Christian McBride

What a pleasure to chat with Christian McBride for the podcast! Christian just won his sixth Grammy for the Christian McBride Big Band’s new album Bringin' It, and he has a course available titled Fundamentals of Jazz Bass and Beyond. Christian and I dig into all kinds of topics (including many suggestions from podcast listeners!), like: Benedict PuglisiThe Moth …and much more! Listen to Contrabass Conversations with our free app for iOS, Android, and Kindle! Contrabass...


476: Chris West on thumb position

Former Guildhall Strings solo double bassist Chris West has built a tremendous resource for learning thumb position, and he’s finally unleashed it upon the world. Titled Reaching the Heights - Thumb Position on the Double Bass, it’s chock full of useful exercises and pieces that will have you navigating the upper reaches fo the fingerboard in no time. Chris and I dig into all kinds of cool concepts in this conversation, including the myelination process detailed in Daniel Coyle’s...


475: The Bass Player's Guide to the Trio

When I heard that Danny Ziemann was filming courses for Discover Double Bass, I couldn’t wait to sit down with Danny and Discover Double Bass founder Geoff Chalmers to learn more details about the project. Both Danny and Geoff are past podcast guests, and they happen to be two of my favorite people in the bass world. This new course is called The Bass Player’s Guide to the Trio. It’s set to launch on April 24th, and you will be able to pick it up at Learn more...


474: Dan Carson on auditioning and taking a leap

Dan Carson is the latest member of the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s bass section. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Dan for over a decade. He grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and worked with Andy Anderson and a few other teachers (including me!) during high school. Dan attended Indiana University and won principal bass of the Alabama Symphony during his junior year. After a few years, he decided to return to Indiana University to finish his undergraduate degree. He opted to not return to...


473: Jacqueline Pickett on a well-rounded education

Dr. Jacqueline Pickett has built a remarkable career as a double bass performer, educator, and community activist. From managing nonprofits to launching programs in the public schools, Jacqueline has been a major force for good in the double bass world. She teaches bass at Columbus State University in Columbus, Georgia as well as serving as principal bass for the Columbus Symphony. We dig deep into all sorts of interesting topics, like: Lauren Pierce …and much more! Listen to...


472: Colin Corner Recital

I had the good pleasure of spending time with Oregon Symphony and Grant Park Symphony principal bassist Colin Corner recently. We did a deep-dive interview on auditioning, being a principal string player, and much more. Colin and I also talked about getting some recent playing of his up on the podcast, and he shared this recital from the 2017 Pittsburgh Double Bass Symposium. You’ll hear the following pieces on this episode: Romanze by Richard Strauss Anderson Sonata No. 2 Weinberg...


471: Choosing Strings - What's Right for You?

Today’s episode is a deep-dive into double bass strings. We take a look at D’Addario’s Kaplan, Zyex, and Helicore strings and learn more about how these strings play, feel, and sound. You’ll hear perspectives on strings from the following D’Addario Orchestral Artists: Alexis CuadradoAndres Martin Barry Green Claus Freudenstein Daniel Kimbro Danny Ziemann David Allen Moore Jory Herman Kieran Hanlon We’re also joined by D’Addario Orchestral Strings Product Manager Lyris Hung as and...


470: Dan Chmielinski on Jazz at Juilliard

I’ve known Dan Chmielinski for over a decade, and it has been a real pleasure watching his career unfold. Dan grew up in metro Chicago, and I had the privilege of being his bass teacher through middle and high school. Dan started playing bass at age 3 with Virginia Dixon, and he has one of the most natural and fluid approaches to the bass that I’ve ever seen. After high school, Dan attended Juilliard for for his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, whee he studied with Ron Carter. Dan...


469: Pascale Delache-Feldman on French traditions

Pascale Delache-Feldman has been a frequently requested podcast guest, and it was such a pleasure to get a chance to connect with her! Pascale enjoys a multifaceted career as a soloist, chamber and orchestral musician, and teacher. She is the founder of the Boston Bass Bash and is co-founder of the co-founder of Duo Cello e Basso (formerly the Axiom Duo) with cellist Emmanuel Feldman. She also teaches at Bard College, New England Conservatory, Tufts University, and Brown...


468: Melody Chia on careers, marketing, and Australia

I was first introduced to Melody Chia by our mutual friend Lauren Pierce. Melody is located in Melbourne, Australia, and in addition to being an excellent bassist, she has worked for many years in marketing. Melody has also begun making shoes, and you can follow along with this fascinating process and all of her other activities on her Instagram feed. Melody and I talk about all kinds of topics: visually provocative marketing campaign for the Victorian Youth Symphony Listen to...


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