Black man playing guitar.

Music and Race: a Few Brief Thoughts

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(NOTE: the following article does not necessarily reflect the views of KSM Music, or of any of its employees other than the author) In the past week, it’s been a little difficult to think about music. Frankly, it’s been a little difficult to think about anything. As I write this, on June 4, 2020, protests both violent and peaceful are …

Bassline Breakdown: Fugazi’s “Five Corporations”

Bassline Breakdown: Fugazi’s “Five Corporations”

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In the world of punk rock, there are a handful of bassists who stand tall above all the others. As much of a fan as I am of punk music, I can’t pretend the genre is exactly full to the gills with virtuoso bassists, which makes it all the more exciting when a Matt Freeman or a Rob Wright is …

Laying Down Roots

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To say that root notes are a bassist’s bread and butter would be inaccurate. In fact, they’re a bassist’s bread, butter, french fries, milkshake, and a decent chunk of their hamburger to boot. Huge swaths of bass lines across a multitude of genres are made up, if not entirely, than almost entirely out of root notes, and I think in …

Dude slapping a Fender Jazz Bass

To Slap or Not to Slap?

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Let’s start with a joke: Hey, what do you call the worst guitarist in a band? The bassist. I like that joke, not just because making fun of bassists is eternally hilarious, but because there’s at least a little truth to it. I don’t think it’s fair to say every bassist secretly wants to be a guitarist, but conversely I …

Cool drawing of closeup bass player in red.

Bassline Breakdown: Marmalade’s “Reflections Of My Life”

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Recently, I’ve embarked on a mission to listen to every song to appear on Billboard’s year-end hot 100 list since the list’s debut in 1959. It’s an endlessly fascinating project, and as great as it is admiring old classics and cringing at long-forgotten failures, the best part of the whole endeavor has definitely been discovering great songs that, for one …

Close up a man's hand playing the bass guitar.

The Low End of Ambient

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For most of my life as a music listener, I’ve been somewhat resistant to genres of music that a) largely eschew vocals and b) don’t rely on tight, memorable melodies or pop-centric structures. Whether it’s classical, techno, or jazz, I’ve always had a hard time connecting with forms of music that aren’t interested in giving me instantly hummable earworms. That …

How Do We Create Meaning with a Bass Line

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I love lyrics, both reading and writing them, but as a bassist, I tend to compartmentalize thes kills I cultivate as a bassist and think of them as being separate from and unrelated to the skillsI cultivate as a writer. I think a lot of musicians operate in much the same way, especially when they’re playing in a context where …

KSM Bass Bridge mounted to a quilted maple custom bass guitar

Mids Are Your Friend

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One of the most infamous signs of a novice bass player is the infamous “scooped mids”. When I started playing gigs regularly, I learned fairly quickly that that wasn’t a good way to go when playing with a band, but it took me a little bit longer to really understand just how valuable the mid-frequencies really are to a good …