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Electric Bass Lesson: Note Length with Nathan East


When learning to play a new instrument for the first time, it’s often easy to focus solely on performing the notes of a piece or tune correctly. However, there is more to great musical performance than just note accuracy and execution. Dynamics, variation in tone, and note length are critical, particularly on the electric bass guitar, and can drastically alter the feel and emotive quality of a song.


In this online bass lesson, Grammy Award-winning bassist and ArtistWorks instructor, Nathan East outlines a few essential techniques to help you employ dynamics and note-length variety when crafting a bass line. Nathan personally utilizes these techniques when supporting legendary artists like Eric Clapton, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Herbie Hancock, Daft Punk, and more, and illustrates how subtle adjustments to these crucial elements can completely transform the feel of a song.


“Most of the time when I’m playing popular music and supporting a singer, it always comes down to dynamics,” Nathan explains. “The chorus of the song is usually very strong, but, when you get to the verse, you have to make sure to bring it down so that people can hear the singer.”


It is crucial for beginner and advanced bass players alike to practice playing with dynamic contrast and varying note length. It never hurts to revisit these fundamental concepts that professionals like Nathan execute in every facet of their playing.


“All the time, every song I play, I’m trying to figure out ‘is this going to be a short note or a long note? Is this going to be loud or soft,’” Nathan explains. “That’s what music is all about—listening and determining how we’re going to approach it from the bottom end.”


To learn more about how to properly employ dynamics and vary your note length when shaping a bass line, dive into this online bass lesson from Nathan East:


Note Length with Nathan East:



Have you always wanted to learn how to play the electric bass guitar? Through our comprehensive bass lessons online and Video Exchange Learning platform here at ArtistWorks, you can learn from internationally renowned players, like Nathan East, and get personal feedback on your playing.


Nathan’s course starts with the basics and teaches everything from beginner bass guitar to advanced performance techniques and tunes. So, whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced player, all levels are welcome and all students will grow and improve their skills as bassists and musicians!


Try out some free sample music lessons here and see what makes ArtistWorks courses some of the best online music lessons around!



ArtistWorks Music Series Podcast—The Art of Recording for Film: Nathan East

Electric Bass Lesson: Creating a Bass Solo with Nathan East

Nathan East’s Tips for Playing in the Pocket




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