Bach on Bass: Cello Suite #1 on Electric Bass

cello suite Ariane Cap

New playing video playlist: Bach Cello Suite #1 in its entirety

I recently released the entire Bach Cello Suite #1, all seven movements, on youtube. Let me know how you like it, please give a comment and a thumbs up.

Bach is an amazing teacher. Notice how the bass lines weave through the chords… simultaneously, they are marking out a melody as well as a bass line… I don’t know about you, but I see pictures and hear way more than just one instrument when I hear this: there are implied chords, a melody and a bass line. And I can put my attention into either of them and get lost in them. Bach reminds me of fractals, hence the visuals.

Playing Bach does absolute wonders for your playing technique!

Well thought out fingering rules almost every phrase. Economy of motion is super important to get it smooth.

I listened to countless youtube cello interpretations. Personally, I like Bach played with a groovy timing (rather than a very rubato one, after all, this is a baroque suite, a dance piece!). I like my Bach not too romantic with not too much vibrato. Unfortunately we have no recording and can’t ask the man how he intended it.

Are you looking to play Bach pieces, too? I have a few Talking Technique pieces coming up soon. I will post them here, in time, as well. It is a lot about technique, string crossing etc.

Here is the playlist, containing all seven movements of Bach’s Cello Suite #1 in G, played on electric bass. I am using my five string Marleaux Consat and go direct into Logic. Dean Markley SR 2000s are a big part of my sound, as are my great new RevSound Cabs and TC Electronic (Wolf Wein) did the sound. No pedals were used (or harmed!) in the making of this video, but Wolf applied reverb and fabfilter in post.

Enjoy, share, and like!

PS: Thank you for many comments and questions. Here the most common ones:

  • Which score did I use? Schirmer Library Cello score. #1 uses bass clef exclusively, so if you don’t read cello clef, you are good.
  • Is there TAB? I don’t have tab, sorry. Creating your own is a killer learning exercise! Go for it!
  • Free scores? Yes. Download Suite #1
  • How to adapt to bass? Not much needs adapting. I used harmonics for a few sustained notes, tapping in one of the slow movements to get all the notes in and I spread out the ending chord of the Prelude with harmonics because I preferred the sound. I encourage you to make it your own by looking to stay as closely to the original as possible. Consistent thought out fingering is key. Add harmonics, open strings and tapping on spots where needed.
  • And a tip: for an easy way to get your feet wet with some Bach, try this! In this Talking Technique Episode I transcribed a fairly accessible Bach piano piece, adapted it for bass and recorded it so you can take over the left hand or right hand and play in a duet with me in the video. Enjoy!
  • Got any other resources, Ari? YES!! I just recently got contacted by this cool Bach bass website on the Bach Cello Suites on bass! Check it out!



Powerful Questions to Ask Yourself


The Right Questions at the Right Time…

When a student is interested in working with me, I send them an in depth questionnaire. Why do I ask you questions? Am I not the teacher, the one who is supposed to have the answers for you?

Besides the fact that I genuinely want to know the answers so I can best help, I love that questions do on your end: the right questions set your mind in a certain direction. They are powerful. That’s why in my initial student intake questionnaire I ask a whole lot of them; I want to know about your musical background, experiences, gear, goals and heroes; but I also want to know what motivates you and what makes you tick to do something, to stick with it, to put in the work in service of a bigger goal or dream. Why? Because the answers to these questions may be just as revealing to you as they are helpful to me to help you. I believe just thinking about these answers already does powerful things to our mindset, helps us evaluate where we stand and what we aspire to.

  • Try a few on for size:
  • What is your passion?
  • What is stopping you?
  • How have you overcome obstacles in the past?
  • Why do you play bass?
  • What does playing bass do for you?
  • What are your immediate and long term goals for playing?
  • And how do you know you have achieved them?
  • What motivates you?
  • What does the most helpful feedback look like?
  • Why?
  • What are you aware of as you answer these questions?

What happens?

Just thinking about these will likely point your mind toward success. Ask them often. Practice, and dream big!


PS: I also want to point out that the featured photo in this post is a mash of a bass clef and a question mark made from chocolate almonds. Just to make sure you saw that, because I thought that was pretty sweet (!) how I did that…

PPS: So, if you are interested in learning more about powerful questions and how to use them in your practice routine, check out my Music Theory course. The outro tab has weekly practicing tips. Rewards, for example, are an important habit building practice tool. Which really is a perfect segue from sweet chocolate almonds…

Paul’s Bass Matters – New European Wall Chart Source!

Paul's Bass Matters

European Wall Owners – Rejoice!

Shipping to Europe – Now Awesome!

I am fully aware that even the lowest shipping costs I could obtain to ship to our European friends from California were still – ridiculously high. Of course I have no control over that, it’s not like I am a big warehouse or Amazon, so I get regular rates and they were terrible for our beautiful, sturdy tubes. (Must have tubes to keep the poster safe!)

Paul’s Bass Matters to the Rescue!

But, due to the initiative of one of our bass friends over at, Pim from the Netherlands, we now have a solution: Pim put me in touch with Paul from the epic bass store Paul’s Bass Matters in Nijmegen. From what I hear that is THE place to go for basses, amps and all things bass! They even carry the new Trickfish line! It’s a like a kid-in-the-candy store sort-of-place!

A lot of my readers know and love Paul’s store, give a thumbs up or comment, if you have heard of it or know the place! And now, partnered up with Paul’s Bass Matters, we can knock off a substantial amount off those shipping charges.

I have to give huge props to Paul – little wall charts are a lot of work, packaging details, shipping from here to there was cumbersome, then there are customs and forms and late night skypes across the time zones. He hung through it all, so you can get your epic wall chart and make your wall happy, too, without incurring the nasty US shipping rate!

If you are closer to the Netherlands than California..

Paul's Bass Matters

All Other Countries, including US:

US customers can also order on At the moment there is still free shipping if you have Prime but we are switching to fulfillment soon, so regular US shipping rates will apply when Amazon fulfillment stock is gone, I estimate a week or two. (Shipping then $3.61)

Have you seen the videos yet?

You can use the wall chart to study the entire foundation of music theory. In the videos I describe how! Pick a different key each time. This is how I believe music theory should be studied: doing it, understanding it, rather than reading down pages and pages of arpeggios and scales. Make a groove of it or do my “Groove and Fill” while you are at it.

We have shipped to 19 countries world wide (and counting)!

By the way, I collect happy wall photos, if you have cool local paraphernalia or your bass next to it, I’d love a pic of it!

Ari’s Interval Formula

A feature of the wall chart – a logical and helpful way to think about intervals. Intervals as a matrix on the bass fret board.

Have a look (watch here for a bigger view):

Music Theory Wall Chart, Bass

How Exactly do You Help Folks be Accountable?

accountable bass

Help Being Accountable?

A question I just got in:
I read that one of the reasons you created the 20 unit program was to help folks be accountable with practice/studies.  My question is, how does the program actually do that?

Here is the reply I wrote on email:
Hi Derek,
Quick answer to your query:

  • Weekly emails that unlock new material.
  • Lots of practice tips each unit and several motivational short videos throughout.
  • Constant reminders to adapt to one’s own pace and at the same time not to get stuck on a unit. Many videos are designed for you to pop in and practice along with, which makes it much easier to do.
  • The program builds step by step and gets progressively harder.
  • Live Q and As

Hope this helps.

Good question, Derek!

Derek’s question got me thinking, because being accountable is indeed an important topic and one of the reasons I created the course. I am a Certified Tiny Habits™ coach and NLP Master Practitioner, so my teaching is heavily influenced by what I learned about habits, the use of language and how it influences our behavior. In the course, by the way, the outro tab has tips drawn from these sources).

Now, to be very clear:

  • This is no voodoo or trickery or magic wand that will make it all effortless.
  • None of this means that I can do the work for you.
  • None of this means you will wake up tomorrow sounding like your hero or your best imaginable self.

You will actually need to watch the videos, follow along, do the work.

But, I can be helpful in a variety of ways, as mentioned in the email to Derek, and there is more.

There is a large body of research on habits and productivity.

Even if these words may seem like psycho mumbo-jumbo,keep an open mind for a second, because most relevant is: the research has gotten proven results that people were more inclined to follow through on what they wanted to do if it came presented in a certain way. There are strategies you can use (and are encouraged to use in the course) to make getting going on that practice routine easier.

Research into habits, productivity and how language affects our behaviors…

…has turned up strategies (some simple, some more complex) that can be valuable in directing our behavior. Advertisers use it every day in the form of language patterns. Politicians hire firms and spend big money so as to deliver their message so as to motivate the public to cast a vote for them. These aspects of motivational and behavioral research never interested or appealed to me, but what has been holding my attention for years is the study on how we can be better controlling our own behavior. We SAY we want to  _______ (fill in blank with anything from health/fitness goals to life/financial habits to practicing goals, and we really do want it, but then we struggle following through. It does not have to be that way.

Especially the research of the Stanford Persuasion Lab and BJ Fogg’s work around Tiny Habits shows us powerful ways to help us gain control. Other modalities I studied include NLP (the use of language to optimize behavior) and books such as The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg (an amazing read).

Most important for you on the bass end, in the course I drive the idea that regular, smart practice will get you good results. And I make it as easy as possible to pick up the bass and follow along. Here are a few things we did in the course design to that end:

  • We designed each video carefully so as to give you maximum bang for your practicing buck

Some people think hours and hours of practice are necessary for any measurable progress. My experience differs: it’s more about focus and the right kind of practice. I have found:

You can make steady progress with just 25 focused minutes ten times a week (more frequent shorter practice sessions seem to get better results than less frequent longer ones).

Even 20 or 30 minutes every day will get you results (I even used to have some students who would do nothing but one weekly private lesson with me; I structure private lessons so they are an intense, focused hour of practice. The students recorded and reported marked improvement even with just that one hour ever week! I wholeheartedly do recommend to practice (just like I show it in the lesson) – however, course participants have the advantage of additional support at their finger tips as they can just pop in the video; it really does help to get you going (people report this in the surveys we run at units 8 and 19)

  • The course is laid out in a step-by-step, comprehensive fashion

Next to how to practice: what to practice. The course takes the guess work out of what to do next. I show you how to adapt it to your level. It does move quickly and is very ambitious, so I give plenty of tips how to take it at a slower pace.

  • Tips to Resist Distraction

Distraction is the #1 enemy. Decide what to do. Then stick to it. Evaluate results about once every four months to assure you are on track and make adjustments (or ask for help if needed). Otherwise, focus in. I help with constant reminders and weekly emails with new content. Follow along and commit to give it your very best.

My favorite tip about being accountable:

There are no magic ingredients, no secret sauces, no shortcuts. You either do it or you don’t. Find a program that has good reviews and reasonable looking content, do your research, but then, do it and stick with it. The saddest thing to me is seeing people look around for the “best” fix and getting stuck looking; or dipping their toes here and there and as soon as they hit a little bump, they don’t know how to overcome it, label it “frustrated”, “bored” or “losing interest” until the next shiny thing comes around fueling some illusion of -finally – mastery.

There is nothing wrong with you at all if you feel this way and I am not down on you for those feelings, I know them well. But there is no way but through them; keeping going is the only way. I have some tricks you can use to keep you sticking with the program. Now, most of this comes from Tiny Habits and essentially insists you make practice sessions so short and/or easy that they are impossible not to do. The secret is: before you know it you have done way more. Starting is the hardest part. The rest is easier. You can do it!

To summarize what the course does in terms of holding you accountable:

How do I hold you accountable?

  • By preparing you that, as part of any worthwhile endeavor:
    • Humps are part of the journey – embrace and transform them (use the tips in the outro tabs).
    • A little bit of discipline and a lot of passion are your allies. (True for any age and back ground! Motivational videos)
    • Some days will be easier than others. (And I have tips for particularly “those other” days)
  • In creating a step by step, well laid out course that starts at the beginning and moves swiftly (this current one through music theory for the bass player).
  • By helping you through the book (immediate applications make it stick, targeted reading assignments break it down into manageable bits)
  • I’ll be with you every step of the way (there even is an Ask Ari button in the course should you get stuck)
  • We will give you tips from the psychology deck


  • By massively routing for you! And 98% of course participants say they recommend this course. And I am not holding back the content or pace, I want YOU to succeed on a big scale!
  • Your success is my success!
  • By second guessing and challenging internal beliefs that may not serve you. Or by being down on ourselves or you trouble yourself with “how hard it is”. If there is a voice that tells you “can’t, “could have”, “should have” or “never will be” – there is nothing whatsoever wrong with you. It’s when we get stuck on those voices, when we run into trouble. I write about letting those feelings move through without latching on to them, and I just flat out cheer you on throughout the course!
  • One other big aspect: rewards! Getting better is a reward in itself, but it takes a little patience to feel that reward. Instant rewards help here! As my Tiny Habits teacher, BJ Fogg powerfully puts it: not repetition, but good feelings create habits. After you practiced, make sure to high-five yourself and reward yourself with a little something. It is very important to leave practice with a good, satisfied feeling. Makes it easier next time!

Many have succeeded with this course, you can too! If being accountable is an issue for you, the course may just be what you needed. Remember, you have 15 days to try it risk-free.


 [2022 Update: Since this post was published, we have created a “Cohort” version of our Music Theory for the Bass Player course. It provides additional layers of support and accountability from dedicated coaches and peer support from a super-positive community Board!]

To find out more:

Music Theory Cohort

Why, in music, do B and E notes not have sharps? (Don’t only black keys have sharps?)

black keys

White keys, black keys…

Got a question, wrote an answer. This is a very fundamental one on black keys on the piano, but nonetheless important to the bassist. Without a clear understanding how notes relate to each other it is too hard to understand theory and use it. Get the fundamentals under your belt, it’s important! And, very straightforward, actually.

I am guessing that the questioner is a pianist. Typically bassists sorting out notes and note relationships will have slightly different assumptions that sometimes lead them down confusing paths, so it is great to use the piano’s visuals to grasp this.

The piano is color coded and it is easy to assume that all black keys have an accidental but none of the white keys do. Of course that is not the case. All white keys have a sharp AND a flat name as well. I love games that involve figuring out note names. Read my answer for some ideas. If you are teaching, these are absolutely great for all ages.

If you cannot see the text box below in your browser, click here for the article.

Read Ariane Cap‘s answer to Why, in music, do B and E notes not have sharps? on Quora

black keys

Also relevant in this context:





Practicing and Motivational Tip: Make it Emotional!


If you want to remember something, make it emotional

Very often we can vividly recall times/moments of our lives that were very dramatic; or loaded with emotional (good or bad) responses. This means to me that we were very deeply involved with a given situation. We were living it with great intensity. And this imprints the memory of everything that happened very strongly into our minds.

We can use this same concept in our learning. Of course we don’t want to create super dramatic situations. But we can involve as much of our entire being as is comfortably possible:

Involve all your senses, track what you are playing/learning both with your physical senses and mentally (following along in your mind, visualize).
And, most important, bring the strongest purveyor of energy into the whole experience: bring in emotions.
Feel the music:

▪ If the music has an overt emotional content or context, feel the emotion.
▪ If the music itself doesn’t seem to trigger it – maybe because you are too busy with executing the notes – conjure it up. Imagine what the feeling feels like, remember a similar situation or a scene from a movie – anything that helps you get into the emotion. And then let this energy become part of your experience.

Source: Ariane Cap’s Course, Music Theory for the Bass Player, The Course – a 20-unit course on theory, technique, bass line creation and more contains a section containing practice tips. This is one of 20 practicing tips from the course. Practicing tips are located in the OUTRO Tab of each course unit.


Tritone Tricks on the Bass – Rule the Devil’s Interval

tritone tricks

Tritone Tricks – using ’em for big effect on the bass

I got a question about the tritone. What is it and what can it do for me on the bass?

Oh, it is all about tension and resolving it in wicked ways. Unless it’s a blues context, then we quite like that tension.

I show you how to use the tritone in this article.

Tritones are all pretty and symmetric on the fret board, too, so it looks nice, which is a bonus. According to my interval formula (watch video by that name on this page)  it is a 1 by 1.

Ask not what the tritone can do for you, ask what you can do with the tritone – for starters:

  • The tritone substitution and
  • A cool way to use tritone tricks in a blues ending…

If your browser does not display the text box below, please click here to read my article with videos and book excerpts.

Read Ariane Cap‘s answer to How can you apply tritone on bass guitar? on Quora

How to get into Upright Bass

Upright Ariane Cap

Upright Bass…

I received a question today about how to get into upright bass. My journey started on the electric bass, and a great entry point for upright it was for me:

I remember picking up the upright for the first time and – bam – it connected instantly! I remember my classmates being astounded: even though some had an electric bass back ground, too, not all of them had such an easy time with the transition. And some were new to bass entirely; I remember feeling for them because they had to deal with many new things, whereas I mainly dealt with new fingering and posture/technique issues.

The main reasons for my easy time with it I think were:

  • Music Theory: I knew music theory (years of classical and Jazz theory training)
  • Fretboard Geography: I knew the fret board (due to studying the fretboard systematically, soon to be a book on “The Pattern System”)
  • I had a healthy appreciation for good instrument technique (from piano since I was little)

Then of course this cannot be overstated: I had a fantastic teacher for years, Wolf Wein, who opened the world of music and learning to me like nobody ever had before – from thinking beyond just the bass to the emotions music can convey; he emphasized mental practice and gave super helpful feedback (the kind that makes you a better player instantly).

Other influences include Victor Wooten, Kai Eckhardt, Chuck Rainey, Steve Bailey, Michael Manring, Peter Herbert… amazing teachers I was lucky to learn from.

These days I don’t get to play much upright, sadly.

If you want to add it or start it, go for it. (If you cannot see a text box below, please click this link to view my answer on how to start playing upright.)

Read Ariane Cap‘s answer to How do I get into/start playing the double bass? Do you have any tips? on Quora

Efficient Practice Hacks

feedback 2

Always on the hunt for the biggest pay-off for your practicing time…

I am taking on an important and often overlooked aspect in this Talking Technique Episode: Feedback!

We learn effectively (and unconsciously) through feedback loops all the time. And we are excellent at it, whether we know it or not! After all, this is how we learned to talk, walk and be in the world when we were little. Sometimes the feed-back comes from outside – in the form of encouragement, smiles, excited parents. But more often than not we learn how to become our own best teachers when it comes to using feedback! The world gives us feed-back constantly. For example, when we learn to walk, we carefully train our bodies to receive feedback on this wicked gravity thing… until we develop the proper balance.

As bass players we use feed-back data all the time – just by listening to ourselves, practicing with the goal of getting the notes, the timing, the phrasing etc right… In this episode I take learning through feedback a few steps further. By using the four tools described in the article and by being smart about how exactly we use the feedback we can make unexpected leaps and bounds in our playing. Read the article for the four best feedback tools (you have them all!) and for the best way to use them. Below is the guide referenced in the article to download directly. Enjoy, and stay in the loop!

Read the article on notreble.

Download the handy guide below.

feedback 2

TrueFire Live Video – if you missed the Q and A

Truefire Live Video Ariane Cap

Three Awesome Tools to Spice up Your Practice

TrueFire Live video seminar – if you missed it, watch it here!

3 Awesome Tools to Spice up Your Practice (for Guitarists and Bassists)

There is a good reason scales and arpeggios are essential mainstays of any meaningful practice regimen: they will improve your playing and understanding of music measurably. Now, wherever you are on your journey mastering these elements, Ariane has some awesome practicing tools for you! 

Don’t miss:

  • The one gadget that turns any stale scales practice into super sounding music: how to use it, how it works, and how to have hours of fun with the basics, yet sounding like a jaw-dropping virtuoso  
  • An exercise that puts any theoretical concept into a musical context. You won’t want to stop practicing using this fun idea!
  • An awesome way to practice without your instrument. (Even advanced players are often stumped by this, yet it is so simple!)

The PDF hand outs are for download here (it’s a zip file/archive): ArianeCapTrueFireLive_June2017.pdf.