Adrian’s Silent Night Rendition

Student Feature Silent Night Adrian Pop

Student Feature: Adrian Pop

Today I received this email and video from a bass player, a student of the course and an avid follower of my blog.  It makes me so incredibly happy to read from course participants who dig deep in the course and make the material their own!

This is the kind of positive feedback that totally makes my day and inspires us to work even harder.

Adrian summarizes beautifully what our goals are with the way we present theory and how to apply it on the bass. I love it when students “get it” and tell us about how it frees their creativity and boosts their joy and confidence in making music!  I know our approach is at times more challenging but I also know that the rewards are huge for those who stick with it!

Sounding beautiful, Adrian!


Hello Ariane,

This video proves to me one more time that you are the very BEST Bass teacher on the planet.
Everything I learn with you (as I said before) makes sense and it is very easy to apply to my own style of playing.

That is what I love most about your lessons and about “The Course” because they help me to be ME.

I can apply my own feelings in what I play being INSPIRED and NOT depending on copying 100% some other players. YES !!!!
Thank you very much, Ariane for always spending your precious time to answer my emails and questions in the most professional way that I could expect.

Please feel free to use my review and video in any way you feel that it will be good and beneficiary for you in advertising the course and your lessons.

And all I want to wish this Christmas to every bass player on the planet is: ” Take a closer look to The Course if you want to be a better player ”
In the end, every single penny that you spend is worth it much, much much more. It was worth it for me for sure because I am a better player now. Yes, I am!

And I am a better player now only because I found the right person ( kind of late on my journey in life but ) probably at the right moment and that’s why I am soooooo exited and happy. Thank you Ariane !!!

I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and all the best in 2019.

Adrian Pop

Send me your take on my arrangement, simple or advanced or a hybrid version!

Here are samples and a tutorial with PDF!

Happy Holidays, everyone!

New Year’s Buddy Support Cohort!

The flagship course we offer, Music Theory for the Bass player, is an in-depth, comprehensive and powerful course. 

It teaches theory, groove creation, technique (“finger kung-fu”), styles analysis, fretboard knowledge and more. At its core is my bestselling book, Music Theory for the Bass Player, and it all started when people asked me to help them apply the material and to help coach them through the book for additional benefits. So I did. This course coaches you through the book and goes way beyond it. Essentially, it uses the materials in the book in groove creation and empowers you to come up with your own. We know that we remember something best if we make it our own. That is what we do in our 20 unit course.

Click here to read more about what the course is, what you get (130 jam tracks, 127 PDFs, 176 new videos, Ask Ari Live feat. Wolf webinars…) We have many enthusiastic reviews from participants and a detailed description and samples on that page.

The Truth about learning an instrument is…

it takes a bit of patience and discipline. 

To really go through this rich and comprehensive course – like everything worthwhile – it does take a bit of focus and determination. There are technique drills that get progressively harder, the theory exercises are sometimes brain twisters and in general, I push you to practice in a smart and focused way so you get real, and reliable results.  

Some people long for personal support in this process! I have a coaching background – I am a certified Tiny Habits™ Coach and practicing routine nerd – so I really heard these requests and dug deep to find a solution to help in this online space….

So, last year – right around this time – we decided to try something new and quite revolutionary:

A Course with peer support! The Cohort was born!

We had lots of ideas to test and some technical hurdles to overcome so we tried the first run in a free beta version. And we learned a lot! Over the course of the year – mind you, the course goes over 40 weeks – we experimented with various processes, changed forums around, tweaked here and there and watched lots and lots of videos that our participants submitted. We surveyed and listened. The results were outstanding!

  • 35% made it all the way through, completely on schedule!
  • Of the ones who started, 70% made it more than halfway through.
  • And everyone surveyed said the cohort helped them stick with it much more than without!


We took all we learned to heart and hereby we proudly present to you:

Our New Years Cohort 2.0

Sign up now! We start on January 19th (first Cohort webinar 1-5-2020)

What is it?

An amazing ride and quite the experience.

We keep it real and we keep it realistic.

  • What I ask of you is to reserve 45 minutes 5 times a week. More is welcome, but 45 x 5 works!
  • You will make your own specific “commitments” each unit. 
  • And then you will record yourself (1 to 3 minutes)
  • Precise instructions on what to do
  • Join monthly LIVE check-ins to keep you on track (in addition to Ask Ari Live for bass questions)
  • Cohort Graduates will encourage you and help you stay current
  • Peer support – you will want to show up!
  • Includes Before and After Skills Assessment

There are several tiers, depending on how much feedback you are looking for

Get feedback from Ari and Wolf, and even lessons.

The higher tiers have extremely limited space.  

This is for you if you are serious and want to make big gains this year.

                                                                              *Because we have only very limited space for these tiers, tiers “Feedback” and “One-on-One” offer no money-back guarantees.  

                                                                              If you already own the course, email us your receipt of purchase and you receive a voucher for the course fee you paid! Welcome to the Cohort!

Recording yourself – while a little bit uncomfortable for some – is a tremendously powerful tool. Here are a few responses from our survey

What did you learn from recording yourself?

  • “So much.  It was initially very daunting but I soon used it to spot areas of my technique that I could improve.  Once I started to use the PORA mechanism it became invaluable.” 
  • “When I see and hear my playing, it shows me what I need to work on!”
  • “Recording is essential to
    • 1) Recognize progress
    • 2) assess correctness
    • 3) identify technique issues.”
  • “It raised the stakes and made me really drill down on one or two exercises. What I think I’ve learned is that working on fewer things more deeply for a concentrated time is powerful and ripples through other aspects of my playing.”
  • “That my technique looks a lot better through my eyes than from an objective point of view.” (We got many variations of that statement!) 
  • “What I learned about recording myself: 
    • a) it wasn’t as uncomfortable as I anticipated;
    • b) I could see how good my technique was, and identify opportunities to improve;
    • c) I still don’t like to see myself in photos or video, but that’s a personal hang-up.” (for that last one we have a solution)

And not only did the participants learn a lot – so did we, Wolf and I, as we watched many, many of the submissions! It was amazingly cool hearing all these different versions of “Groove and Fill”, note finders and finger kung fus… the good, the bad, and the struggly…  


And recording yourself is but one aspect of the cohort

What also crystallized over the course of the year:

participants really like feedback. And personal check-ins. And peer support. And mentors. And the Skills Assessment – Before and after snapshot.


First webinar 1-5, course starts 1-19-2020!

Also getting feedback from my friends in the Cohort was amazing.  Everyone was very complimentary and I am now much more confident that recording myself is a good way of spotting issues with technique.

A defined path, matched with book extremely well.

Thorough and organized learning content!

I’ve never seen anything so productive!


Already enrolled in the course and just want the Cohort?

If you already own the course, email us your receipt of purchase and you receive a voucher for the course fee you paid! Welcome to the Cohort!


Already in the course and want to join a cohort? 

If you already own the course, email us your receipt of purchase and you receive credit for the course fee you paid!  

Is “Practicing More Bass” one of your New Year’s Resolutions?

It’s that time of the year again when we once again decide that “next year” will be the year we:

  • shed a few pounds
  • hit the gym three times a week
  • eat more veggies
  • and of course, practice five hours every day and sound like Jaco by June!


Sound familiar?

Best intentions for sure, but if it didn’t work last year, so why would you expect this year to be any different?

Well, first of all, don’t beat yourself up too badly.  Research has shown while 50% of adults make resolutions, fewer than 10% actually keep them beyond just a few weeks!

Resolutions are good – here are ways to actually keep them!

Research has shown that while 50% of adults make resolutions, fewer than 10% actually keep them beyond just a few weeks!

Research also shows, however, that there are ways to improve your chances to succeed!

Here are a few of them:

1 – Enlist the support of a buddy group!

There’s strength in numbers. Take dieters, for example: dieters in group programs blow the success rate of solo dieters out of the water!  The Beatles were hip to this, too: it’s easier “with a little help from my friends”!

2 – Shorter, but more consistent/regular/focused activity!

Five hours in the gym, 3-4 days/week for the whole month of January will leave you depleted (and sore!), and likely to lose motivation and stop going.

But the kind of mountains we can move when doing something in short, consistent “ bursts” is truly unbelievable:

  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator and
  • park on the other side of the lot.

Ask your Fitbit and it will tell you how much good those small adjustments did you!

So the “secret” formula for success is: Do something small. Do it often. And reap the rewards!

3 – Get the Right Guidance!

Coaching works. Well thought out instruction works. Interactive online learning works.

Think back on your school days. Regular classes, regular homework, periodic quizzes, a midterm and a final coupled with the feedback from an experienced teacher is what provided a positive learning experience.

4 – “Before” and “After” snapshots

Success sometimes comes slowly and gradually, so while we are working away on our bite-sized assignments it is easy to lose sight of how far we have come. Take a snapshot of where you are now and then one in a few months. Stick to your small, doable regimen and reap the rewards. The “after” shot will be a huge motivator to keep y

ou moving forward on the upward spiral of success!

5 – Try a different approach (AKA “Do one thing different”)

Whether it really was Albert Einstein who said the following or not, it really ain’t rocket science: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

So change things up in your practice routine. If it’s not working for you, stop doing it. Try something else.



  • “There is something very powerful about making a public commitment and then following it up with a recording of that exercise… and the video you record is incredibly eye-opening! (Fred P)
  • “Recording myself has made me accountable to the commitment I’ve promised.  It has helped me overcome any fear I have about demonstrating progress I’ve made through my practicing of the material I’ve committed to record.”  
  • “Recording myself has enabled me to see the progress I’ve made by the practicing I’ve done.  It serves as a record of my progress as I look back over time at the recording to assure me of how far I’ve come in my bass studies.” (Kevin G)
  • “The cohort has made me accountable so I work steadily towards the goal of completing the course.  It adds that extra layer of accountability which serves as motivation during those times when it’s easy to simply put things off for ‘another day’.”
  • “I joined the cohort in January and have found recording myself to be invaluable.  It lets you spot areas of technique that you should be concentrating on. The Cohort is excellent and I can honestly say I have played for a minimum of 30 minutes each day since 20th Jan when it started. Everyone is so friendly and supportive. I feel like I have improved more in 4 weeks than I did in the last 4 months.” (Chris D)


How Low can you go? (Strap length for Bass)

strap length

Strapped for answers about strap length?

How low can you go?

Down Low for Maximum Cool Factor

Picture this:

Headbanging on stage, the bassist pounding the strings hard – sometimes with his fist – he’s loving it and the audience is feeling it! The bass hangs low – so low you can barely see his knees. His left hand clenches the bass with a fist most of the times. It’s an impressive display of raw energy and who wouldn’t want some of that for themselves!

High up for comfort

Then you go next door where a fusion band is playing. No light show, no hair flying. It’s a high energy of a different kind: Blindingly fast runs – in unison and sometimes interlocked. The bassist flies all over the fretboard seemingly having four hands with 10 fingers each! She plays chords, intricate grooves, solos and just watching the finger acrobatics makes you weary (even though it looks all so effortless!).

And her bass is held high close to her chin – or so it seems!

So, what’s going on here?

Why such a difference in strap length, (ie, how high/low the bass hangs)? I think the above scenarios pretty much give it away already. The demands on each player are vastly different in these situations. I deliberately created two extremes. Both are musically great. I don’t see one superior over the other. They just have different goals and accordingly different means of achieving them.

Heavy Rock: you better move around on stage, and at the very least: headbang.

Fusion: no one cares about your moves: the audience is focused on the music and immersed in the intricacies of the lines rather than the raw power of the riff and the “show”.

Fusion music is typically more complicated to play (although that is not always true. modern metal bands often do very involved stuff). The bass needs to be in a position where the fingers have maximum flexibility to execute various playing techniques like:

• Scale runs including chromatics – more challenging to play than pentatonics (again, I’m over-simplifying the comparison for demonstration purposes)

• Chord voicings that go far beyond triads or 1-5-8

• Groove lines that change often, require frequent changes of position, combinations of scalar patterns, stretch positions, double stops, chromatics

All very difficult and often downright impossible to execute when the bass is hanging very low.

How Low is Low?

As a ballpark guide, I consider it a low position (long strap length) when the left hand operates lower than your belt line.

It is at that point that you observe the following changes in your right arm:

  • The right arm can no longer fully rest on the bass which results in
    • an almost straight wrist!
    • the necessity to pull up the right arm or shoulder (which can lead to pain in the shoulder blades)
  • As a result of this, you get less help for the left-hand thumb (when your right arm rests on the bass, it stabilizes the neck and mitigates the danger of overgripping in the left hand  (ie, overworking the thumb by squeezing the neck)
  • the need to adjust slapping or thumping techniques (a low position necessitates coming to the strings from above and with an up-down motion with the right arm rather than coming from slightly below the string and flicking the thumb out with a twist of the wrist)
  • The right hand cannot easily pluck chords.

It is at this point that you observe the angle of the left arm and hand changes:

  • Stretching the left hand fingers over 4 frets becomes difficult.

So what are you to do?


Higher – easier to play.

Lower (longer strap length) – potentially higher coolness factor.

It really comes down to “How low can you go?” without sacrificing playing quality. Looking cool won’t matter much if your playing suffers.

What I do

I am very comfortable playing seated on a drum stool with my bass resting on the right leg. I aim to be completely symmetric, not twisted. This is the perfect length for me. My strap is set so that whether I sit or whether I stand, my bass hangs in almost the same position.

Bonus Tip: a wide, soft strap is always of great help! My favorite is the Scott’s Bass Lessons strap! It is wide and soft and super comfy!

strap length for bass

Seated, bass resting on the right leg

Standing, neck comes up a little but otherwise same distances

For optimal technique training, check out my Course, Music Theory for the Bass Player

Surprise your Family with a Christmas Song Solo Bass Style!

SIlent Night

My favorite Christmas song – Silent Night – for solo bass

Learn it now!

Enjoy my solo bass rendition of my favorite Christmas song which also happens to have been written by a fellow Austrian.

I have two versions for you – an easier one and a tougher one. First, here is the tougher one:

Want to learn how to play it?

Scared of the six string? No sweat, I show it to you on the four string 🙂

If you are afraid to get your fingers in a pretzel in the above version,  learn an easy version!

Easy Version Tutorial starts at 18:02!

Here are the PDFs:

Easy Version: Just Melody and Bass: Silent Night Ariane Cap Solo Bass EZ Version

Full Version: Silent Night Full Version


And if you liked this and are tackling it – I’d love it if you sent me a video or audio recording of yourself playing it! You can also post it right here into the comments, too!

I wish for your Holidays to be filled with music, family and love!

Merry Christmas!


PS: Also, check out my Truefire Pentatonic Playground DVD, it makes for the perfect gift for the bass players in your life (including yourself!). Truefire is running all sorts of specials right now. Make sure to visit!

Ariane Cap bass guitar lessons:

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