London Bass and Guitar Show 2019

London Bass and Guitar Show – EPIC! Plus: Find the hidden gift in this post…

Some of my favorite highlights:

  • Recording two courses for Scotts Bass Lessons with Nick Wells
  • Seeing epic masterclasses and performances by Nick Beggs, Paul Geary, Cody Wright, Ellen O’Reilly, Steve Lawson, John Patitucci (who also received the Lifetime Achievement Award), and Scott Devine
  • Getting to hear the finalists of the Young Bassist of the Year competition and sitting on the judge’s panel with Joel McIver and Nick Beggs
  • Doing an interview with Jon Liebman of
  • Meeting two of my students in real life (one from Australia, the other a Brit!)
  • Meeting Facebook buds in real life
  • Making jokes about the British food including the famed “Brown Sauce”
  • Geeking out on gear
  • Spending time with the Marleaux Family
  • Doing a performance and teaching a clinic
  • Making new friends, meeting blog readers and talking to fellow authors Jon Liebman, Stuart Clayton, Joel McIver and others from the Bass Magazine crew

I am now in Innbsruck, Austria (that’s where I was born) spending time with family. Today we are going törggelen. Comment if you know what this is! Enjoy the pictures and videos!

Getting there….

huge props to United/Lufthansa for letting me pre-board and being awesome. Luckily the instrument fit into the bin (barely, actually! Sort of diagonally)
Okay, I want to know where they keep the dragon (picture at left)
Recording for Scott at Dean Street Studios…
Good talk, Jon!

Rachel Rhodes amd Sam Montooth

John Patitucci clinic…

With my student Bill!

The Marleaux booth!

A short sandwich break for Gerald and his gang

Enjoying Marine Courtin’s beautiful performance. Marine was one of three finalists chosen for the Young Bassist of the Year Awards. 200 entries had been whittled down by Mark King, Joe Dart, Stu Hamm and others to select three winners who were performing at the event. Us judges had the hard task to choose a final winner. Read all about the event and listen to the finalists including the winner Leo de Santis here

Scott Devine!

Ellen O’Reilly on a roll talking about singing while playing bass and grooving hard…

With Lifetime Achievement Award Winner John Patitucci!

My good bud and KalaUBass virtuoso Magnus Sjoquist

With Alex Lofoco!!

This is waht happens when you forget your nail clippers… Thanks to Gordon Smith Guitars and Florina’s help I could file down my nails at her booth as she was shaping guitar necks.Jon Liebman!

Ellen O’Reilly 🙂

Gerald Marleaux 🙂

Video of Stella by Starlight from my performance (Thank you for the video, Sam Montooth)

Why all the interval sequences in your book, Ari?

interval intervals sequences

Hi Ari,
On page 36 of your book “Music Theory for the Bass Player“, there are two interesting statements about minor and major thirds.

When repeating minor thirds, you reach the starting note after four minor thirds, creating three unique interval sequences:

[diatonic naming, meaning Bbb is called A for practical purposes]

  1. C – Eb – Gb – A – C 
  2. C# – E – G – Bb – C#
  3. D – F – Ab – B – D

When repeating major thirds, you reach the starting note after three major thirds, creating four unique sequences: 

  1. C – E – G# – C
  2. Db – F – A – Db
  3. D – F# – Bb – D
  4. Eb – G – B – Eb

What is interesting or important about these ”unique sequences”? Why are they worth calling out and listing in your book? What use can be made of them?


Thanks for the question, Robert. The easiest way to find the answer is to just play these interval sequences on the bass using consistent fingerings. What emerges is helpful on so many levels – here are just six that I can think of just off the top of my head:

1 • Because it is crucial to understand how notes relate to each other.

Before we go into your thirds intervals, Robert, let’s take a step back because in the book I actually do this “repeat-the-interval” business with every single interval. Most commonly this is done with the fifth.

There are 12 unique pitches. Most commonly we organize them in descending fifths or ascending fourths, meaning the Cycle of Fifths in both directions.

C F Bb Eb Ab Db/C# Gb/F# Cb/B E A D G C

Here you have repeated the interval of an ascending fourth or descending fifth (you know I prefer it when you call it “descending fifths” rather than “ascending fourths”!) and you have touched on every single pitch there is, which is pretty magical and unique. It is also helpful because if you play a major scale off of each of these notes you only change one note at a time. And it occurs in songs a ton. And it is smooth sounding, like a resolution. And it tells you the exact note-naming.

And more magic about fifths here:

Fifths are also great for practicing something in all keys, see below!

There is only one other interval that does that, and that is the half step or minor second.

But back to thirds.

  • 4 times 3 half steps (minor third!) or
  • 3 times 4 half steps (major third!)

is twelve.

  • When you jump in minor thirds – three notes change (from C major to Eb major for example, you add three flats.)
  • When you jump in major thirds – four notes change (from C major to E major you add four sharps.)

2 • The Fretboard 

Build the intervals on the fretboard and see how notes relate across strings.

The fretboard helps you see this if you finger it consistently (instructions are in the book).

Learn and practice this sequence with good fingering, ascending and descending, all over the fretboard as described and that interval is yours forever and everywhere.

3 • Chords

These stacked intervals actually make up chords!

  • C+ – all major thirds 
  • Co7 – all minor thirds

What to do with this:

  • Arpeggiate these chords over at least two octaves
  • In all keys
  • Have good fingering ready as described
  • Play it in a walking bass when you come across one of these chords!
  • Use for soloing. You can even play
    • a + chord over a Dominant 7 flat 13
    • or a o7 over a diminished dominant (which makes it a b9, #9 #11 natural 13)
  • Make a groove from it

4 – Chord progressions

Songs move in thirds constantly. Know how to move in thirds, major and minor. If it is under your fingers and if you recognize it in the chord changes, no mystery!

5 – Reading 

Stop spot placing notes. Know how to read intervals and the fretboard is yours without constantly having to look at it (since thrids are now under your fingers).

6 – Systematic Practice

Practice everything you do in sequences of all intervals. Hopefully, you are already practicing all shapes in fifths. Now practice them through the cycles of thirds!


To sum it up, there is symmetry everywhere in music!

Understanding this has practical application for playing music, cracking theory and for mastering the fretboard. If you feel these shapes under your fingers they mean something. They are no longer just abstract concepts. They are sounds that “feel” a certain way on the instrument. Experiencing that fosters learning.

Music Theory Course

Funny Video – All 88 piano keys on the bass (no treble!)!

funny notreble video 88 keys

Happy Birthday, Notreble!

We are celebrating our favorite online bass magazine by taking the “notreble” idea all the way, asking the question:

Can you play all the 88 notes of the piano on basses?

Turned out that notreble part all the way up was doable with a bit of finesse, but we ran into a problem at the very end… Note the running keyboard on top of the screen!

Watch the notreble 10th Anniversary Talking Technique episode, complete with an insane PDF, a card playing poker cat (if you live in LA you need a cat harness, folks, we got coyotes!), a view of our lovely garden, a Beatles song and the dominant 7 13 chord here:


Read the episode on notreble here.

Enjoy and help it go viral!



I have a new Buddy… [discount code!]

beat buddy

Everyone – meet The BeatBuddy!

The fabulous peeps at Singular Sound contacted me a while back asking me if I would take a look at their BeatBuddy Pedal. I only promote what I truly like and almost all of my endorser relationships have started with me liking and promoting a product for a while and the endorsement relationship forming as a result of that. This sounded interesting as a teaching tool when working on grooves of varying styles without worrying about having the chords in there! Also, creating intros, outros, fills and B section variations with the tip of my toe sounded very useful. So I promised to give it a shot and review it if I liked it. Below is my review!

No pedal is ever like a real drummer, but it is the next best thing if you don’t have one in your practice room right now! The price is a bit steep, but if you can swing it (pun intended), I think it is worth it to get this solid pedal. Get your BeatBuddy here.

London! London! See you all in London “2019 London Bass and Guitar Show”!