Interview with Didi Beck
Until about fifteen years ago, there were not a lot of ways to learn Rockabilly slap bass. There were no teachers, no videos, no books, no bass websites. Pretty much the only ways were to listen to records, watch shows, and try to figure out what the heck the bass player was doing. Now, even though things have changed, it's still hard to find correct information. At least there are quite a few instructional DVDs available on the market, and from time to time, printed lessons also appear in bass magazines as well (read more about it here).
Bass player Didi Beck plays slap bass for Rockabilly band Boppin' B, that has been rocking big stages and music charts in Germany for a quarter of a century. Even though we live in times when information travels fast, few people outside of their home country have heard about him or his band. Didi is also a teacher that popularizes Rockabilly slap bass at various workshops. He recently released an instructional DVD and a book about this technique, which is what gained him a place here.
I'm proud to present to you, here on The Art of Slap Bass, for the first time ever:
Djordje: Hi Didi!
Congratulations on your first book "Rockabilly Slapbass - A Slight Introduction". How long did it take you to write it?
Didi: Hi Djordje. I first got the idea to write a book at about the same time we produced my DVD, "How to Learn The Rockabilly Slapbass". I transcribed all the lessons because we had planned to put the notation into the booklet of the DVD. We quickly realized that there would be too much material, so I decided to write a whole book. The writing itself only took several weeks. After the writing process, I started recording the CD which took about two weeks. I recorded it in my own small studio. After that, I started contacting some publishing houses to get the book released officially. From the first contact to my German publisher Artist Ahead, to the release date, it took nearly a year. Looking back, it was really a whole bunch of work, but I think the result was worth it.
Djordje: When did you start, and what inspired you, to play double bass?
Didi: I started playing double bass around 1987. In 1983 I saw the Stray Cats live in Germany. I was very impressed by Lee Rocker's sound, and his way of acting. At that time, I was only playing electric bass, but Lee Rocker was rocking the house much more than most of the electric players I knew then. Immediately I had a feeling like: "This is the real thing, this is the way to reach the heart of Rock’n’Roll!". Until then I had always thought that I could never afford an upright bass. In 1987 the guys from Boppin’B asked me to join the band, and they offered to let me play the upright that belonged to the band at that time. Of course I was very interested, so I quickly borrowed a video from the Stray Cats concert and took a crash course in slap bass playing because I had to play a concert with the band only four weeks later.
Djordje: Did your previous knowledge of the bass guitar prove helpful when you were learning to play upright bass?
Didi: Yes, indeed. I had practiced a lot on the bass guitar before, and I was the Level 42 kind of clone, which was typical at that time. I was used to the concept of playing bass like it was a drum, when you use the thumb for the bass drum and the snap for the snare. I was also a big fan of Pino Palladino a notable fretless bass player (some of you may know him from his work with Paul Young, or nowadays with John Mayer), so I practiced a lot on a cheap Ibanez fretless bass. As you can imagine, this was not bad for my intonation. And I had some theory background from playing fusion jazz on the bass guitar.
Djordje: How did you learn to play?
Didi: I had some local teachers for learning the bass guitar, but most of my skills, like slapping, were self taught. When I started playing the double bass I thought it would be necessary to learn all the basics from the start. I was lucky to meet Manfred Bründl, a well known German upright player, and I became his student. He taught me to play arco and pizzicato style, but, as I mentioned before, I had to learn the slap technique by myself. He found it very funny to hear the slap sound, and every time other musicians visited him, he would ask me to show them that "funny" way of playing. But I really must mention that he was (and surely still is) a very open minded person, and he was always interested in every kind of music. That was surely one of the most important things I learned from him. During the lessons we were not only playing but also talking about musical concepts and about how to achieve a good sound. Looking back, I think that was also very important.
After finishing high school I thought about studying bass in Mainz, Germany. Manfred helped me get prepared for the entrance examination, but two weeks prior, they changed the rules for the minor subject, piano. I ended up passing the bass examination, but failed in piano and ear training. To bridge the time to the next examination, I decided to study Musicology in Frankfurt. At that time it became clear for me that I preferred playing Rock’n’Roll, and that I really like to rock the stages. At the same time we decided to go professional with Boppin’B, so after only three semesters of Musicology in Frankfurt, I had to quit the university because we had over 200 concerts every year. I also worked as a teacher at the Rocksound Music School in Aschaffenburg with over 20 students every week. It became obvious that I couldn’t continue that way.
Djordje: I assume that you were studying classical music and jazz at the Conservatory and with Manfred Bründl. Do you ever play any of these styles nowadays?
Didi: Unfortunately not, and, to be honest, my arco skills are very poor nowadays. Maybe it would help to practice a little more again, but with all my activities, there is hardly enough time. I used to say that I will do that in my next life, because I love that way of playing too. Occasionally I get the opportunity to play a jazz gig, but only three or four times a year. I was playing more jazz when I was younger, especially on the electric bass, and that was more the kind of fusion jazz like you may know from bands like Yellowjackets and so on. But of course we could not be compared with these masters.
Djordje: How many instruments did you own, what are they and what do you currently use?
Didi: Ok, now we are leaving the world of normal human beings! I’m a bit crazy, and I’m not even a real collector. My main problem is that I fall in love with an instrument very quickly, and I can’t give away any instruments that I already own. Actually I have eleven uprights and 33 bass guitars.
Let's have a short overview at the bass guitars. Let's start with the Fender basses: I have 14 mostly vintage Fenders, and my two main axes are a '65 Jazz, and a lovely '68 Precision. I have 5 Bogart Basses (4/5/6-strings,fretted and fretless), two old Rickenbackers, two 5-string Music Man (fretted and fretless), a Wal 5-string fretless, a Ritter Classic 5-string, a Hot Wire Vintage Jazz 5-string, and different other nice basses.
Now let’s come to the uprights:
I have a very old (my luthier mentioned it to be nearly 200 years old, and says that it is a Vienna style instrument) Benjamin Patocka 4/4-Bass with a wonderful tone especially for playing pizzicato. It is strung with Thomastik Spirocore Weich and I have a Planet-Pickup on it.
I have an old (maybe 150 years) German bass, from the region around Schönbach, that is strung with Pirastro Flexochor, and I mostly use it for playing arco.
I have an old King Upright, strung with Lenzner gut strings, and with a pickup from the German Kontrabass Studio by Thomas Schmucker. That is the one I use, when I’m asked for traditional sounds like bluegrass. That bass is perfect to play and you can hear it on the short video I did for the Art of Slap Bass.
I have an Engelhardt Swingmaster strung with Slap strings from Thomas Schmucker. I use that one for acoustic gigs.
I have three nice old Framus Basses, mostly strung with Pyramid gut-strings.
But my main instruments are the following:
I have two kay M1-Modells and the newer one (maybe 1958) is my main bass in the studio. Both are strung with Pirastro Oliv strings, and I use a combination of a Shadow SH 951 for the tone and a Shadow sh 2500 for the click. The 1958 is the perfect Rockabilly Bass for me, because the playability is perfect and the sound is unbelievably fat and warm. When I played that one the first time it was like coming home. This is what I would call my island bass, the last thing I would ever sell!
On live gigs with Boppin’B I use an eastern German 4/4 Bass with a massive top and strung with Pyramid gut strings. The PUs are the same as on the Kays, and that instrument has also great playability but is also very robust, and if you ever saw me acting live, you know what I mean. And no matter what stage we play (and we frequently play bigger stages) its sound is deep, fat and punchy (That’s the way I like it). And I have a backup for that bass but that one is totally plywood, and hasn’t that same big sound.
Djordje: You regularly play gut and steel strings. Does your playing style change at all and how would you describe the difference in the sound?
Didi: Actually, it's not difficult for me to say what I prefer at which time. Playing live on big stages I prefer gut strings, because they give me the sound I want to hear in that situation. I tried Thomastik Weichs and the Pirastro Oliv strings, but it wasn’t the same, and didn’t fit in well with the bands sound.
In the studio the situation is totally different, and here I prefer the Oliv strings because they give me warmth I like to have in my sound, but also a little more concrete tone. Before I had the Oliv strings I had a set of unknown strings on my Kay. I liked that sound very much, but the strings were on the bass when I bought it, and so they must have been over 20 years old and in the end they became stiffer and stiffer, so I decided to check out something new. Indeed, I normally play strings until they break. It's not about money, I just like the sound of old strings!
When I play gut strings, I prefer the Pyramids, because they are a little bit thicker than most of the other gut strings I've tested, and I prefer that feeling. Sometimes I play Lenzner (because of the price). I also played a set of Efrano strings some years ago, which were not bad. And before I forget it: I prefer gut string sets with a wound E string; the tone of an unwound E is too weak for me.
I've tested a whole lot of strings over the years, like Velvets, Labellas (different sets), D’addarios, Innovations, Prestos (different sets) and so on. But as I described before, I play the Thomastik Spirocore Weich, and mostly the Pirastro Oliv strings. On one of the Framus basses are Jargar medium strings and I think these ones are also good strings for slapping. They tend to sound warm too.
Djordje: What came first, pizzicato, arco or slap and how did you learn the slap technique?
Didi: I started with the slap because of the special situation, but soon after that I also started playing pizzicato. It came quite naturally to me, surely because of my bass guitar experiences. When I started playing pizzicato, I remembered a conversation with an old upright player who had told me that playing with as much ‘flesh’ of the fingers as possible would achieve a bigger tone, and so that became the way I started to play pizzicato style. I didn’t start playing arco until I was a student of Manfred Bründl some months later.
I learned the slap technique by watching a video of the Stray Cats in concert on German TV (‘Rockpalast’ must have been from 1983) and by listening to old Bill Haley and Elvis Sun Sessions records. And I got some information in a German music magazine (Das Fachblatt) where there was an interview with the Stray Cats. It was hard at that time to get information about the slap technique. I only knew one player at the time, he was part of a Chicago style blues band so when I asked him for some information, he only told me: “Check it out for yourself”. Not very helpful! But he couldn’t prevent me from watching him very closely during their concerts! And of course I went to every rockabilly concert possible. At that time it was not that easy, because the scene was not as big as it is nowadays.
Djordje: Historically there is a lot of confusion about names for different slap patterns. In your book you used the same terminology written in the AOSB article "Basic Slap Patterns" (except "gallop", that Beck calls "Country Slap"). Are there any other type of slap patterns that you use, and what do you call them?
Didi: Yes, I frequently use the so called drag slap (or roll slap) as you describe it on your homepage. As I'd never read anything about that technique before, I used to use the term ‘galloping horse’ for a long time when I introduced it to my students. Now I would call it drag slap. ‘Slow Down’ from High Noon is a nice example for that sound (Kevin Smith is a great player anyway). I had heard that sound a long time ago by a good Dutch rockabilly trio (The Chevy Cats) but although they were nice guys, they didn’t give me information about that technique when I asked them. So I tried it out my own way, and during the first years I did that technique like a variation of the slapping on the bass guitar. First slapping the tone, then producing the first click by hitting the board with the fingers, and at last slapping the strings with the thumb, but I don’t play that variation any longer because I prefer the other one. Some years ago an old country upright player showed me a nice little trick to simulate the sound of a brushed snare by sliding over the strings with the right hand before producing the slap. I’m sure that this is not new for most of the players in the USA, but in Germany I only saw it one time (by that old player).
Djordje: Who are your bass and, more specifically, your slap influences?
Didi: My first inspiration was, of course, Lee Rocker from the Stray Cats, and I still like his way of playing the upright very much. He may not be the flashy kind of player, as you can see from their youtube videos, but I think he has a great sense of playing the right basslines to bring a song along. I also like his songwriting very much, so you can surely say that I’m a kind of fan.
And is there any serious slap bass player who wouldn’t mention Willie Dixon as an influence? Nowadays, I would call him my biggest influence; I think that most of the players that inspired me in the first years were influenced by what he did. In my opinion, he had an unbelievable feel for groove and tone. I also have to name Marshall Llyte (Bill Haley) and Jarrod Coombes (The Keytones) who were also great inspiration on the upright bass.
Some years ago I discovered a band called ‘The Fabulous Hedgehogs’ and their bass player. Unfortunately, I only know that he is currently known as the artist ‘That 1 Guy’. He was very impressive, and still is. Anyone curious should check out ‘That 1 Guy’. Great slap bass stuff.
I also have to name some electric players like James Jamerson (same as Willie Dixon for the upright, and beside his great work on the electric, he is a notable upright player), Flea, Les Claypool, Pino Palladino, Mark King, and so on.
Djordje: Do you like any slap players nowadays?
Didi: Of course, there are so many good players nowadays, that it is hard only to name a few, but I will try to give you a short listing: Jimbo Wallace, Kevin Smith, Mark Winchester, Steve Whitehouse, Viorel Vlad (Taraf de Haidouks), Jimmy Sutton, Kim Nekroman (people usually judge him just on his great right hand technique, but he plays some good bass lines as well), Valle, Felix Wiegand (Dick Brave), Thomas Lorioux (Kings of Nuthin’), Geoff Kresge, Djordje Stijepovic), and tons of other great guys all around the world. If I hear a player, and I can recognize that he has the basics you need for playing a good slap bass, I’m always interested in how he organizes his lines. I think you can learn something from nearly everyone -- things that he has, and you don’t.
Djordje: When you started playing music professionally, you played with many bands. These days you're pretty busy with you main one - Boppin' B. Do you have time to play with some other people as well?
Didi: We had years when we played around two hundred concerts just with Boppin’B (we have played more than 4500 concerts until now). At this time we play around 170 concerts every year, and I still regularly teach. There is hardly any time to play in other projects, but I miss that because there is so much other interesting music I would like to play. On the other hand, I have to admit that it is very special to have a band working together for such a long time (our singer is the "rookie" in the band, he joined us 15 years ago), and still having fun every night we go out on stage. The decision to play only with Boppin’ B was definitely the right one.
When I’m asked to play as a sub or in the studio, I try hard to make it possible, which means that I play with other rock’ n’ roll or rockabilly bands several times a year. I have done recording sessions for small bands like Phonodrive, for a well known blues guitarist called Toscho Todorovic, for a very good German singer called Markus Rill. Nowadays I’m mostly asked to play upright, because they like how I play live; I always give all my heart and soul, no matter where and when.
During Carneval some of the guys from Boppin’B, including me, play a great special concert in our hometown, Aschaffenburg. Its like a bad-taste-variation of a top 40-band and I play bass guitar. If you want to see some photos, you can find them here. But don’t take that too seriously, it is just for fun!
Djordje: In the early 1980's you played bass guitar in a German pop rock band Pas de Bas. How much of your work today includes playing bass guitar?
Didi: Good research! Have you seen the video? Come and have a laugh, and check out the bass player's nice trousers. Originally we were a metal band, but when EMI gave us an opportunity, we couldn’t say no. We were young and looking for adventures and we laughed a lot during that project.
Unfortunately I hardly play bass guitar live nowadays, but my teaching activities include about 50% bass guitar work. I think that bass guitar playing and the upright playing interact. And of course I never stop practicing on the bass guitar.
Djordje: You've been playing with Boppin' B for almost 25 years and you've always had very prominent bass sound. But, solos like in Drive My Car are very rare. Do you play more solos live or is that not something that you're focused on?
Didi: There may be two reasons for that: First of all, we have a guitar player who is a real big fan of Brian Setzer. Now how many bass solos do you hear during a Brian Setzer concert or on a CD? I can´t remember more than one, and that was when he had a player like Mark Winchester on his side! So, if I’m lucky, and the crowd is forcing us to, I may have two solos in one concert, instead of one. And I have to be honest, I’m not the kind of guy who needs that. Especially on CD, I sometimes think there is too much solo work (especially from guitar players and particularly on the newer Brian Setzer CDs). If one likes that, it's ok, but I’m more interested in playing the perfect bass line to support the song. Besides that, most producers and live technicians cannot handle a bass solo. You mentioned Drive My Car earlier; here is a nice example of what usually happens: I was asked to play a solo 5 minutes before I did it, and I had exactly two takes, because it was at the end of the session and time was running out. Don’t ask me how much time we took to record the guitar solos! In my opinion the bass is definitely not loud enough for a solo. But still, what always happens is an everlasting fight with the technicians like: Hey, you have a great sound and I will get that curious click sound filtered out at last! Aaargh!
Djordje: Boppin' B is very well known band in Germany, but not a lot of people outside of your home country are familiar with your music. You even had some major hits on the charts there, like the cover of Sasha's (AKA Dick Brave) song If You Believe, which is very rare for Rockabilly bands nowadays. Do you tour outside of Germany at all?
Didi: Indeed we are mostly popular in Germany, but we frequently tour in Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Denmark, and sometimes in France and Belgium. We also had concerts in the Netherlands, Italy, Croatia and Spain, and we actually played one concert in Phoenix, Arizona. But don’t ask me where it was, because I was unbelievably tired. We had had a concert in Germany, went directly to the airport afterwards, arrived in Phoenix after a long flight, and after some hours of sleep we went directly to the concert. After the concert we went back to the airport, because we had the next dates in Germany. We played there together with the Coasters and Sister Sledge, but that’s basically all I remember. In all these countries we usually play at open air festivals and in clubs, but hardly ever at Rockabilly festivals. This may be a reason why we are not so well known outside of Germany. We were well established in Germany before our charts entries, but the major label support surely helped us get more popular.
Djordje: I can relate to that experience. Recently I had to fly from Belgrade, Serbia to Los Angeles to play a 5 minute show and come back to Belgrade very next day. I didn't know what time of the day or night it was... You have told me before that you'd like to do a solo album. What kind of album would that be and how much focus would be on your slap technique?
Didi: Beside playing bass I love writing songs, but not all of them are suitable for Boppin’ B, so I have a drawer full of unused songs. I figured, why not make a solo album? But don’t worry, I think I will work with a singer, because my voice may be good for street punk sounds or producing demos, but it is surely not the right one for the sound I’m looking for. It will not be a strict rockabilly record, because those kind of songs will be used by the band. I think you will hear a lot of my musical influences of the last 30 years and it will not be a record to show off how fast and tricky I can play. I’m always interested in finding good unusual grooves, and there is nothing wrong with a fast, tricky bassline, but only if it works with the song. The way I write a song is: First the melody and the lyrics, then the harmonies and the rhythm. But I can promise you one thing, there will be more than one bass solo on that album!
Djordje: How do you like to record your upright bass?
Didi: The main signal you hear from my bass is from a condenser microphone, mostly a Neumann U 87 (I have one of my own), or, if available, a Brauner VM 1 (great microphone of course). One time we tried a Royer R121, which was also very good. We also record the two pickup signals, and I run the SH 951 through an Avalon U5-Preamp. Before I had the Avalon I used a cheap Peavey tube preamp (Peavey Alpha-bass pre amp), which I also use live. Sometimes we use a boundary layer microphone to get some room-sound. If possible, I try to prevent sound barriers. I think that the sound isn’t as good as without them, and when we record live, we are working with a studio with more than one booth.
Djordje: What songs that you recorded would you recommend to bass players that are interested in your slap technique?
Didi: Hm, as you mentioned before, there is hardly any flashy kind of playing on our CDs, but I would recommend the following songs to gain some insight to my style of playing:
-Drive My Car, If You Believe (both from the album ‘Bop Around the Pop’)
-I’m So Excited, Neulich in der Prärie (from the album ‚Go’)
-It Ain’t That Bad (single‚ If You Believe’ B side)
-Küss Mich (single ‘Pack die Badehose ein’ B side)
Djordje: Are there any touring plans outside of Germany?
Didi: Yes, we are looking forward to our first tour in England this summer. The agency told us that there is a fixed date on the ‘Beautiful Days’ Festival in Devon in August, and they are working on some club shows around that date. We have some fixed dates in Switzerland, in summer we will play at the ‘Donauinselfestival’-Festival in Vienna, Austria, and we will definately play a club show also there, in fall or in winter, and we will try to get a show in Zagreb, Croatia, where we had a very good concert two years ago. We have been asked to play at a rockabilly festival in Finland, but actually I don’t know if that will work. And we have a club-show in Luxembourg. If you are interested to find out where we play, have a look at our website or myspace. But indeed we are looking for more shows outside of Germany, and we will work on that, so if anybody is interested, you are welcome to contact us. There is really no limit for us.
Djordje: What are your preferences for amps and pickups?
Didi: When I started playing slap bass, nobody could give me any information about a good upright pickup. I started with a cheap Schaller magnetic pickup, but that piece of crap broke off the fingerboard every month, so I looked for something new. At that time I had just discovered the Shadow SH 950 pickup, and for the click I used the SH2500. Since then I have tried nearly every pickup system there is on the market, and some of them are really great when you play arco or pizzicato, or you need a very ‘acoustic’ sound (but in my opinion the best acoustic sound can be reached by using a big condenser microphone like Miroslav Vitous does it). I always come back to the Shadow system. It is cheap and it works very well, when it is well mounted (this is a really very important point!). As I told you before, we often play on bigger stages, and with none of the other systems was I able to get that fat punchy sound I like so much. But it is true, if you have a different instrument, other strings, a different amp, drink a different sort of beer... then you may find your sound with another pickup system. And to tell the whole truth, I have played these pickups for over 20 years, and three years ago they gave me an endorsement. All the time before, I had to pay for them. I am actually working with Shadow on a brand new preamp system with a lot of very interesting features.
When it comes to amps, I can say that I have been a big fan of Ampeg for the last 15 years. I started with an SVT II pro and the 8x10 speaker cabinet, but after some years it was definitely too heavy for 200 concerts every year, and I switched to an Ampeg SVT IV pro and two JM Audio B-848 speaker cabinets (Wizzard used them too). I would still play that system if Thomas Eich from Tecamp had not offered me an endorsement. When I checked out the Black Cat-amp (all tube pre amp, 1000 W digital power amp, only 16 pounds) and the L 810 (8x10”speaker, 75 pounds) I found my latest love, and also our roadie has had a nice smile on his face since then.
But please let me say something more about the term ‘sound’. Sometimes I take a look at all those ‘bass-bulletin-boards’ in the web, and I’m mostly surprised about what people discuss there. Some people take this stuff too seriously, as if it were a religion. Hey, everybody has got his own style, his own way of playing, his own way of hearing. Everybody is looking for his own sound but I sometimes have the feeling that some of those people take this too seriously. It's great to work with good equipment, but to speak from my own experience, the best way to improve your sound is to practice (and I think you will agree that this is also a very inexpensive way).
Djordje: Do you use any other equipment when playing live?
Didi: Not live, I only play around with some footstompers and 19”gear at home. I have an ESB octaver, a Boss AW-Touch Wah, a DBX 160A compressor, an Hughes & Kettner Tubeman and an Akai Deep Impact bass synthesizer, and sometimes it's fun to check out crazy sounds with that.
Djordje: Slap bass is a very intense way of playing. Do you do any wrist stretches or other type of warm ups before the show?
Didi: Normally not. I think my right hand is well trained. I played basketball very extensively until the age of 16, and after that I was hitting the shit out of my bass guitar by slapping, as hard as I could, so I never had any problems with my hands. Sometimes in winter, when its very cold in the venue, I do some small warm ups, or use things like tiger balm. But I know that some of my students have problems and I’m always telling them not to start practicing with fast psychobilly licks. I suggest to play scales very slow, to warm up, and to have some breaks during a long practise session, and to have a coffee.
Djordje: You've been teaching for a long time. What do you teach and how much of your instructional work includes slap bass?
Didi: To be honest, most of my upright students contact me to learn slap bass. I think that the main reason is the popularity of my band, in combination with my teaching skills. Indeed I never heard of a professional slap bass instructor in Germany before I started teaching that, so the students come from all over Germany.
Most of my instructional work on the upright is about slap bass. But after a year or a little more I try to encourage my students to discover new musical styles, and I teach them more and more harmonics, rhythmical aspects, and of course, a good pizzicato technique. Indeed I love practicing scales, and I always show my students ways to exercise them, not only the classical way up and down. Why not play them musically with some rhythmical variations for example. And after some more time we try to work on some kind of an own style of playing. I ask them things like: Why not play ‘Sex Machine’ from James Brown on slap bass, and we work that out. My main goal is to give them as much as possible, and I think most of my students are infected by my enthusiasm about music in general and bass playing in particular. And I have to note that I've never had a student that asked me for arco playing with the exception of my son.
Djordje: Occasionally you do slap bass workshops and you recorded an instructional DVD as well. Do you plan to do a follow up?
Didi: Hm, I thought about it, but I don’t know if I will be able to do this in the near future. Actually I’m currently writing a Boppin’B bass songbook (I have been asked for that frequently). I had planned to write a book with the bass lines of some popular rockabilly bands, but my publisher mentioned that it would be much too expensive, to get the rights for a book like that. Next thing on the agenda would be to translate my DVD into English, but first we have to release the new Boppin’ B album, play the 170 concerts a year, teach my stundents regularly, do some workshops, and beside all that I’m married and have two sons. So you can see that it may take some time to do a follow up.
Djordje: What do you suggest to younger players to practice on a daily basis?
Didi: First of all, I would recommend to not start with fast lines. Give your hands some time to warm up. Normally I recommend playing scales as first exercise, then to continue the training with some rhythmical things. I also recommend practicing with a metronome, drum machine, or what would be perfect, with a sequencer that can give you rhythm and chords for example. This is what I would call obligatory, and at the end to play along with some tracks you like, just to have fun. I think this is also very important, especially for those players who are doing it ‘only’ as a hobby.
Djordje: Both of your sons are bass players. The older one is a bassist in a rockabilly band Danny and the Wonderbras and he recently became a bassist for the Buddy Holly musical. Are you their main teacher or you suggest them to take lessons from other bassists?
Didi: I suggested that they take lessons from other people, but they didn’t want to until now. I taught my younger son to play the drums until he changed to the bass. The older one started by playing the piano, but I think both of them were inspired by seeing me having so much fun playing the bass. And of course any time we talked about music at home, I told them that playing bass is the best thing one can do! Naturally, our home is filled with instruments (mostly basses), so it seemed obvious to them to play that thing too.
Djordje: Thank you for finding time to do this interview and hope to see you play in the USA sometime soon!
Didi: I want to thank you for your interest in my work and for the great support. It is a great honor for me to be introduced on the Art of Slap Bass. I also want to say thank you for everything you do for the rockabilly slap bass.
If you want to ask Didi a question, you can do that on our forum here.
Official Didi Beck's Website
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