Bassic Technique, 7th Edition


I use a highly codified method of teaching technique in my bass studio.  It consists of seven steps.  The first step is suitable for a serious bassist in their second year of study, and the seventh step is suitable for a graduate student.  I value memorization of scale and arpeggio fingerings, and expect my students to demonstrate mastery of the fingerings in each step and the tempo, bowing, and slurring techniques I specify for scale practice in each level.  The contents can be summarized as follows:

  • A chart that details a seven step technique development process from an intermediate player (junior high/high school technique) to professional player.  Scales (all major, minor, and modal scales are addressed), left hand technique, speed, vibrato, double stops, etc. are all addressed.  The chart refers to specific exercises that are the contents of the book.
  • Scale fingerings are presented in a manner that allows the student to memorize all 12 major scale fingerings within a day or two.  Three varieties of major scales fingerings are presented (with open strings, without open strings, and a universal fingerings that works for all major scales except E and F major).   Each of the minor modes is presented as well.
  • Arpeggio fingerings are also presented in a manner that allows the student to memorize all twelve major and/or minor arpeggios within a day or two.
  • Many technique drills that develop tone, left hand speed, hand shape, thumb position, intonation, agility, strength, and accuracy.  Most drills are based on scales or arpeggio work, but several exist outside of particular keys.

If you are interested in receiving a copy, please send me an email at letting me know you want one, and send a check for $20 made out to Paul Sharpe.  I am also happy to receive payment electronically by your favorite method.  My address is  Or send it to me at UNCSA – School of Music, 1533 S. Main St., Winston-Salem, NC 27127.  They are nice, spiral bound volumes with a vinyl cover, and cost me about $15 to make.  I charge $20  to cover the cost of putting them together plus postage.



Pedagogical Videos

Several years ago I filmed about twenty videos at D’Addario designed to be helpful to fledgling bassists.  Since then they have become very popular, with tens of thousands of views.  Here are links to each of them:

What size double bass should I get?

Purchasing a double bass

Should I learn the bass standing or sitting?

Getting comfortable with the double bass

Should I play the French or German bow?

Left hand exercises to develop strength, ease, and agility

Introduction to the French bow hold

The French bow hold, Part II

Introduction to the German bow hold

Introduction to endpin styles

Learning how to play the bass while standing

Creating a beautiful left hand position on the double bass

Introduction to half position on the double bass

Getting your best sound on the double bass

Harmonics on the double bass

How to tune using harmonics

An introduction to shifting on the double bass

An introduction to thumb position

Different bass methods for the double bass