Bass Player Rick Bass[This post was written by guest contributor Lorna Earnshaw, a singer-songwriter and vocal coach now living in Los Angeles after years in Argentina and Brazil.]

Ok, you can play music. But are you actually GREAT?

Are you so good that you can be considered a PROFESSIONAL MUSICIAN?

If you’re looking for some simple advice on how to take your instrumental skills to the next level, check out what Dr. Abraham Laboriel, the most widely recorded session bassist since 1971, has to say on the matter in the short video below.

Laboriel has recorded with stars like Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Christina Aguilera, Lionel Richie, Madonna, Al Jarreau, Miles Davis and many others. (For sure you’ve listened to his crazy bass lines in Disney Soundtracks such us Frozen!).

He has been (almost) everywhere and played with (almost) everybody, which is why he’s well qualified to offer his advice on how to achieve a professional level of playing technique that also comes from the heart.

As a starting point, Laboriel recalls Charlie Parker’s famous instructions to be a great musician:

1. Learn all your scales

2. Learn all your chords

3. Learn all your melodies, then….

4. When the time comes to make music, forget EVERYTHING and JUST MAKE MUSIC!

Make music from your heart and communicate (which requires intense listening).

Laboriel also says that one of the most important things for making great music is your SENSE OF TIME (particularly true of bass players, but relevant to all instrumentalists).

He says you should be able to be comfortably play:

1. on the click, exactly in time with the metronome

2. behind the metronome

3. ahead of the metronome

Can you groove in all those pockets? If not, time to get your metronome out again and work on your timing and feel.


Dr. Abraham Laboriel is an active bass recording artist in Los Angeles, and he is the Dean of the Bass Department at the Cornel School of Contemporary Music (Shepherd University). Visit their website for info about upcoming music scholarships:

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