One of the most important concepts for a bass player to know is his/her number system. The bass, not only holds down the foundation, but in many cases, the bass determines the root chord. Keyboard players will tell you all the time, that when they learn a song, they listen for the bass note first. This is why knowing your number system is paramount. No other instrument needs the number system like the bass. This is why Ivan spends the first part of the DVD teaching the number system as it relates to scale degrees and its practical application in a live setting. And of course we teach you the basic major and minor scales as well as their fingerings.

Other than knowing your scale degree, you also have to know you popular progressions as well. Knowing your progressions and knowing how to recognize them are the keys to bass playing. Ivan spends time in the beginning of the DVD to go over the popular progressions so you’ll be able to hear them and play them. The best part is that Ivan teaches the progressions in the context of the number system, so that the entire DVD builds upon one concept after the other.


Here is where we get into the meat of the DVD with teaching you bass techniques. Remember though, the DVD is called “Urban” bass techniques, so all of the lessons will be in the context of urban music such as gospel, soul, jazz, and R&B. These are the secret techniques that are used in the industry and are sure to immediately change your sound. Some of the techniques include:

Slap/Pop – Gives you a funky feel and is essential for any bass player.

Fingerering - Learn the proper way to actually finger the frets and each variation

Muting (thumb) – Change the timbre to add more feeling and variations to your playing. Also used with Jamaican stlye

Flam (double pop) – More “flavor” techniques to create

Vibrato (Bending) – Add more feeling to your playing and used in soloing.

Picking – You actually can use a pick with your bass to give you that urban rock feel.

Ghost Notes - Percussive movements for flavor and feeling.

Magic 5ths Substitution – Bass root substitution techniques to instantly change the feel of a song by changing the root.


We could not leave out a good strong worship. Ivan expresses the importance of pedaling during worship. Pedaling is such an important aspect in worship because it allows the bass player to change the character and intensity of worship just by pedaling on special sweet spot notes. Pedaling techniques in worship will totally change the atmosphere as a bass player with these subtle changes. Ivan also shows you the secret of root substitutions in worship on certain progressions to really enhance the worship experience. These movements are sublte but very powerful when done correctly.

Ghost notes are rhythmic/percussive tricks you would use to add expression, realism, and flavor to your playing. Ivan answers the questions: Why, When, What, and How to apply ghost notes to enhance your playing.

Anyone who knows us at Gospel Musicians and has been familiar with Ivan Santiago any length of time, know that we love the Neo Soul art form. As a result, this DVD would not be complete if Ivan didn’t show you his secret “Sluggin” technique to neo soul.



Harmonics are a difficult concept to grasp as a bass player. The key is to know where to place it and why? Harmonics are an awesome way to add more flavor and substance to your playing, but must be used sparingly and tastefully. If you ever wondered how to really perform harmonics well, then Ivan breaks it down step by step. He takes his time showing you where the harmonics can be found on the bass and what corresponding note each harmonic corresponds to. He then shows you some practical uses on how to use the harmonics in a real song/band situation. Finally, he gives you a harmonic rendition of Amazing Grace using all harmonics and teaches you each and every note.

“Remember that a bass is a polyphonic instrument.” This means that you can play chords just like a keyboard player would. Many bass players only stick to the real of one-note movements and totally forget that the bass is a polyphonic instrument that can play chords as well. Ivan breaks down his approach to chording. Once again he teaches the why, how, when, and what’s of bass chording. Many of you have often wondered how to form chords that are melodic and sound like they fit. Now, Ivan teaches you this very important aspect to bass playing.


Now you now our favorite is gospel as we all are gospel musicians and we could not leave the gospel cats out. Ivan Santiago actually played with the Chambers Singers and actually had a feature solo on BET for his bass quartet skills, so Ivan knows his quartet. The problem with playing fast shouting and quartet is the fingering. Ivan spends a significant amount of time teaching you the proper fingering techniques in playing fast shouting music on the bass. Remember, there are several variations to playing the same shout, but some can be much more difficult to perform than another. Ivan clearly shows you how to increase your speed as well as what fingering to use when running a fast shout.

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