If you’re a fan of bass and you weren’t at Atlanta Bass Gallery on 10 January, you missed this year’s first clinic. Jim Rubio, owner of Atlanta Bass Gallery, hosted Nashville based Adam Nitti for an afternoon of music and education. In addition to a full afternoon of clinic-type stuff, Adam answered questions and demonstrated techniques for the packed house. Sponsored by Ibanez Guitars, Aguilar Amplification, D’Addario Strings, and Planet Waves, the afternoon ended with a “something for everyone” giveaway and several highly coveted private lesson sessions.
Adam Nitti is a bassist, producer, composer, and music educator. He has worked with an extremely diverse collection of artists, including: the Dave Weckl Band, Steven Curtis Chapman, Susan Tedeschi, Mandisa, the Jeff Coffin Mu’tet, Casting Crowns, Victor Wooten, Justice League, Heather Headley, Savannah Outen, Josh Bates, Avalon, Angie Aparo, Shane Theriot, Scott Henderson, Peter Erskine, Chris Tomlin, Jimmy Herring, Mike Stern, Kirk Covington, Wayne Krantz, Joe Beck, Deborah Brown, and many others. His musical experiences have contributed to his involvement in the Nashville recording scene, and he has more recently become more involved in producing independent artists. Adam is the brains and talent behind Adam Nitti Music Education, an interactive online music school. He is also a staff instructor for Victor Wooten’s bass and nature camps and Gerald Veasley’s Bass Boot Camps.
I have known Adam for a couple of years after meeting him at Gerald Veasley’s Bass Boot Camp in 2013. He’s a genuinely nice guy with a very approachable demeanor and easy to understand teaching methods. After opening the clinic with a selection from his just-released album “Not of This World,” Adam immediately opened the floor to questions from the attendees. Learning was more of an interactive discussion than a lecture with the group talking about groove, simplicity, playing with drummers, and practice.
“When you’re playing with a drummer, sometimes the best thing to play isn’t always the most obvious thing,” Nitti said, “You want to play with the drummer, not against the drummer.” As he was making this point, Adam played a progression of basslines against a drum track, demonstrating how a bassist can follow the simplest form of compliment, playing one or two notes with the kick or bass drum, and gradually adding more notes into the musical space to create a rich, full sound that is pleasing to the listener, communicates the composer’s emotions, and isn’t harmonically discordant.
Several people in the group had questions about practice, and Adam shared that he always practices. He doesn’t always practice the same things, but he stressed the importance of practice, even when a lot of his live performances are improvised on the spot to fit the mood and the audience.
“I call these focus forms, and I’ve been practicing them for years so these sweeps don’t sound like sneakers in the dryer when I play them live,” said Adam, as he demonstrated the practice technique he uses to improve a “sweep” fingering technique on the fretboard that he “borrowed shamelessly” from the guitar player world.
The day was a great success, with a packed house at Atlanta Bass Gallery, and the opportunity to meet all kinds of new people in the local musical world. If you’re a bassist in Atlanta, and you haven’t yet been to Atlanta Bass Gallery, you need to get up to their sweet little store at 1465 Chattahoochee Avenue Northwest #600, and check out the wonderful selection of basses and amplifiers they have in the store. Tell Jim I said ‘Hello!’ Small specialty stores that cater to bassists are few and far between, so let’s show them some love when we have them in our town.
No matter where you are in the country, watch for Adam Nitti to come to your town. He’s been touring with Jeff Coffin and the Mu’tet recently, and will also be at this year’s Gerald Veasley’s Bass Boot Camp from March 13-15, 2015, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Last, but not least, let’s all send a huge round of thanks to the amazing companies who sponsor events like this and provide the wonderful goodies to give away. To D’Addario Strings, Planet Waves, Ibanez Guitars, and Aguilar Amplification – we really appreciate everything you do for musicians around the world. THANK YOU!!!