Rajoe’s Lesson#6 // Richard Bona – Dina Lam


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Chord time with Richard Bona (and me, haha)! At www.digthatbass.com, you can freely download this lesson in Guitarpro format after a free registration!

You know, I was fortunate enough to see Richard Bona several times live (he kind of likes Hungary and (allegedly) our national dish, Gulasch as well) and I even attended a free clinic by him – and all I can say that he is such a great soulful musician. Yeah, he is funny and yeah, he rips the bass but he is more a musician to me than a bass player. Why am I saying that? I may not like all of his music, but why I love him is that how he always remains humble to MUSIC itself. Just watch this, or that! Playful, humorous, emotional, and simply amazing. And he has come a long way. He knows the flashy stuff – but he treats it like flashy stuff. Have you seen this for example? He plays here with Joe Zawinul and he really gets angry in the middle of his solo piece and then plays a bunch of very fast licks and the audience stops talking and start clapping. See what I mean? He does the same thing now, but instead of staying angry, he made a shift and learned to turn the bad thing that irritated him into a good one, and with a little humor he managed to reach an intimate contact with the audience through his “performance”. So, I really think highly of him in that manner.

Dina Lam is a beautiful example of his music, talents and skills, it is a really fun song to learn. and here we go with the bass intro! The main chord used in the intro is an FmAdd9 (derived from the first four notes: F-C-G-G#) and it is embellished with notes of the Fm scale – all the notes used are part of the Fm scale and the top F note is left to ring out through out the second bar. I guess, second bar could also be identified as a C#Maj9/Cm or an Fm7 but for me, it is much easier to think of it as simply variations of Fm.

The right hand is using a 3 finger picking pattern – if you are not used it, it is a good starting exercise, on the video you can clearly see the picking part.

The left hand dexterity and stamina is put to great test in this excerpt. Here, I have to note that this one is possibly harder than it seems, especially, when you go slow. Chording on the bass can be physically hard sometimes. Usually, the chord-type bass players have their basses set up with very low action and very light strings – that makes it easy to play complicated finger pattern chords as well.

I don’t know about your bass, but I am neither having light strings or my action low, so this time, I have really felt that my bass really should be set up properly – holding down those chords in the half-speed version really hurt towards the end, I am sure you can hear that some notes are kind of choked….to be honest, I usually tweak around my bass by myself but I never took it out to a professional guy, but I guess it is high time now! :) Anyway, that being said, if you are new, or not really accustomed to playing chords, don’t push too hard and don’t bust your fingers and joints, since this can be a demanding piece.

You really have to experiment with a left-hand and finger position that suits you best – you have to hold down notes to ring out while doing pull-offs. I can tell you no magic formula, as we have different hand and finger sizes, but if you watch my hands on the video, I placed my left hand in a way, that the tip of my left-index is just barely fretting the F note on the E string – that way, I could divert my index-strength to the other 3 strings below and make them ring throughout the second/fourth/sixth bar. You can also experiment with shifting tension from the top of your index to the root of your index in the second/fourth/sixth bar.

You can also notice that there is a slight mistake at 0.19.I left it there intentionally. In order to strain my fingers less, I figured that at the end of every second bar, I can relax my left-index for a very short time without interrupting the line – that way i win some stamina and prepare my fingers for the next round. The mistake is that I actually lifted my left-index, so the note did not ring out – what you can learn from this is that you can make your life easier by coming up with personal tricks (a bit of resting at every second bar) and you have to do it right :)

The video does not intend to violate any laws or copyrights, it is to be used for educational purposes (fair use). The original song is available for purchase and listening at:



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