Our BLP Legend for the month of September is Drazen Dragovic! While a fairly new bass player ( started playing the bass around 2020 ), Drazen is already an experienced flamenco player giving him a great foundation when it comes to finger speed and dexterity. This has also helped him improve drastically in the Bass Guitar in such a short period of time!
Also, Drazen is one of the most active members of the BLP community so you’ll usually see him in Challenges, community discussions as well as competitions. Learn more about Drazen’s bass playing journey with eBassGUitar below
James: Hey Guys I wanna welcome you to this month’s BLP Legend; it’s Drazen Dragovic. Drazen has been with us for about 2 years or so, and to the best of my knowledge, he is our only Croatian bass guitar student. I’ve watched him make some fabulous progress over the past couple of years.
He started off as a flamenco guitarist which means he had quite a lot of technique already and I’ve watched him transition to a bass player. Tells us a little bit of your back story and how you became a bass player.
Drazen: Long story short, I started to play guitar when I was 11. I played in a band in primary school then in the army for 1 year. Flamenco was where I started to learn in some school in Spain. It’s a school for flamenco dancing and playing and they are really excellent musicians and teachers. I started to go there in 2009 and had been there 7 times. I spent up to 5 weeks learning flamenco and hanging out with players, dancers and so on.
This is the opportunity where I made pretty good technique of left and right hand. Before that I was also playing in open tunings, finger picking etc. This is maybe where I got the basic skills before I started the bass.
With the bass, I think I joined eBassGuitar in May 2020. I started to play bass 3 months before. Some people ask why; it was COVID and I felt that the lower register makes me feel calm. This, and maybe the long neck and the other tones of the bass; it was intuitive rather than rationally.
I’ve seen your Van Morrison Moondance and Jaco’s Chicken videos. I found that I could easily cope with your advice, and this is what made me join eBassGuitar.
J: So you’ve been through a bunch of our programs like Accelerators, Challenges and also a great member of the BLP. Could you tell us how different the bass is from flamenco and classical/folk guitar.
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D: In May 2020, there was the Walking Bass Challenge where I joined. I think it was a crossroads for me; a mind opener. I think you made a very good program. I remember Kevin told me don’t underestimate these basics. When we find all the notes in the different strings, first horizontally then vertically then finding patterns, I got familiar with the different parts of the neck. This is very very good; the notes, the intervals, the patterns. Acoustically and visually it came together.
After 3 months of playing, you chose me as the most improved Bass Guitar Player. It was only 3 months of my playing and I consider it a great win that pushed me forward.
After that, I started to communicate more with Terry, Merle, Kev; we started making a lot of videos. In the past 2 years I think I’ve recorded about 50 videos; I think this is due to the educational roots you have given to us.
I also joined the Blues Accelerator which you organized with Greg and Roger. Greg was my mentor and it felt like every one of us has our own mentors and I would say it was a very good combination of 3 talented teachers and we learned a lot about the blues and things.
I book some of your books about theory and I think this is a huge progress because I was mostly an ear player and I would say this is the best I can best through 2 years.
J: I think the progress you’ve made is astounding because I feel like you really understand the bass now from a deep, gut level. I think in one of our BLP song competitions you put a Billy Cobham track through. I was just thinking this is wild compared to the first email you sent me where you were saying can you give us a little bit of help with playing Moondance to playing some crazy far out jazz fusion and doing it very, very well to. I’d like to commend the confidence that I’ve seen you grow.
I feel like bass you’re gravitating towards it and you’re finding your musical home.
D: Some friends of mine have seen me as a bass player even if I don’t play in a band. I don’t want to leave guitar back. I’ve had to adjust my fingers due to the different string spacing etc, but I think the bass opened myself, due to you and my effort. As a guitar player, I started to understand better because I’ve seen that even if people give you a lot of theory, you get bored. What I find here is you find an appropriate combination and enough theory that supports the practice, and theory becomes easy and interesting.
I think you have the ability, because you have done double bass and in a band, I think you have both sides of the world.
J: I’m grateful to what you have said there because I know you are a teacher and educator yourself; you understand the importance of good communication and inspiring people, so thank you so much for that!
D: I think I’ve sent you mail in the first days; you are a “boy from the neighborhood”. I’m not afraid to ask you because you will not put anyone down.
One of the most valuable things in eBassGuitar is some kind of ethical code is established where the smallest of progress should be praised. This is a predisposition to good teaching; it is not negative, unlike what you see on the internet; it is a positive environment.
J: Absolutely! I love inspiring people and pushing them to the next level, helping them do something they never thought they were capable of. I remember you saying you won’t be able to do walking bass, then it started to become a reality to you. That’s just so wonderful to see.
What would you say to anybody thinking of joining the BLP?
D: I would say go on and join because from my personal experience, I haven’t tried other sites; I don’t feel like I have a need for at this point. There are sites where they are money driven, and I understand this is a business for you, but I don’t feel like money is the first row; but still you’ll get more than what you pay for from eBassGuitar. I learned a lot from all the content and communication in the Bass Lab PLUS.
J: If you’ve said to me that there’ll be this wild communication in the community back in 2016; I think this is absolute madness! But this is a reality and this is a real privilege to be facilitating you guys’ love for bass. This is the unsaid thing which is so hard to communicate. Not only you’ve become a better bass player but you also create friends for life in far-flung parts of the world who have different cultures and different appreciations for music.
I wanna say thank you Drazen for being a part of this.
D: Thank you James for inviting me and I’m very happy to be a part of this community!