It's becoming an annoying TB cliche: the anti-slapping thread. I really believe that the root of the phenomenon is an ancient interview that Anthony Jackson gave to Bass Player Magazine, in which he called slapping a "cold, irritating abomination". That was the first time I ever heard anyone say anything bad about the technique. Now, I imagine that Mr. Jackson could probably learn to slap if he wanted to, but I tend to believe that a lot of people who were unable to master the technique have turned to his attitude as a cover for their egos. I'm not painting all anti-slappers with this brush, but I'm sure it's got to apply to some of you. Personally, I never could master tapping. Every couple of years I try again, but it's just not really something I'm destined to do much with. Now, I could hate on tappers, and say it's not musical, and all that nonsense, but why? So many people make great music with that technique. And yes, many others make great music without it. And some people even use it for self-indulgent noodling. So what? And so, I'm starting this pro-slapping thread. And while I'd love it to be all sunshine and roses, I'm sure the anti-slappers will be around soon. But it's OK: I'm like Eminem in 8 Mile, I already know everything they're going to say against me: 1. That kid at Guitar Center sounds like a typewriter and it's very annoying and unmusical. Fair enough. Now take a 16-year old kid with more technique than taste, but one who doesn't slap, set him loose in GC, and see how musical he is with his flashy fingerstyle licks. I mean, are you really going to judge the entire technique and all of the players who've ever used it on the musicality of a teenager in a guitar shop? 2. It's always in E. Yeah, and when I go to jazz jams, it's always in Bb or Eb for the horn players. Your point? Guitar tunes are usually in G, C, A, or D. These are keys with a lot of open chord voicings on the guitar. And yes, slap bass songs are often in open keys. That is because certain techniques are designed around the use of open strings. It's sort of like a metal band that goes chugga-chugga-chugga on the open strings (whatever unholy note they're tuning their "E" or "B" strings to these days). It gives you something to play off of. That said, most guys who slap and take it seriously practice it in all keys. My band currently has five tunes that I slap on. I will admit that three of them are in E. One is in B (without using the open B) and one is in that ever-slap-friendly key of Gm. And the tunes in E all contain plenty of chords that require me to get away from the open notes. Ultimately, the point is, keys are not chosen haphazardly, and they're not chosen because "gee, we never wrote one in G# before". They're chosen for reasons, and often those reasons are to take advantage of the characteristics of certain instruments. That doesn't invalidate a whole host of other techniques, both on bass and other instruments, so why should it invalidate slap? 3. It's always based on pentatonic scales. Actually that's an oversimplification. I would say that if you want the true "funk scale" you need to start with the Dorian mode, put the "blue" note between the 4th and 5th, and also include the major 3rd being hammered onto from the minor 3rd. Using that pitch collection, and perhaps also placing a certain emphasis on the pentatonic minor scale hiding within it, you can play the typical slap licks you guys like to complain about. Before we proceed, let's define some terms, shall we? First of all, slap is a technique, and funk is a genre. Slap is not funk, and funk is not slap. Slap can exist without funk. Funk can exist without slap. But if we are to make these assertions, we must also admit that slap is a technique that is strongly associated with funk. And, though perhaps to a lesser extent, vice-versa. Now, I like the phrygian mode as much as the next guy. Melodic minor? Hey, great. But they're not FUNKY. The notes I described two paragraphs above are the funk notes. I'm not saying they're the only possible funk notes, but they're the biggies. If you want to sound country, you need to play the country notes. If you want to sound jazz, you need to play the jazz notes, and if you want to sound metal, you need to play the metal notes. Guess which notes you need to play if you want to sound funky? 4. I'd rather stay in the pocket and groove than do all that flashy stuff. I think this one stems from a misunderstanding of the concepts of "pocket" and "groove". I think many players consider these to be synonyms for playing simply. But do you really believe that Sid Vicious grooves harder than Rocco Prestia? "Pocket" is perhaps best described as a theory of rhythm which treats each beat as a big fat moment of time with a beginning, middle, and end. And you can play more towards the beginning, right in the middle, or more towards the end, to affect the feel of the song. This concept exists entirely independently of the number of notes being played or the manner in which the strings are being struck. "Groove", for all of the mystical mumbo-jumbo often associated with the term, means quite simply playing with a good rhythmic feel. I'm almost sure that someone is going to try and argue that I'm oversimplifying with that statement, but I say: don't overcomplicate. If you're playing the rhythm in such a way as to make it feel good, you are grooving. This concept also exists independently of the number of notes or the techniques involved. Let's get back to that relationship between funk and slap. Funk is a genre that is basically all about groove. It's practically the defining characteristic. If slapping doesn't groove, how on Earth did it become so widely associated with funk? I happen to think that Flea and Les Claypool groove. That can be debated. But are you seriously going to tell me that you don't think that Larry Graham or Marcus Miller can groove? 5. You're not likely to get paid to do it. I'd love it if some of the uber-pros around here could grasp this concept: a whole lot of us don't give a ****. I did not put hours upon hours of practice time in so that I can adequately entertain drunken idiots with the same thirty covers every other lame corporate sellout band in town plays. If that's your thing, great. But for many, many of us, it's not. And I think it's a shame that when young players are taking an interest in anything that doesn't fit the typical "pro musician" lapdog orthodoxy, the money guys are right there, warning them about what happens to bad little bass players who dare play above the seventh fret. 6. I understand all that self-important and probably butthurt crap you said above, and I still don't like slap. Well, that's your prerogative. To be honest, I don't like carrots. But I don't complain about them every time somebody posts a poll. And so, my fellow TBers, who's with me? Who's willing to stand up and say loud and proud "we're here, we slap, and we're not going away!"