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A few questions about slapping

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Oleg BassPlayer, Feb 4, 2016.

  1. Oleg BassPlayer

    Oleg BassPlayer

    Feb 4, 2016
    Hi everybody!
    The subject has been raised a lot of times, but still. I've been learning to use the slap technique and have some questions.
    1. How do you handle multiple notes on the same string when hammer-on/pull-on isn't applicable? I mean repeating the same note or alternating a normal note with muted percussion-like sound. Do you do a few pops in succession or just a few slap-pops? That is,
         P  P  P  P     or    S  P  S  P   
      E-------------------------------------------    ?
    2. As for a few pops in succession: how do I do it? I've seen some videos where they pop the string with index finger first and then with middle while raising arm away from strings after a slap/thump movement. Like that:
                (1)   (2)          
          S     P     P            
      Is it a normal and widespread technique? And how should it be performed: is it a traditional slap movement of the whole arm or rather more of individual fingers? Because if it's the former, then there is a problem: as you pull your arm away from strings and the first finger goes off, the second touches the string immediately, so it sounds rather like grace note than two separate notes. If it's the latter, then the whole move is a bit "unrelaxed" and unnatural. Or is it just a matter of practice and habit?

    3. How would you mute the E string in the following pattern?
          S   H        P   H      P  H   
                    S           S
      I've tried using my thumb on the left hand (curving it around the neck like guitarists do while bending), but, first,
      I don't feel very comfortable with it, and second, if instead of E it was, say, A or D, it wouldn't work.

  2. enricogaletta


    May 21, 2011
    Hei Oleg, good questions, I'll try to give you some directions.
    For the first and the second samples, I suggest you to developing the use of the index and the middle fingers for the regular/classic style of plucking/popping. That would be very helpful to face these kind of slap sequences.
    Be careful to apply the same dynamics on both plucks, you don't need to hear big differences when you pluck with the index compared to the middle and/or viceversa. Than when you reached an acceptable result you can move to the next step: balance the dynamics between thumb and plucks.
    It's a common limit think that thumbs belongs only to the last strings, usually E and A and plucks to the G and D, try to develop both thumb and plucks on all strings, than try to alternate on the same strings thumb and plucks, because if your dynamics on both T and Ps are good, you will see a lot of new scenarios to grooving with slap.
    For the last sample, usually the "muting" process is bit different on everybody, because everybody has a different approach, anyway usually if your left hand technique is good and your right hand has a good position on the bass you should be able to mute sometime with your left hand fingers, sometimes with your right hand wrist or forearm, depending on what kind of groove pattern you're playing.
    I attached a video where you can see different scenario of plucks sequence or just merged with regular thumbs too, usually used to play melodic lines.
    If you need other suggestions or helps, just write me ;).
    mj_ likes this.
  3. Durallymax


    Jan 31, 2016
    1. A pop and slap sound very different, I do whatever sound fits the best.

    2. For multiple pops in a row, I use index and middle. I often use them both for popping anyways. I don't really throw my arm around, just a slight rotation. Use the fingers as if they are independent, not locked with your hand.

    3. In that example I'd probably find myself using my fretting middle finger to mute. First and ring finger are playing the notes, middle is free to reach down and mute. Since I don't move my plucking hand much I'll use it to mute strings as well.
  4. In example 1
    Try doing the pops with 1 finger, then 2 then 3, using your left hand to mute and make sure you are not making the 5th feet harmonix.
    Example 2 slap down like flea and hold the 5th fret. Use the lh pinky or middle finger for muted.
    Example 3 slap down like flea and use the slapping thumb to mute by letting it rebound to rest after striking the e. Makes for a more percussive attack.
    These definitely feel like slapping down lines vs slapping through lines. For example flea tends to slap down, Marcus Miller tends to slap through. No right or wrong here, Just depends on the line.
    That's my take anyway.

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