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A Mark King slap technique question

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by MatW, Mar 14, 2002.


  1. MatW

    MatW

    May 10, 2000
    UK, Swindon
    Hello,

    There's a common technique used in Mark's playing, and I'd like to get it clear in my head (I'm sure all you guys figured this out years ago!!).

    Basically, two examples of the move I'm talking about would be in 'Eyes Waterfalling', or in (my fave) 'Love Games'. You can hear the bass doing it two bars starting when Mark sings "see" in the "As
    I watched your face, I can SEE my life..etc.". The line moves from 'B' to 'F#' in the first bar, and then 'A' to 'E' in the second bar. Okay, so using notation S = Slap, MS = Muted Slap, MP = Muted
    Pop, it sounds to me like:

    -----------------------
    ----------------------S
    S-MS-MS-S-MS-MS-S--
    -----------------------

    However, I'm finding it hard to slap this 'du dada du dada du' beat and make it sound good, I find it easier (and it sounds better) playing.

    -----MP------MP-----
    --------------------S
    S-MS----S-MS----S--
    ----------------------

    So which one is it, or is it something completely different?

    Thanks in advance,

    Mat
     
  2. MatW

    MatW

    May 10, 2000
    UK, Swindon
    Sorry, the formatting has messed up the tab somewhat. I've attached a text file which should demonstrate what I mean.

    Mat
     
  3. oozon

    oozon

    Aug 11, 2001
    Sweden, Malmo
    You bring back memories from the eighties! I used to play along at least one Level record back in those days after school, usually Physical Presence. Mark didn't use popping to play the basic versions of the pattern you're describing. He popped alot for effects and accents but not for the basic rythm. To practice getting this flowing, play the Love Games bass line slowly and you then you should gradually increase speed. The final test for you is when you're able to play Lessons in Love using the same basic slapping tha Mark did.

    Good luck!
     
  4. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    He's probably using lefthand slapping in that line, not really sure though since I can't verify it right now.
     
  5. MatW

    MatW

    May 10, 2000
    UK, Swindon
    Well, there's certainly a lot of LHS on that line when he's thumping out the rhythm on the E string, but I never seen an example of fretting a note with your index finger and then doing a LHS with your 3 remaining fingers. Still, I'll give it a try. I suspect though that it's just a matter of building up speed with my thumb.

    Thanks for all the info.
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher

    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    There's actually a lot of that going on in Mark King's playing. You can see it in the "Live at Wembley" video, albeit not too clearly.

    If there's one guy that should have made an instructional video but didn't, it's Mr. King!
     
  7. Murf

    Murf

    Mar 28, 2001
    Ireland
    He only does this for that 'machine gun triplet' effect for say lessons in love its just a very fast thumb (hot water uses a similar rhythm). The great thing with Marks basslines is that theyre reasonably easy to work out however the sheer speed and clarity with which he plays (especially live)is nothing short of phenomenal, whereas the likes of Vic Woten/ Les Claypool et al use an arsenal of techniques such as double thumbing etc Mark gets that speed with just the bog standard single thumb.

    the sickening thing is I learnt all the level 42 bass lines when I was starting out (serious wood shedding) and 10 years later I STILL CANT SING AND PLAY THEM AT THE SAME TIME!!!:rolleyes: Jeez its hard enough keeping up that da dada da dada da rhythm with just your thumb for a whole song never mind singing on top of it.

    I'm convinced the man has two brains

    Damn right
     
  8. Murf

    Murf

    Mar 28, 2001
    Ireland
    You're nearly there, the first one is closest

    -----------------------
    ----------------------S
    S-MS-MS-S-MS-MS-S--
    -----------------------

    however you are adding in a beat which isnt there it's actually

    ----------------
    ----------------
    S-MS-S-MS-S--
    ----------------

    I dont have a bass on me at the moment but I think the notes are:

    "I can see......

    B x c# x D x E
    BB x C#C# D x E
    A x B x C# E
    AA x BB C# x E

    (where x denotes a muted slap)

    I'm not sure if the notes are 100% right but you should get the gist of it .

    Hope this helps :)
     
  9. MatW

    MatW

    May 10, 2000
    UK, Swindon
    Thanks for the input, Murf (and thanks to everyone for their help for that matter). Upon closer listening you might be right about Love Games although some songs certainly do feature the S-MS-MS-S 'da dudu da dudu da' beat it's not easy picking out the exact line by ear.

    I think the main thing is that the beat in question is driven out by slaps and muted slaps rather than bringing in muted pops and other techniques. Looks like I'll have to work to increase my thumb speed.

    I don't know a huge amount about Level 42/Mark King, but it'd would be interesting to hear how his technique developed over time in early demos/recordings. Seems like he appeared from nowhere and had his chops down right from day one.

    What a musician!
     
  10. Murf

    Murf

    Mar 28, 2001
    Ireland
    yeah that 'da dudu da' rhythm is bloody hard on the thumb (thats why he wears a bit of gaffa tape around it). In Lessons in love the bass riff is simply arpeggios built off the roots but with that 'da dudu da' rhythm (no pops or mutes)

    eg:
    -------------------------
    -------------------5-55--
    -------2-22--5-55--------
    -3-33---------------------

    (da dudu etc.).

    Hot Water has a similar rhythm but with more muted slaps..

    eg:
    ---------------------------
    ---------------------------
    ------5-7-xx------5-7-xx---
    -o-xx--------o-xx----------
    s ms ho ms...etc

    Another technique he uses quite a bit is the same as stu hamms 'country music' riff
    it's basically where you (eg) slap the D (5th fret A string) hammer on to E, muted slap and then pop the (damped) G string, do this a few times and you get that 'machine gun' triplet effect.

    eg:
    --------x---
    ------------
    -5-7-x------
    ------------
    ho ms mp.

    And finally here's another one....
    ----------x-
    ------------
    ------------
    --o-x-x-----
    s lh ms mp
    (lh denotes left hand slap this is simply when you slap/pat the neck with your left hand).

    good luck.

    (and when youve all that down check out the live version of 'Mister Pink' on the physical presence live album)
     
  11. Mr_Pink

    Mr_Pink

    Nov 30, 2000
    Belgium
    I do play a lot of Level 42 songs. I have some live recordings of him at video tape and there he plays something like this:
    (I never write tabs,) 9h10 = play 9 hammer 10
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -----------------------------------9--XX--------------------------------9
    -----7---XX---9--XX----9h10-----------7--7--X--9-9-9h10-XX-


    -------------------------------
    ----------------------------
    ---------------------------7
    5--XX---7--XX--7h9 --- etc


    I'm sure he plays almost all on the firts string. And you need a litlle chorus.

    In the main rif there is a lot off left hand slapping

    There are some easy level 42 songs. On off my favourite:
    "Something about you"
     
  12. Mr_Pink

    Mr_Pink

    Nov 30, 2000
    Belgium
    Oh yeah...hot water:

    all with tumb:
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -----------------------------------------------------5h7---------------2h3-------
    --------------5h7-------------5h7-----------------------------------------------
    ------0-XX---------XX-0-XX--------XX-5-XX----------XX-3-XX----------XX


    ----------------------*7h9--------------------------------------------------
    ----------------------------------------------------5h7--------------2h3----
    ----------5h7--------------------5h7---------------------------------------
    --0-XX--------XX----------XX--------XX-5-XX--------XX-3-XX-------XX

    *this is popped(in live recordings)

    GREAT TUNE :D
     
  13. You guys know they have level 42 in standard notation at forevernow.com right??
     
  14. MatW

    MatW

    May 10, 2000
    UK, Swindon
    I didn't until now. Doh.
     
  15. Murf

    Murf

    Mar 28, 2001
    Ireland
    Yes they do, however most of them are wrong, they're piano transcriptions (the bass parts are essentially what youd play on piano) so they dont show muting, pops etc.

    from a quick scan of them these are wrong:
    forever now,
    world machine,(completely misses the finger funk line on the fade out)
    Heaven in my hands,(nearly there but dosent show muting or pops)
    Tracie.

    (the thing is the notes are sort of right, they're close enough to give you an idea where to start however youll have to fill in the blanks yourself)
     
  16. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Mark King actually did do a stint with the UK magazine "Guitarist" - so the November 2000 edition has an article on his technique with photo illustrations and diagrams (plus cover CD) taking you through how to do it all, from a beginner's point of view.

    The previous issue had a long interview with him explaining how the band got started etc.
     
  17. i learnt this song..if it helps he uses left handed mutes, ie hammer-ons with his left hand i think the first 3 beats of bar one goes like this:
    ======LH===LH======Lh===Lh=======Lh===LH E----o-(0)-o-(0)-----o-(0)-o-(0)------o-(0)-x-(0)

    hope that helps, i have the sheet music if you need it..
     
  18. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    UK
    LHS = left hand slapping... is that right?


    Not sure I understand that, how does it differ from a hammer on then?
     
  19. Murf

    Murf

    Mar 28, 2001
    Ireland
    A left hand slap is where you bring your left hand down sharply onto the neck of the bass (kind of like a strong pat) to give a percussive thump, its hard to describe in words but I'll give it a go ;)

    with your thumb behind the neck (normal left hand fretting position) raise your fingers off the neck and then slap/pat them back(on the neck) sharply (man this is hard to describe)....you know kermit the frog? well Jim Hensons hand working Kermits mouth is kind of the motion your looking for :D

    Its mostly used for doing the 'machine gun triplet' effect whereby you slap the open E string, Left Hand Slap the open E (you end up with your LH damping the stings), slap the open E (which is now muted by your LH) and finally pop the E (9th fret Gstring).

    -----------9--
    --------------
    --------------
    --0--x--x-----
    s lhs s p


    Hope this makes sense:D
     
  20. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    UK
    Aah, got it.

    That's what I thought, so really it is just like a hammer on except that it's muted... and in this case preceeded and followed by a thumb slap.