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Angle of Slap

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Demonfish22, Aug 3, 2002.

  1. Demonfish22


    Jul 31, 2002
    Bath, England
    When I slap, I have my hand roughly at right angles to the strings, and my thumb sticking out maybe 30 degrees or so and level with my hand. When my bass teacher slaps, his hand is at about 45 degrees to the strings, and his thumb 45 degrees from his hand, so running roughly parallel with the strings. He also sticks his thumb forward slightly.
    Using my technique, I find it difficult to slap the third string and get a clear note, but with my bass teacher's technique I can't do anything.
    I think his way is technically better, but is it worth actually trying to learn a whole new slap technique when I'm slapping quite happily the 'wrong' way? :confused:
  2. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    You can slap any string, you can pop any string.

    At least try what your teacher is showing you, that's what you pay him for, right?

    It's hard to relearn a technique, but it's worth it.
  3. boomerang

    boomerang Guest

    Dec 9, 2001
    yes it is worth the time to learn a better technique if it allows you to do something you want to do. If you learned it the "wrong way".. you never really learned to slap. So take the time

  4. *ToNeS*


    Jan 12, 2001
    Sydney AU
    I had the same choice to make a while back, after becoming addicted to the slap technique my teacher was using. I think it's the exact same situation you're in - I made the switch, however, but it yielded months of painstaking unlearning and relearning. Not pretty, but the upside is that an entirely new world of playing was suddenly open to me. Ultimately you gotta develop your own unique style, but the cues are there from your teacher. I say go with his flow, at least for the time being.
  5. punkfunkfreak


    Dec 16, 2001
    damn straight.
  6. just_a_poser


    Apr 20, 2002
    One of my teachers said he's seen people do it a lot of different ways, and said he shows his student how he does it, but if they aren't comforatable with it and can do it different and get the right sound that he thought that was okay. I don't know though.
  7. the angle of the slap is inversely proportional to the heat of the beat.

    sorry, p-funk reference i couldn't resist...
  8. Matt Sanchez

    Matt Sanchez

    Jun 25, 2002
    First of all, you can slap, mute, pluck, pinch, pull, bend, or not play any string on your instrument - that is your call. For example, if I need a sitar sound I will drone an open string and pull the G string off the fret board (with my fret hand) and on to the back of the neck of the bass and play it there. I pluck the strings that come immediately after your tuning pegs (before the nut) to replicate sympatic strings. Everyone has their own way to make their point... However, if you are just starting out my advise to you would be to learn it one way for now... so that you are consistent, confident, and comfortable in your technique.

    Thumb position....

    I look at it as players that are thumbs up or thumbs down. The slight variations in angle come with posture but in my experience the position is for the most part thumbs up or thumbs down. Thumbs up players like Larry Grahm from S.F.S. or the down thumb players like Mike Balazary R.H.C.P. for example. You will also notice a difference in the level that the bassist will wear his/her instrument - often goes hand in hand with being thumbs up or thumbs down. I.e. a bassist that wears the bass high will more than likely be a thumbs up player. Most that are new to this technique and in Bass for the long haul - will experiment with many string gauges, truss rod adjustments, saddle heights, basses, woods, electronics, cables (yes, they do have a say in your sound as well) and among other things the path of least resistance and greatest tone for their personalized slap technique.

    Bass tangent... i remember seeing Victor Wooten during the 94 Jacksonville Jazz Festival (back when the "man with two brains" was still with the group) and even then Victor used a slight delay during his Sinister Minsiter solo to really make those triplets repeat over new chords. When he played with Edgar Meyer and Ray Brown for his PBS special - Ray Brown commented on the use of light guages for modern electric players and during his time the acoustic player had to use thick guages and get the strings up off the finger board for loudness because there were no pickups for the bass back then.. Of course, Victor Wooten is also a thumbs up player - and this is necessary for his style of up thumb/down thump/pluck triplets. So, even effects are part of it... and amp tone... and cabinet tone... and so on......

    Thumb efficency:

    One thing I have found is that there is greater efficency when you play in the thumbs up position vs. the thumbs down position (if a person is slapping AND popping). The reason is because there is a conservation of motion in the wrist with the thumbs up position... this is something better demonstrated than talked about over the internet, but there is a difference. On the other side of the coin, the thumbs down position is more efficent coming out of the slap because of the position the hand is left into after the slapping stops and the walking resumes.

    Always slap and/or pop with a metronome.

    Bass Regards,
    Matt Sanchez

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