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Can't slap/pop to save my life

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by GregPlaysBass, May 5, 2010.

  1. GregPlaysBass


    Apr 3, 2010
    Disclaimer: If you don't have anything constructive to say about how to improve my slap and pop skills, please leave. This thread is full of people who dont understand that I am looking for help on the technique, I don't care what your opinions on the technique are. I repeat, I need help in developing the technique, NOT your criticism on the technique.

    Back to the original topic now:

    I just can't seem to get it down. Everyone on YouTube seems to have a slightly different method of doing it. I have been trying seriously for perhaps a month trying to land a method that works for me, and I just can't get it. Are there some noob mistakes that you think I'm making?

    On a similar note, I can play slap/pop decently on a bass I have here at school, but on my bass at home, I cant play at all. Does the tightness of the strings or type of strings make a difference?

  2. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    I played for 10 years before I got it down. How long have you been playing?
  3. kreider204


    Nov 29, 2008
    Re: basses, absolutely, different basses, different strings, different setups, can all make a bass much easier or harder to slap on.

    Re: technique, that's harder. There's simply more than one way to do it, and folks may do it differently depending on what's comfortable for them, what their bass is like, and even the size and shape of their fingers and thumbs.

    Probably the biggest mistake is trying to do fancy stuff too soon. You should take your time, practicing obnoxiously simple patterns in order to train your fingers and thumb to make just the right movements. Once you program your muscles to handle the simple movements perfectly, the rest comes MUCH easier.

    I haven't looked at it, but I always hear excellent things about this book:


    If worse comes to worst - there's tons of great bass players who don't slap at all. You could be one of them. :)
  4. J. Crawford

    J. Crawford

    Feb 15, 2008
    Pino has made it this far.. Ill stick to my fingers. :D
  5. GregPlaysBass


    Apr 3, 2010
    about 2.5 years

    my fingers can fly faster than the speed of light, when im not slapping and popping :)

    i can play pretty much flawlessly with a pick, and great with my fingers. after getting really good at one thing, naturally i want to move onto different styles. but ill check out that book, thanks
  6. mrjim123

    mrjim123 Supporting Member

    May 17, 2008
    If you want job security forget that pop and slap BS. But, if you're satisfied just being a Youtube "bassist", go for it.
  7. RexNFX79


    Jan 12, 2009

    +1 I can't do very much slapping but I've never really needed to.
  8. mkrtu9


    Mar 2, 2006
    Lower your action
  9. Noseferatu


    Feb 12, 2010
    Hermitage, PA
    Slapping and popping doesnt appeal to me. I can do it, but it just does nothing for me. Sounds like a mindless bag of popcorn in the microwave IMO. Could be cause I play rock.

  10. alirazz


    Jun 30, 2009
    Chambana, IL
    +1, the book is 20 pages of techniques and exercises to practice them, and then the rest is just different slap bass lines with varying levels of difficulty.

    I'm currently learning from the book and I have to say I've noticed a huge improvement since I started using it.
  11. pedro


    Apr 5, 2000
    Madison, WI.
    Honestly I've never had any interest in it at all.
  12. I have to speak up against this attitude. It's as though no one should learn to slap, it's as though it should be banned.

    There's nothing wrong with wanting to have different skills and sounds. It doesn't mean the player is "just being a Youtube 'bassist'".

    Play well, however you do it!
  13. kreider204


    Nov 29, 2008
    Well said. I'm not really into slap & pop, but I made it a point to learn a decent amount, for those occasions when it's come up, and I'm glad I did. There's never anything wrong with having as many tools at your disposal as possible.
  14. pedro


    Apr 5, 2000
    Madison, WI.
    While it has no appeal to me I agree. And further, I'd say if you are planning to be a pro you should be able to cover all the skills and slap (unfortunately as far as I'm concerned) is one of them.
  15. theworldismad


    Oct 11, 2009
    You can't Slap and Pop? Good. Its not necessary.
  16. GregPlaysBass


    Apr 3, 2010
    for those who are essentially saying that it doesnt appeal to you, or that i shouldnt bother: thank you for your input, but its really not helping my situation
  17. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    I rarely do any slapping but absolutely had to learn how because it looked like so much fun. :)

    I too couldn't get it for anything till I got alex sklarevsky's program. I believe it's all on youtube now.

    The main thing for me was going ridiculously slow and committing to it until I got it down. I mean literally like 4 or 5 seconds between a slap and a pop, and going at it for hours. Usually like 10 minutes, a break, 10 minutes, a break. From being a really frustrated "I can't do this for crap" guy, I came a long way pretty quickly. My new video below is all thanks to the guy above's program.
  18. PinkFloydDan


    Jul 4, 2005
    Slap and pop technique has ruined the art of bass playing in my opinion. I have never used it in a live setting and never plan to use the technique. I personally think it sounds awful and its self indulgent watching all the "bassists" play pop and slap all night.

    Don't worry about getting the technique down. You sound better without it.
  19. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I Grow Organic Carrots
    first learn how to slap an open string like E or A. Don't play a song just slap an open string. Just rotate your hand without moving the whole arm. Work on this until you get a good tone on the open string.

    Then try to substitute slapping for plucking.

    Learn as many styles as you can and become versatile.
  20. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Banned

    Feb 21, 2010
    St. Louis
    I have been playing for about 30 years and I absolutely dig some slap guys. Flea, Claypool, Wooten, are you kidding, those guys are seriously bad ***.

    That being said, I slap sometimes when necessary, but very, very rarely and not particularly well, just decently. It simply doesn't fit the music I write or play. Nothing wrong with the style though, if that's the type of music you play.

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