First Bassist to Tap?

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by Boplicity, Aug 19, 2000.

  1. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Does anybody here know who is generally credited as being the first bassist to tap on bass guitar? I had the idea it was Billy Sheehan, but I honestly don't know if he actually was first. I'd appreciate it if someone could tell me. It is just one of those trivia things I enjoy knowing about bass.
    Thanking you in advance....Jason Oldsted
  2. bluesdogblues


    Nov 13, 2007
    Sorry to revive this old thread.
    I feel little bored to see the TB today and recent forum topic (has been for few days actually - sorry LOL), so I try different approach, which is searching the oldest topic in the list that might be interesting.
    In Bassist sub-forum, I find this unanswered old thread interesting. Although not really important perhaps (so are some topic right?.. :D).
    So, anyone know the answer?
  3. adi77

    adi77 Banned

    Mar 15, 2007
    probably Dave LaRue
  4. bluesdogblues


    Nov 13, 2007
    Dave LaRue was 80s right? I think it's far earlier than that... perhaps John Enwistle.
  5. bhunt1

    bhunt1 Vintage Lefty Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2009
    Upstate NY
    Older than dirt ;)
    First and only bassist in Tap - Derek Smalls. They had a lotta drummers though :)
    xUptheIronsx, rtav, AGH and 4 others like this.
  6. adi77

    adi77 Banned

    Mar 15, 2007
    yes, mostly 80s, very little late 70s stuff
  7. /\/\3phist0

    /\/\3phist0 Jovial Curmudgeon Supporting Member

    May 7, 2007
    Northern California
    Possibly Sheehan... Talas era?
  8. tbz

    tbz Supporting Member

    Jun 28, 2013
    Did Entwistle actually tap? I've seen videos where he hits the strings around the fretboard, but he doesn't seem to fret them like you would with a "tap". He just bounces them off the frets, if that makes sense, so the note generated is the one being fretted by the left hand.
  9. Hobobob

    Hobobob Don't feed the troll, folks. Supporting Member

    Jan 25, 2011
    Camarillo, CA
  10. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings
    I experimented with tapping when I first started playing in the late 70s. I hadn't seen anyone do it on bass but wanted to see how it sounded. I never really cared for it so I stopped.
  11. McFarlin

    McFarlin Supporting Member

    Oct 27, 2011
    Austin, TX
    Isn't Gregory Hines a bassist?
  12. Rev J

    Rev J

    Jun 14, 2012
    Berkeley, Ca.
    No he was a drummer.

    Rev J
  13. keb


    Mar 30, 2004
    Some dude in a basement we've never heard of, a long long time ago... I mean, there have to have been SOME bassists who saw Roy Smeck bust out the tapping on a ukulele way back then and decided to see if they could do it on bass:

    But publicly known? Setting aside the Stick players who began to crop up in the '70s... I dunno.
    Ikkir, bluesdogblues and Pentatonic like this.
  14. tsheldon


    Jun 20, 2005
    Western New York
    I know Billy Sheehan was early to tapping, I once saw him at a clinic saying that he got it in the early 70s by seeing Billy Gibbons do that fake pedal steel tapping thing (bend a 1/2 step then tap a fourth above then release the tap and finally then release the bend) prior to Van Halen I.

    I doubt we'll ever know who was actually first. I think it's safe to say Sheehan was first to popularize it.
  15. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Gold Supporting Member

    Are we talking double-tap ala VH style or two-handed tap ala Stu Hamm?

    I honestly thought Stu Hamm was the man who popularized the two-handed tapping we know today. I thought Radio Free Albermouth was the first album to really use it, particularly as solo bass. I would also love to know though, from somebody who was around.

    For the record, Ace Freehley was doing VH style double tap in the 70s. He mentioned it in an old interview somewhere, he seemed a little bitter.
  16. DreamError


    May 30, 2014
    You couldn't have waited two months and make it an even fourteen years? ;)
    adi77 likes this.
  17. Ace does some tapping on his solo on Alive II but it's very basic. He obviously didn't practice it much or expand on it.
  18. McFarlin

    McFarlin Supporting Member

    Oct 27, 2011
    Austin, TX
  19. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Dave LaRue first got popular in the very late 80's and early 90's, so that lets him out, although it's quite possible that he did it before he got popular. But there certainly had to have been a jazz bassist who did it before Billy. I'm just drawing a blank.
  20. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    I followed music pretty closely, and Billy Sheehan was the first bassist who made tapping a regular part of his performance.