Here's a fun exercise that Anthony Wellington presents in Victor Wooten's "Groove Workshop" video. It's great for developing control of fast paced 16th note "paradiddle" sort of slap chops. If you're at all like me, you can slap quickly for maybe a few bars, but eventually the train comes off the tracks and you end up just flailing about with no particular groove. This exercise forces you to play a repetitive pattern in several different ways, so you develop control and you're forced to play some things you might not normally play (like leading a slap lick with a pop or a fretboard slap?!?). Everyone knows about subdividing time into 16th notes, right? 1 measure of 4/4 = 1e&u2e&u3e&u4e&u. Against a straight quarter note beat on the drums, 1 and 3 are the kick, 2 and 4 are the snare. Follow? Then let's define 5 building blocks for our repetitive slap licks. Each of these blocks is two distinct 16th notes. HO = Hammer On (Thumb 5th fret on A string then hammer on the 7th fret on the A string) EE = Two thumbs on the open E string ST = fretboard slap followed by thumb. No notes with these, just rhythmic noise PT = Pop Thumb. Also no notes, just rhythmic noise TP = Thumb Pop. Also no notes, just rhythmic noise Let's piece together 8 of these building blocks to make a 16th note pattern that is one measure long. The grouping is somewhat arbitrary, feel free to come up with your own patterns. But I'll stick with this one for this exercise. 1e &u 2e &u 3e &u 4e &u HO EE ST PT TP EE ST PT Here's what the pattern sounds like at 90 bpm. **EDIT - oops, I just realized I played the pattern halftime. Oh, well, it's easier to learn at that speed anyway** As with most exercises, try to build this up in speed to something more reasonable that you'd use in a band context. In addition to building speed, we should also explore what Vic and Anthony call the "Modes of Rhythm". Think of the pattern above as the 1st mode (like Ionian is the first mode of the major scale). Using the analogy of the major scale modes, the second rhythmic mode would be the same pattern started on the second block. Taken all the way, here are the 8 possible rhythmic modes of this pattern: 1) HO EE ST PT TP EE ST PT 2) EE ST PT TP EE ST PT HO 3) ST PT TP EE ST PT HO EE 4) PT TP EE ST PT HO EE ST 5) TP EE ST PT HO EE ST PT 6) EE ST PT HO EE ST PT TP 7) ST PT HO EE ST PT TP EE 8) PT HO EE ST PT TP EE ST Here's a clip where I play 4 measures each of the first 4 modes at 114 bpm. I cheat on the 4th one, I haven't worked the HO into the second half of the pattern yet. And I'm sloppy as hell with all of them, but I'm getting better. The improvements come pretty fast if you don't wear out your fingertips It especially helps to do this with a metronome or a drum track. Start at a slow or moderate tempo, and gradually work it up to speed... I'll be happy with myself when I can switch in and out of all 8 modes without stopping at a gig-worthy tempo. Or better yet, just be able to come up with whatever cool patterns on the fly and not lose the groove. HAVE FUN!