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How do you slap

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Cacklingjackyl, May 14, 2004.

  1. I have been playing bass for about half a year and can slap and pop with some confidence. My slap technique consists of simply striking the side of a given string with the fleshy part of my thumb. Nothing real fancy. I have been told that if I want to be able to double thump, and perform other "higher level" slap techniques that I need to learn to use my thumb as a pick. What I mean here is, the slap is a downward motion where my thumb strikes a string and rests on the string below it. The person that told me this told me it would be easier for me to learn to double thump this way, because I can hit the same string on the upstroke. I am trying to learn to do this, so I have been trying to incorporate the new style into my playing. However, I catch myself going back to the old way unconsciously.

    If any of you slappers out there could give me some guidance I would appreciate it. Is slapping in the downward motion through the string a better technique to use? In your opinion, should I focus on practicing this technique until my hands do it without thinking, or do you think the old way of doing things will work?

    I am leaning towards learning the new way. When I perform that thump properly, I like the way is sounds and I feel that it will be an important step in helping me reach my goals.

    What do you guys think?
  2. I meant to post this in technique, not tablature. Sorry. I am sure I will soon feel the wrath of one of our moderators. :eek:
  3. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS
    I slap into the string, not through it. I haven't had trouble learning or performing any fast lines using this style.

    To me double thumbing is equivalent to saying "Look what I can do" to people who don't play an instrument (or do play guitar :D). Cool technique, but there is no room for expression, every person I have ever seen double thumb just sounds like Wooten and not themselves.

    I took the time to learn it when I was huge on slapping, but have since forgot it now that I try to play more tastefully.

    Whatever blows your skirt up I guess,
    Adam Barkley
  4. I know what your saying. I can do the most rudimentary octave slap/pop and the young guitarists I play with start salivating. They want me to do it all the time, but I would get bored quick playing that style too much. However, I want to be able to lay down some funky/slap grooves at what I think are appropriate times. My current band changes tempos in songs alot and throws some dynamic changes in the mix, so I would like to be able to change the flavor of a song by using techniques such as these.

    You never know, I may cast it aside as you did after a while.
  5. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS
    It's good you realize the technique for what it is.

    Since you have the basic "knowledge" of the technique down, all thats left is the tons of practice to get your technique clean. Took me about one month of practicing to able to throw accented bursts cleanly while staying in time. Never got into the super advanced lines that comprised entirely of double thumbing though.

    Good Luck Brother,
    Adam Barkley
  6. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    What he said. :mad:

    Off to technique. ;)
  7. It's not about playing fast, well, to some it might be. However the things I tell my pupils are all about rhythm and building up their 'rhythm dictionary'.

    When people get into slapping there style will consist of certain rhtyhms, usualy the first few riffs they learn and that's where it stays. The most important part of slapping is building up a massive amount of rhythms that you can pull out the hat whenever you need to. Slap gets boring very quickly so having an extensive 'back catalogue' of rhythms is what all slappers need.

    Go and find all the slap lines you can find and study them all.
  8. Actually I am studying under someone that will be teaching me drum paradiddles on the bass. We will be studying permutations in hopes of giving me just that-- a "catalog of rhythms". Thanks for the tip.
  9. DaemonBass


    Mar 29, 2004
    Sacramento, CA
    Try slapping directly into the string just above where the fretboard ends and direct your hit with the thumb knuckle. That's just how I learned it. To do it fast just wag your wrist back and forth. The main focus of power comes from the wrist not the thumb. Some I hear slap actually on the fretboard but that sounds like crap to me, just above the fretboard is perfectly good. From what I gather of double thumping (thumbing) is you gotta really nail through that string to get a proper "slap" sound. It's gotta have enough motion to rattle off the fretboard. If not then it's not really double thumping just thumb style playing imo.
  10. Finger Blister

    Finger Blister

    Jul 8, 2003
  11. DaemonBass


    Mar 29, 2004
    Sacramento, CA
    ;) Nice pic. Narrows down any crazy ideas of what slapping might be if left unattended. :bassist: