How to pop on the bass?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by dtay45, Jul 7, 2018.

  1. dtay45


    Jul 7, 2018
    hello guys, I’m starting to learn slap bass, and I can get a good slap sound, but anytime I try to pop the strings I get ringing sound and it doesn’t sound right. Anytime I pop hard it makes a ringing noise, and whenever I pop softly it sounds like a regular note.
    Thank you
  2. Mushroo


    Apr 2, 2007
    Welcome aboard!

    So, first of all: of course your playing sounds bad, you're just starting out! ;) But don't get discouraged. Beginners are supposed to sound like beginners. You need to be patient and forgiving with yourself. It takes time, practice, and instruction to become a great bass player.

    Without seeing or hearing your playing, just taking a total guess here, based on your description of the problem: It sounds like you might not be "muting" the strings properly with your left hand while you are popping with your right hand. Experiment with resting your left-hand fingers against the strings in various locations and with varying degrees of pressure. Can you find a left-hand muting technique that cuts down on the "ringing" sound?

    If you don't have a teacher (or even if you do have a teacher, but want a little extra instruction on the side) here is a great how-to slap instructional video. Skip ahead to 4:38 if you want to jump right to the basic popping motion:

  3. Reedt2000

    Reedt2000 Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2017
    Central New Jersey
    Without seeing how you are going about this it is really hard to try to advise you. The motions of slapping and popping typically work together so your issue could be a variety of things. Checkout Scott's bass lessons on YouTube. He's a great player with fun, well explained lessons. Lots of free stuff and even more if you want to enroll for a deeper experience.

  4. dtay45


    Jul 7, 2018
  5. dtay45


    Jul 7, 2018
    thanks this acctually helped a lot, what I would do is just hook my finger on to the string to pop it instead of just using the little bit of my finger to pop
    Reedt2000 likes this.
  6. tshapiro

    tshapiro Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2015
    Jax Florida
    So, what you need to know about slapping and popping is that you just have to practice and practice. Your hands learn all sorts of ways to strike, pop, mute and otherwise create rhythmic patterns. After doing it for years I still get better at it every week. The other thing is that it takes experience to learn how to setup your bass action (low) and your EQ (a bit scooped). There’s just a lot of things that have to come together to do it well and to have fun with it. And, a lot of it is self discovery.
    dtay45 likes this.
  7. tshapiro

    tshapiro Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2015
    Jax Florida
    Hey, in the Alexis video above @ 40:23 (exercise 18)... I really like this exercise because it gives a good example of using a muted G string as a percussive 16th note within a rhythmic pattern. I think discovering this technique is when my funk playing really took off.
  8. dtay45


    Jul 7, 2018
    that is true, i'm too impatient, just gotta keep at it!
    tshapiro likes this.
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