I *Hate Slap Bass

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by TNCreature, Sep 6, 2018.

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  1. TNCreature

    TNCreature Jinkies! Supporting Member

    Jan 25, 2010
    Philadelphia Burbs
    (Not exactly). Now that I've drawn you in with clickbate, let me clarfy:
    *I love funk and soul bass, I love technically proficient players, and I love innovators. Hell, I really like some boring schmaltz as well.
    But for every Larry Graham, V. Wooten, Stanley Clarke, etc. There are hundreds of non musical gatling gun approach players that make me feel that I am playing a completely different instrument than they are. I appreciate this technique being a tool in a players arsenal of variety.
    Almost every time I've gone into a music store to try a bass, I give up because of one of these aggressive hotdogs are filling every bit of sonic space and staring me down as if we're going to engage in a Warriors style slap-off. These are equivalent to the bike messengers of bass (no offense to bike messengers of whom many are my friends). All speed, aggression and adrenaline with chip firmly on the shoulder. Like human jackhammers (no offense to jackhammers).
    Am I alone in this?

    Who's slap technique do you find appealing and musical? Who has awesome groove? I feel that Wooten is otherworldly in his ability to be technically amazing but musically complex and compelling. Is there anything that I am missing?

    Please slap responsibly.
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2018
    Cheez, eottjake, two fingers and 7 others like this.
  2. btmpancake

    btmpancake Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2015
    Apollo beach, Florida
    Perhaps you may want to listen to some of Marcus Miller. To me, he is what I call 'a responsible slapper' because he never plays over the top and always in the groove and never too complex...at least I can understand his slap notation, timing, also where he put it, but never over do it. Joe Dart is another bass-player that mixes Slap and conventional technique with just the right amount..to me.
    Seanto, Cheez, ArtechnikA and 8 others like this.
  3. Wanker_Joe


    Sep 26, 2017
    This would awesome if it happened. I'd love to engage in a slap-off in a music store with some punk kid. The absurdity of the whole situation really appeals to me. Even better if he totally puts me in my place and I have to slink off like an old defeated fool, vowing for revenge. "I'll get you Skyler, if it's the last thing I do!"
  4. TNCreature

    TNCreature Jinkies! Supporting Member

    Jan 25, 2010
    Philadelphia Burbs
    @btmpancake I think you hit on it. Slapping can be percussive as well as melodic. Sometimes it is overly percussive/noisy to my ears.
    btmpancake likes this.
  5. TNCreature

    TNCreature Jinkies! Supporting Member

    Jan 25, 2010
    Philadelphia Burbs
    LOL. Then you would have to find the Mr. Miagi of bass players to train you and help you see your true path.
    Oh yeah, and Sweep The Leg!
  6. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    I don't slap. Not interested in it. Don't care.
  7. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass **** Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    Slap starts to turn bad when there’s not enough rhythmic space available. Sounds obvious I know but it’s a common violation.

    “Forget Me Nots” by Patrice Rushen is a great example of a fairly busy, assertive slap line that’s effective and musical....imo.
  8. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny

    Nov 20, 2000
    What you hate is not interesting to anyone but you.
  9. bass12

    bass12 Blistering barnacles! Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    There's no shortage of tasteless bass players out there. Some of them abuse with their thumbs, some with their fingers, some with a pick. It's rare I'm in a position where I'm forced to listen to such people.
    T-Funk, ColdEye and LowActionHero like this.
  10. TNCreature

    TNCreature Jinkies! Supporting Member

    Jan 25, 2010
    Philadelphia Burbs
    ...only read the title
  11. Wooten and Miller are my favorites. But their albums are always a lot more than just slap.
    I actually rarely hear someone play slap though, so when I do hear it, especially if it’s done well, it’s great.
    As for the slap gets old, yeah I get it. But even most really great snappers are playing fingerstyle 96% of the time so that gets old too.
    lancimouspitt and TNCreature like this.
  12. SteveCS


    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    My tolerance levels are quite low, but with notable exceptions, for example Marcus Miller's contributions to Bryan Ferry's 'Boys and Girls' album. There is nothing difficult about any of the lines, but IMHO the tones and note placement strike a perfect balance in the grander scheme, i.e. he plays to the song.
    TNCreature likes this.
  13. Nathan East is a pretty respectable AND restrained player in my books. I've heard a few things where he's had to "lay down the law" with that style, but at other times, he can be so subtle with it, it's almost like he's not doing it (when is REALLY is)! Check out ANY of the albums by the band "Fourplay". He even sings from time to time too!

    BUT, hearing his work on Daft Punk's "Random Access Memories" album (along with drummer Omar Hakim) really turned my ear around as to what "not to play", or how to let the SONG dictate where to go!
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2018
    lancimouspitt, ColdEye, ELG60 and 2 others like this.
  14. ardgedee


    May 13, 2018
    Why play to their expectations when you can undermine them?

    (I don't approve of the last suggestion, but this is solid otherwise)
    TNCreature and Wanker_Joe like this.
  15. To me, slap and chorus are on the same boat: Unnecessary in many cases, but golden in the right hands.
    TNCreature likes this.
  16. MD Stingray

    MD Stingray Guest

    Jan 17, 2008
    Louis Johnson.
    His timing and choice of notes played (and not played) are impeccable.
    Check out his slap-work with Jeffrey Osborne, George Duke , the Controllers and of course the Brothers Johnson.
  17. Nighttrain1127

    Nighttrain1127 Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2004
    Near Worcester MA
    I will say most slappers in most music stores annoy me to say the least. But a couple of years ago I was in the local GC and this guy starts slapping rapid fire for a few seconds then je starts this funky very musical slapping and it was amazing everyone in the place stopped even the guitar wankers and listened to him. That kind of slapping I like but most is just show off stuff.
  18. TNCreature

    TNCreature Jinkies! Supporting Member

    Jan 25, 2010
    Philadelphia Burbs
    I LOVE that album. One of my favorites. I don't think I knew that was Marcus.
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2018
    SteveCS likes this.
  19. SteveCS


    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    It's not all him. There are 3 others, including Tony Levin. Ferry always uses great bassists, IMHO...
    TNCreature likes this.
  20. ELG60

    ELG60 Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2017
    I don't slap...at all, but for me, it's Mark King:

    Admittedly, this example is a bit over the top, but his work with Level 42...that syncopated playing whilst singing, he's the Geddy Lee of pop music.
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