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I just cant figure out how to write slap bass lines. Am I alone?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by warwickben, Jan 25, 2002.

  1. i can slap,i can play primus stuff and othere hard slapping stuff pretty good but i just cant figure out how to write slap bass line's.i can right other typs of bass lines.its liek a mental block
  2. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    You're not alone. But, one thing you might do is to try to immerse yourself with slap for a while. Listen to slap players and nothing but, for a month. Then try writing your own. If that doesn't work, try 2 months...and so on.

    It's just the genre that you're used to. If you get more exposure, your mental block should fade.
  3. Try listening to Peter Gabrial's Sledge Hammer and Steam. Slap done in a song writing style rather then heavy flash. Allso just take stuff that you write fingerstyle or pick style and just slap it out, hammer on's, pull offs, trills, slides and muted notes are very usefull tools too. Also Try some Marcus Miller stuff, like 3 Deuces and Panther.

    Otherwise just keep adding and think of your fav slappers and think where they would on where to toss in the pops and such.

    Dont know if I have been any help or not.
  4. NS2000Q4

    NS2000Q4 Guest

    Jan 25, 2002
    You could try to slow it down and just groove with the slap. That usually help because most people think of slapping as going like a million notes per minute. Also you should definitely check out the video "Slap Bass Program" with Alexis Skalervsky
  5. i listen to slap music all the time,like i can come up with little 5 sec of a riff thats slapped but i cant make it go on past that...like i cant link diffent slap lines i come up with. any idea will help.also i am getting the victore wotten video in the mail.

    i want to know one thing i cant figure out what you do for a left hand slap,is it like a hammer on oe what i got a a bunch of books and its like doesnt explain how to do it.
  6. Start of real simple.. take a normal finger-style bassline and play it popping.

    Then add some high-note snapping at points in the bassline where they might sound funky..
  7. utibassist


    Jan 26, 2002
    Try to use octave stretches as they are probably the most common feature in slap
  8. If you look at petty much all the lines flea writes you'll notice that they are largly just variations in octaves, so all you need to do is write a good normal finger style line, alter the octaves a bit, funk it up by delaying and speeding up within the riff, and then you should be sounding pretty funky.
  9. I've got the same problem. I've got the Slap Bass Program and I learned the technique quite well but I can't really do anything interesting with it, which I can with normal fingerstyle.
    Darn them mental blocks...

    Are there any good freeware/shareware programs that slow down wave-files or CD's. I know there is a really good one included with the SB Audigy card, but since it crashes my computer I've gone back to my old faithfull SB Live instead. I've tried the program Slow Gold, but I think it was quite worthless.
  10. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Two tips to break the habit.

    1. Detune one or two strings a half or wjole-step (up or down). Slap your ideas, you'll get new unusual sounds. Then relearn those in standard tuning.

    2. Practice your slap lick and try to shift it, e.g. if you usually start on the one, try to play it starting on the 2nd 8th or 16th for example.

    Another thing: Try to make licks that start between the beats, instead of them. Licks that "fill" the space" between the downbeats sound more interesting and have more tension.

    A good example is Gary Grainger on Scofield's Pick Hits Live, he leaves Flea crumbled in the dust :D
  11. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    Octaves are pretty cliched nowadays. It's OK to use a few, but you need to add some spice to the bassline. Try Root V slap, Root III, Root VII, arpeggio triplets, Root 11, etc.
  12. Phat Ham

    Phat Ham

    Feb 13, 2000
    THey play that on a Dennis Chambers video along with a bunch of other cool stuff. Gary Grainger is the man:D
  13. turn on your metronome or drum machine to a simple click, play to it and record yourself for 1 hour, once a day. You'll come up with things you like out of each session, and by studying the recordings you'll be able to link some stuff together, just stay in the same key for all the sessions.
  14. like when i come up with stuff whith all the ways the way most of you have said its doesnt sound like the slap sound i want. it all ways comes out like primus or just really weird. i cant figure out to get a normale funk typ sound.
  15. I've found that the stuff I slap when practicing alone has gotten pretty stagnant. Every once in awhile I'll come up with something interesting. However.. when playing with a drummer I tend to feed off of what the drummer plays (and the drummer feeds off of me) and I come up with far more interesting stuff. It's too bad that the only drummer I've played with goes to a different college.

    Even playing along with some kind of synthesized drum rhythm causes more interesting things to come out of me.
  16. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson SUSPENDED Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Start studying drummers (and no, I don't mean Fieldy;))

    Because slap is a percussive style, working percussion into your playing can open lots of doors. You can start by mimicing simple bass drum-snare drum patterns. You can use octaves to practice this but on the octave tip... what Embellisher said.

    Listen to rhythm guitar lines, too. See if you can incorporate some of that feel into your style. Listen to the rhythms that surround you... sounds corny but I'm serious.

    Try playing fingerstyle lines slapped... it'll probably help with your dexterity. Learn how to work dead or ghost notes, they can add alot of texture to your lines and can make what you sound more full. By the same token, take an overly busy line and simplify it. If you're going to practice with a drum machine, try it with the click on 2 and 4 and work on "feel".

    One more thing, I've noticed a lot of slap is top heavy, like tapping. Concentrate on laying a serious foundation to your slap... it can really propel a song.

    That might keep ya busy until Friday;)
  17. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    Got some good advice so far in this thread, I'm going to move it over the the Technique forum and see if we can get you a few more bites.
  18. oneperson who replied said its like drummingi. under stand like how slap like drumming..i get the idea slaping like the bass drum and poping is like the


    i have my drummer's drum set at my house so i could just figure out kicks and snare pattens and take that to pattens on my bass and figure out what notes to put when in the patten
  19. I just wanted to mentioned that the Peter Gabriel's bassist actually plays with two pieces of wood taped to his fingers. It sounds like he's slapping but what he is doing is resting his hand on the top of the bass and tapping the string with these 4" inch popsicle sticks, err something.

    If you've seen it, you know how wacky it is...
  20. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    they're called funk fingers, and tony levin (the bassist) sells them on his website, iirc. www.papabear.com

    they are small drumsticks.

    he doesn't use them all the time - listen to "one world" by dire straits. he played on that song. very very cool funky slap line.

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