Improving hand strength for tapping and slapping

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by kirbywrx, Jul 7, 2003.

  1. kirbywrx

    kirbywrx formerly James Hetfield

    Jul 27, 2000
    Melbourne, Australia.
    I know how to tap and slap. I just want to get that clear so i dont get lectures on how to do it. :D

    But after playing constantly for about 2 or 3 minutes, my hands and fingers start to ache. And when i tap i can only do it for about 30 seconds and ive had it. When i slap, my bicep tends to go weak, and when i tap my fingers just ache.

    How to i build strength? My i let you know that i wont be touching a bass for the next few weeks :D

    Lift weights or what?
  2. Lenko


    May 3, 2003
    With practice you'll get used to it, but some kind of sport would help; also use rubber balls and stuff like that; it makes your whole arm stronger.
  3. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    You're slapping and tapping too hard.

    Slapping does require very little strength, it's all in the bounce - a lighter touch will make you faster and will increase your ability to play longer.

    Tapping is the same, it takes a while to find out the minimum amount of force needed, one tends to tap too hard. Also, the dexterity needed will come over time, but it's not to be confused with strength.

    Maybe you should check your action too.

    Forget those devices, they don't really help and are potentially harmful.
  4. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Maybe your hand/arm is tense.
  5. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    What JMX said. Lighten up. I barely have noticeable callouses on my hands anymore, I saw the light years ago. You not only gain better control over a wider dynamic range, you use much less energy which means you can play longer with less physical duress. Coupled with the economy of motion it makes it much easier to slap or tap faster too. Think of it as a finesse thing.

    Try it... it doesn't happen overnight but when it finally clicks the results are pretty amazing.
  6. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    Maybe you need to sturb some more.

    sorry, I just had to say it. :p

    at anyrate, There isn't really anything you can do to speed up the process, just gotta practice. You could try doing tapping stuff that is fairly rudimentary, but uses all your fingers, like chromatic stuff, or scales.

    Check your action for sure, Tapping is far easier using lower action.
  7. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Hmmm...I kind of know what you mean. When I tap for any longer than a minute or so with a repetitive line using my left hand, my forearm muscles begin to ache really nastily. For slapping, how are you doing it? I find that it's much easier to slap when your forearm is at about a 20° angle to the strings or so and you use your wrist/muscles in your thumb to slap. It's a lot less tiring and much more finessed. Plus, if you're slapping on the higher strings, you can use your forearm to prevent sympathy vibrations from the lower strings.
  8. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA

    :eek: That's the first time I heard it called that... at first I was like... what's he talking abo... ohhhhhhhhh :eek:
  9. As Jaco said, He got his chops from playing an 8 set gig when he was a kid. What im saying is that only practice will build your endurance up to the point you want it. Try doing simple rhythms fast and over and over again untill your muscles ache. Then take a break for 5-10 minutes and do it again. I garuntee after a month of doing this intensly you will be able to play longer and faster.
  10. ga_edwards


    Sep 8, 2000
    UK, Essex
    I got the Stu Hamm video a while ago. what really helped me, was one of the first things he went through, posture. Slapping and tapping becomes much easier if you wear the bass higher, not jazz high, but somewhere round the chest-midrift area. You'll find that most of the slap action will come from the wrist and forearm, and not the elbow, as it would if played lower. Your bicep should stop aching. slapping lower, depending on which technique you use sould also surely kill your wrist.
    You'll also find that youw left hand technique and reach will improve if worn higher. try putting the thumb behind the neck and arching finger over it if your a thumb on top of neck player. reach and speed in greatly increased.

    Also try stainless steel strings, if you use nickel strings to make the tapped notes ring out, plus some judicious eq, maybe some compression to really raise the volume of tapped notes, and lower the slapped lines to even things out. You'll find you don't need to tap so hard then.