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Is slapping my thing?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by fingerguy, Oct 1, 2018.

  1. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    In my case, it’s intentional. Usually.
  2. RyanOh

    RyanOh Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Jun 10, 2016
    Rhode Island
    I had to listen to it, more like hard attack pops.

    I never realized there was a slap controversy prior to joining TB. To me, it's like playing pick vs. fingers vs. mute.
    Bassist4Eris likes this.
  3. foolforthecity

    foolforthecity Supporting Member

    IMG_1733.JPG For those that care, John Liebman has a book that's been out there for years that helps build up the mechanics for slapping. If you're just starting from scratch it will help you get your funk on
    ObsessiveArcher and Ryan6491 like this.
  4. Altitude

    Altitude An ounce of perception, a pound of obscure. Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2005
    Denver, nee Austin
    I play in a 70s-80s horn funk band. There’s lots of slap in the material, so I do that.

    If I played in an Iron Maiden tribute band, I probably wouldn’t.

    OP, are you considering whether you want to pursue gigs where you’d be asked to slap, or are you just pondering what to play sitting in your mom’s basement?
    Double E likes this.
  5. Seanto


    Dec 29, 2005
    For a moment i was thinking that maybe we should just call slap an extended technique. But that would usually mean it is only useful in niche or no traditional situations. I think with the modern standard, any bass centered dance music could introduce a slap element and not be a surprise. So with that in mind, i probably have to lean towards it being an essential technique right beside finger plucking and playing with a pick for a versatile bassist. It's also permeated to other styles far from funk, like metal. We are also still hearing the occasional slap tone in general pop music too, as well as EDM(which is immensely popular) even if not actually played on a bass or just sampled.
    Bassist4Eris likes this.
  6. jwr


    Jun 28, 2010
    Overland Park, KS
    I honestly do not understand the reasoning behind limiting yourself on an instrument in anyway. I've practiced various types of finger style playing, I've used picks off and on for 20 years, I've practiced slap (this is actually super hard), and even tapping (also super hard for), hell I practice thumb only playing as well or using all of my fingers on the strings.

    If the instrument is doing what I want in a pleasing way, then it's all gravy to me. The method of how I achieved my sound means little to me.
  7. Acoop

    Acoop Supporting Member

    Feb 21, 2012
    "If you have to ask you can't afford it." ... Saying that, slap is just a style. ... Can you play music? ... Jazz or blues or country or funk or etc? ... Music is important, ... styles? ... not so much.
  8. Element Zero

    Element Zero Supporting Member

    Dec 14, 2016
    It’s a fun technique. Everyone should learn the basics and at least get to the point where they could play the RHCP version of Higher Ground at a gig. Buuuuut I know so many of you HATE the technique and will just talk mad trash about it and never actually learn something new. It’s cool. I hate Fender Jazz basses and don’t care that other people love hem.

    It’s strange. Of all the 20 or so bass players I know personally, every single one of them slap extremely well.
    lancimouspitt likes this.
  9. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris Frat-Pack Sympathizer

    Depends on the types of music you're interested in playing. If you're going to tackle funk or fusion, sure, you can play a lot of stuff without slapping, but you've also closed yourself off from a whole lot of potential repertoire by ignoring the technique. And contrary to one popular TB myth, audiences eat it up.

    Focused more on, say, country or reggae or something? You can probably safely skip it.
  10. Ya don't need slap. Perfect and perform what you use.
  11. Old Blastard

    Old Blastard

    Aug 18, 2013
    I slap a little. Its sort of like making small talk on a date. I'm not that good at it and it feels awkward, but I do it, anyway.

    But I never slap my thing unless it has been very bad.
    4dog likes this.
  12. dBChad


    Aug 17, 2018
    Daytona Beach, FL
    While I consider myself a rather "meat and potatoes" player, I do challenge myself to play baselines a bit more melodically than just following a chord progression (I'll even mix in harmonies and chords myself when the guitarists goes into a solo). I do this because I get bored with note-for-note playing. I don't want to get replaced with an MP3 player, so I focus on ways to add some creative phrasing to the songs.

    I'm not great at slapping, but I try to do at least a few minutes a day until I'm more comfortable with it. I doubt it will ever be my go to technique, but I wouldn't mind being able to pull it out in moderation just to add my own unique touch to the songs I play.
    saabfender and Old Blastard like this.
  13. 1bassplayinfool

    1bassplayinfool -Nowhere Man- Supporting Member

    No, slapping is not my thing... I'd rather let a belt do the talkin'
  14. Hounddog409


    Oct 27, 2015
    Same here. I have ZERO desire to slap, so why would I wakes my time?
    Anhg77 likes this.
  15. I started to learn how to slap, but have yet to figure out what works for me. I think it's a great idea to have another technique in your arsenal. Also, it's fun to try and learn new things. I have put slap off to the side for now, but plan to revisit it in the future. Who wouldn't want to learn this, even for a party trick?
  16. I started slapping way back in the seventies playing covers. The first tune I learnt was “Rocksteady” by Aretha and later, “Until You Come Back To Me” also by Aretha. Chuck Rainey’s technique was quite different to Larry Graham’s though - he used the tips of his fingers which produced a softer, rounder sound rather than the more common crisp clicky thumb style that Larry used. I began to adapt to Larry’s approach. We played some Graham Central Station for a while but later we moved on and slapping became much less in demand. I wrote a tune back in the ‘80s that used it but after a while we didn’t play that one either. These days I don’t use it at all and haven’t for many years. It just doesn’t come up so I don’t do it. My technique has no doubt rusted up a bit but if I don’t need it, no big thing. These days it’s just fingers and a good groove. Nothing else required.
    A word to the uninitiated: if you use round wounds it will murder your frets eventually. Mine got grooves in them.
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2018
  17. slobake

    slobake resident ... something Supporting Member

    I love slapping

    Helix likes this.
  18. I used to play TONS of slap in the 80s and 90s, but mine was of the mathy, homegrown-style, all-originals variety. There was very little funk in it, it was more about sounding like a machine. It was fun. I listen back to it and go "wow." But nowadays whenever I slap, almost without exception (the exception would be Just the Two of Us), I am kidding.
  19. twinjet

    twinjet CFM-equipped Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Sep 23, 2008
    I know how to slap well enough to sound cool for a few measures. Beyond that, nope.
  20. el_Bajo_Verde


    May 18, 2016
    I don't want to be one-dimensional like the majority of bassists, so I learned to slap :)
    dBChad and Nephilymbass like this.

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