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Learning to slap

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by seanm, Jun 28, 2012.

  1. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize!

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    The band really wants to play "Higher Ground" as done by RHCP. The problem is I don't slap. Not even a little. I am very much a P bass with flats type of guy.

    Realistically, how long would it take to learn not only to slap, but play Higher Ground?

    A much more secondary question is will a P bass work well for this type of slap? I would put rounds on.
  2. Earache


    Feb 3, 2012
    When away from your bass, practice double thumping your thumb on your belt buckle a lot. In that position your index finger creates a natural hook shape. Good form for your popping. Double thump, pop, repeat. Higher Ground is all about octaves, which practicing can promote a firm slapping foundation. When you pick up your bass you'll have the thumb ready. You could have the song in a day or two I would think.

    Your P bass will be work fine. I would for sure put on rounds but others may disagree.
  3. pengyou40


    Dec 2, 2010
    Depending on your abilities and how intensely you practice, you're looking at anywhere from 3-6 months to play that song decently. It's a pretty fast tempo and has a lot of slapping and popping.
  4. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    You should try to turn them on to the original version. Much cooler groove in my opinion.
  5. eddododo

    eddododo Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2010
    Hell yea man, check out the original , put a thumpy flat spin on it
  6. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    Seriously, if you don't slap at all that's asking a bit much. But if you're determined I'd say maybe a month?
  7. enricogaletta


    May 21, 2011
    I agree with some previous post, the 60% depend just from you but play things good require anyway some time that you can't skip plus the song you picked up it's not a slap bass line for entry level slap players.
    Anyway good luck!
  8. Blake Bass

    Blake Bass Supporting Member

    Jan 10, 2006
    Montgomery, Texas
  9. parmezans


    Nov 25, 2011
    All in all- you have to learn how to slap.
    At least 10% of songs out there are slapped on, globally. (I'm pulling this out of my ass) :D
    Would you settle for not being able to do at least 10% of your potential?
  10. SoVeryTired

    SoVeryTired Endorsing nothing, recommending much

    Jul 2, 2011
    Milton Keynes, UK
    I'd guess closer to 1%. Even less if you exclude the 80s. :D
  11. phillybass101


    Jan 12, 2011
    Artist, Trickfish Amplification Bartolini Emerging Artist, MTD Kingston Emerging Artist. Artist, Tsunami Cables
    I'd say you need to find another song to slap to if you don't slap at all. Still do higher ground but play it with your fingers or a pick. The song would still sound awesome with some aggressive picking. If you use flats, flats are the antithesis for slapping. For slap you need roundwounds, nickel or stainless steel.
  12. jgroh

    jgroh Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2007
    When I joined my new band, we added Higher Ground. I can slap but dont do alot of it as I play mostly rock and prog so it took me a little bit of practice to get it up to tempo. There are a couple of good youtube videos on how to do it. A P bass should be fine. Now I love playing it because I can just go off and people love it. I also throw in some double thumping during the verses instead of the root-octave and it sounds really cool too. I particularly like the chorus part and I really go off in those parts.
  13. jgroh

    jgroh Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2007
    Oh anyone can make up statistics, 42% of all people know that!

  14. Fast, just practice incessantly. You could learn from tablature:


    Or simplify the pattern to one repetition, no variations, as little work as possible, and don't even worry that it's not identical to the original, for example invent something like this one bar (T=thumb, P=pluck, H=hammer-on):

    H -----------a
    P --e--e--g-g-
    T E--EE-G--A--

    (the tune is in 12/8, so each hyphen is an eighth)


    Close enough that by the end of the tune they won't remember it's not the original.

    With the thumb, just remember you are hitting the string solidly but at an angle, once you have hit it the thumb goes on to end up on the fretboard past the string to let it vibrate. If this is too hard (however it is best to give it a good chance for a few days), but picking is easy, you can hit the bottom notes with the pick, then pluck the plucked notes with the middle finger.

    You can also get away with flats if you need them for all your other stuff and can't afford a used Affinity J off craigslist for $99. Just turn up the treble.
  15. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize!

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    Thanks for all the replies. I am really up in the air on this. I have zero extra time right now. I am also suspicious that the song won't work and would be dropped.

    parmezans: This song is completely out in left field for us. The odds I will need to play a second slap tune are close to zero unless it is another RHCP song.

    And the band does know about the original version. The reason we looked into Higher Ground is because we are learning Superstition.

    I really have zero motivation to learn to slap right now. Maybe in the winter when I have more free time.

    I am glad the P bass could work. I even have the rounds to put on it.
  16. enricogaletta


    May 21, 2011
    I just mean that learn a new technique as anything else in music require a little bit of time, it's not just a matter of personal skills but require also time to assimilate it. Everyone can thumb and pluck, but doing it properly, in the pocket with tempo and with good tone isn't a thing that you learn in one week even if you are talented guy as everything you learn in life.
    Cheers. Enrico
  17. Tupac


    May 5, 2011
    Why not learn how to slap? It's very fun you'll find. Anyway, this is an intermediate song that, to play cleanly enough to perform, you'll be slapping for a few months. See if you can play a fingerstyle adaption, or better yet, the original.
  18. bass_study


    Apr 17, 2012
    I think if you want to learn slapping from now and to play that song decently, I think I At least takes 6 months
  19. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I grow organic carrots and they are not for sale
  20. Emilym80


    Sep 15, 2011
    +1. You're lucky in that there are few (or no) ghost notes from what I remember, which can really make it hard. For me anyway :p
    I'd say if you really need to get it down properly practice it half an hour- an hour everyday. How long it'll take really depends on how good you are. Anyway, good luck :)

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