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Left handed slapping

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Josh_15, Nov 5, 2003.


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  1. Ive got interested in left handed slapping, how is it done, ive got the right hand technique pretty sorted but i need the whole left hand thing explaining to me. And is it used in the Incubus - Redefine drum & bass solo at the end?:meh:
     
  2. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    Oh look...


    OK, because there are a boat load of threads that include the words left hand and slap. I'll briefly explain it...

    Your left hand smacks the fretboard. Now go play.
     
  3. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
  4. JimK

    JimK

    Dec 12, 1999
  5. JimK

    JimK

    Dec 12, 1999
    Yeah, but...
    It's so much more involved than that.
    ;)

    Really anything goes-
    -A constant "rhythmic" ostinato can be played with the fretting hand slap
    -A counter-rhythm can be played with the fretting hand against the plucking hand's thumps/pops
    -Use both hands for playing/practicing bass paradddles
    -Use both hands for playing groups of 3 against 4
    ...or groups of 4 against 3

    Yaddayaddablahblah.
     
  6. Thanks JimK, your help was slightly better than Matts somewhat :bag:
     
  7. JimK

    JimK

    Dec 12, 1999
    I guess that makes me somewhat slightly Stoopid Jim?
    Thanks.

    :meh:
    ;)
     
  8. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA



    I know karate :ninja:
     
  9. ga_edwards

    ga_edwards

    Sep 8, 2000
    UK, Essex
  10. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Josh_15, here's my 2c worth.

    First, congratulations on your willingness to get into this stuff and study a new technique. You're miles ahead of 99% of the bass players out there.

    Next, if you're a right handed player there IS no other slapping besides left hand slapping. That's what it's all about. You slap with the flat of the hand. Period. I've never seen anyone slap someone with their thumb. Have you?

    Then, you're in for a very interesting learning experience. I've been playing the bass for about 30 years, and slapping for the last 15 or so. When I first started slapping (and I took lessons from one of the best), it took me six months to unlearn everything I thought I knew about bass playing. That's because ordinarily, with finger style, your consciousness is in your right hand. Your right hand determines the rhythm, and your left hand just has to kinda "be there" on the correct note when you address the string.

    Not so with (left-handed) slap. Your consciousness has to be in your LEFT hand. The LEFT hand determines the rhythm, and your right hand just kinda has to "be there" on time. It's a totally different approach, and it takes a while to get it. But oh boy, once you've got it, the sky's the limit.

    For learning material, one very good book I can recommend (comes with audio in either tapes, CD's, or cheap vinyl), is Tony Oppenheim's "Slap It!" IMHO that's still one of the better self-study slap courses. It contains all the important basics. But take your time with it. Don't race through it 'cause it won't sink in.

    And the most important thing is: practice a LOT. One of my favorite methods is to pick up cheap used CD's that have something funky on them, and slap till I drop. Let's see, 80's dance material is very good for that purpose, stuff like Paula Abdul is great (not what I'd normally be listening to a lot, but perfect for slap practice). Also if you want to hear a slap monster, check out Mark White from the Spin Doctors. He has a great slap groove, and a lot of the stuff he does is pretty accessible. When I was learning, I used to put together cassettes of all kinds of different slappable material, ranging from the B-52's to Stevie Wonder and everything in between. Basically, when you get good enough, you can slap to just about anything.

    It might be a little tough at first, so don't be discouraged. Just hang in there, and then one day it'll just come to you (like a light bulb going on). You'll probably be doing machine gun triplets inside of a week, but to get a tasty slap groove going takes a little longer. Just hang in there, and keep practicing. It's a good idea to take a few lessons when you're first starting out, you won't need many, just maybe five or six to get the basics down. But only take slap lessons from a good slapper, someone who's been doing it a while. Someone who's got what you want. Everyone and their brother claims to be able to slap, but only a few good players can hold a tasty and consistent groove. Stick with the best, and you'll become one of them.

    Cheers! - Brian
     
  11. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    This is a little misleading. "Slap" is a commonly accepted term in the bass world that means to strike the string with the thumb - quite obviously not the open hand slap that you would apply to someone's face.

    Secondly, left hand slap is by far not the ony kind. Plenty of great lines (most of them, IMO) that were slapped were strictly right hand lines. You notion that the right hand "just has to be there" is pretty far out of the box.

    Josh, do a search in this forum for plenty of resources on left hand slap - and good luck!
     
  12. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Hi Pacman, you seem to be on the same page as many others on this forum, and I'll defer to your expertise. I've gotten beat up for my viewpoint on this several times already, but I'm one of those old fogies who remembers when there was no such thing as slap. I actually lived through the entire development of slap (well, not including Slam Stewart). Back in the old days, when Larry Graham was doing his thing, they didn't call it "slap". It was called a lot of other things, but not slap. The use of "slap" as a generic term to refer to anything that kinda sounds like that, is a relatively late development in the etiology of the vocabulary. My view is, it's one of those "word origin" things. "Slap" started out meaning something very specific, and over the years it got transmogrified into a generic term to reference a playing style that basically involves "anything that sounds like what those guys do". So yeah, it's all over the literature. But that doesn't mean it's correct. It's kinda like referring to a motorcycle as a "bike". It's common usage, but it's not exactly accurate.

    But, that's neither here nor there. And it doesn't really matter. The point is that if you're a left hand slapper, there's a new world of sound and technique available to you that has no parallel in the right hand world. "Plucking" a string with your index or middle finger is not really slapping. "Popping" a string with your thumb is not really slapping either. To get a true slap sound, you HAVE to use your left hand. There's no other way. All the right hand stuff is just an embellishment to make the left hand groove sound meaningful.

    That's just my 2c worth. I don't claim to be an expert on the vocabulary or the way it's used. I do know the technique though, been doin' it for a long long time. I'm probably speaking from an expert's perspective by saying that if you wanna be a good slap player, you HAVE to learn how to use your left hand. Have you ever been to a NAMM show? Hung out at the Alembic booth? Check out some of the slap monsters who show up there, and ask THEM. You might be surprised by what you hear between jams. There's a lot of good history over there, and Ron and the Alembic crew have seen a lot of it too. Ask him to tell you some stories about Louis Johnson. It's a great way to spend an hour or two!
     
  13. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    Something that really helps to get funky with slapping... drummers or to a lesser extent drum machines. I know when a drummer lies down somethin' funky, I get super funky. Without a good drummer, I sound like a stale marshmellow.
     
  14. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Good one Matt! What does a stale marshmallow sound like? Maybe there's an opportunity in there somewhere. A clever and talented bass player could develop that soound and make it Top 40. Then we could have discussions about what "marshmallow" means :)
     
  15. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    I'm not arguing that you need to be able to do it - I slap as good as anyone I've met - and use the left hand slap considerably. But some of the greatest lines in the history of the electric bass were slapped without the left hand thing, and you should be able to lines without it, too.
     
  16. JimK

    JimK

    Dec 12, 1999
    Show me.
    Then hit me...if you can.


    :)
     
  17. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA


    Ah, haven't seen the Flea video have you? ;) It's not very "instructional" but is sure is hiliarious. Flea and River Pheonix are really really high and they just keep rambling about the stupidest stuff. "The only time I play with a pick is when I have one in my hand..." etc. And at one point he says that a jam can either be a comet falling from the heavens with funkwarts all over it or sometimes you can just end up with a stale marshmellow. :D
     
  18. tucker

    tucker Guest

    Jan 21, 2001
    North Carolina
    The next time your write a post like this, it will end with you being banned. Just about everything your wrote violates the user agreement and I will not stand for it. ~Mod.
     
  19. jamesboles

    jamesboles

    Jul 7, 2003
    what the godddamn hell did tucker say?

    your are a bias opionated conservative nonsqtr from texas no less!
    i invented my own technique that has a 16th followed my a triplet with 16th notes and a 32 then an eightth note and it repeats. i acheive this feat of bass virtuosity by SLAPPING and muting individually with all of my right hand digits and by only muting with my SLAPPING RIGHT HAND DIGITS! this is of course assuming we all are discussing a left handed slap as being preformed by left hand digits and not the actual hand, which technically isnt a "slap" at all, muahahhahah! i will prove this to anyone in bakersfield california that wants to see and confirm!


    grrrrrrr!!!!
     
  20. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Recess is over, kiddies. Go back to class.


    Thread closed.
     



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