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Louis Johnson slap

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by Mike88T, Jul 26, 2004.

  1. I just watched 8:16 seconds of his slap bass technique video and had to stop as it made my eyes hurt trying to follow his hands.

    Put this one on the shelf for a couple of more years.
  2. -He's the H.B.M.-

    (human bass machine) :cool:

    I used to have some video of Louis, liked his style and loved his sound. :cool:
  3. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta (Grant Park!)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    It's even scarier in person! :eek: :bassist:
  4. DigMe


    Aug 10, 2002
    Waco, TX
    I thought this thread was going to be a link to a video of Louis Johnson slapping Glenn Danzig.

    brad cook
  5. Jazzin'

    Jazzin' ...Bluesin' and Funkin'

    Louis Johnson a.k.a. "thunderthumbs"
    this dude is insane, impossible to keep up with.
  6. He's got a creepy voice...........

    But that hand is just a machine, incredible.
  7. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Hm, I remember it as quite sloppy...
  8. pyrohr


    Aug 28, 2001
    Pakistani compound
    I saw him live last year twice! Yes he is very sloppy and even cocky. He asked if any bass players wanted to play and I almost took him up on it! It would have only turned into a pissing contest though so I kept quiet! I am totally not impressed with louis Johnson. He remides me of most bass playes that came out of Jamaica Queens in the mid 70's. Hell we can all thump and pop with the best of them! Especially in the b.s. key of "E"
  9. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    I dunno, I find that playing kind of impressive - that constant 16th note pulse with all those syncopations and dead notes.

    I can play that stuff when it's written out for me, but it doesn't come naturally yet. I do agree that it's kind of monotonous to listen to all of those riffs in open E, though.
  10. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA

    Was it a "THOU CANNOT DEFEAT THE MIGHTY LOUIS JOHNSON!!!" or "Who wants to come jam? It'll be fun"?

    He's a technique whiz, but I can only imagine how good he would be if he believed in economy of motion. He's fast, but imagine if his hand didn't go 3 feet from the fretboard with each strike.
  11. DigMe


    Aug 10, 2002
    Waco, TX
    I always sensed a bit of insecurity in Johnson. I've heard several times when he seems to be defending himself against Larry Graham when Graham's name wasn't even really brought up. He claims that while Graham was popularizing electric slap on the west coast he was doing the same on the east coast. I have no idea how it went. I love watching Graham though and I think his basslines are much more creative (such as the bassline to "Hair") and he's just a very entertaining guy to watch....that really tall, skinny black man up there in all white playing a stark white bass. I have this video where he's just talking about bass playing as he's playing a simple walking bass line and then all of a sudden he just tears into "Can You Handle It" and then he all of a sudden just goes back to the walking bassline and talking again and then all of a sudden tears into "Hair." It's great.

    brad cook
  12. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Louis had to learn how to slap from somebody and legend has it that Larry Graham did it first! So why can't Louis give the man some credit for popularizing the style and bringing it to the forefront?! Louis can play and is considered a legend! What frikkin' more does he need! I heard cats doing his kind of stuff before I ever heard of a Louis Johnson! I will give him credit for performing long and sustained slap solos as I had never heard anyone do more than 4 or 8 bars back in the day and I will give him credit for being a badass back then. By todays standards, there are cats out there who'll 'slap' him silly! If he's really uptight, he needs to take a chill pill!
  13. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta (Grant Park!)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    What is with that?! It seems like there was a clique in Queens that said, "Since we can't make great funk songs like those Brooklyn bands, we'll just all sound alike." However, the cream did rise to the top with people like Marcus, Tom, Reggie, etc. I still find the fast and wild motion of his right hand somewhat amazing, being that he's not getting ringing from the other strings.
  14. The_major_Rajor


    Apr 15, 2003
    I hate to bring up Mark King again... but when it comes to 80's style slapping in "E", He is the King!!!

    Oh yea... I have seen that site before, check out Marks solo, it is scripted but he can do similar stuf on the fly as well.
  15. danshee

    danshee Banned

    May 28, 2004
    Chicago, Illinois
    Hell we can all thump and pop with the best of them! Especially in the b.s. key of "E"[/QUOTE]

    I love when people say this type of stuff. "You're lame if you play in "E"! Whatever. Last time I played in it, it was still a valid key to play in. No one in the audience griped about me playing in it!
  16. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    Jeeze - I did covers of Brothers Johnson stuff in the mid 70's. That slappin' crap was all real new back then and LJ's lines were as hard to cop as anyone elses. Made the Earth Wind and Fire set feel like a cakewalk....
  17. pyrohr


    Aug 28, 2001
    Pakistani compound
    Chucky baby!
    I may have mentioned Queens as a place where we all thumped and popped but guess what? Myself, Tom barney, and Marcus are all from Brooklyn! It's that I noticed apon moving back to Brooklyn in the mid 70's very few bassplayers here did it. I think it had to do with the ruralness (if that's a word) the place where there are no ball courts, no one hung out on corners and all stores closed at 8pm including summertime, music is all we had to do. That is why jamaica had soo many musicians. We played music all the time and alway's had battles off the bands going on! You had to be as good or better than the average guy to get in on the jammin goin on! Sorta like being good at basketball and staying on the court without losing. We practiced all the time.
  18. KenToby


    Aug 15, 2002
    Louis is from L.A. NOT the east coast. On the Starlicks video he talks about developing his style in his L.A. highschool orchestra rehersal room. At 19 years old he and brother George were picked up by Quincy Jones in 1975 for Quincy's Japan tour that year.

    Sloppy? Yea, I've seen the video clip here on TB and yea while trying to be dramatic on stage he's on the edge but as a fan who owns the teaching video and EVERY Bro's Johnson album, he's in TOTAL control when necessary. His finger style is wonderful. I'll say it again, you GOTTA get the "LIGHT UP THE NIGHT" album! I gotta tell you guys... There are none better. Oh yea, there different takes on the style like Victor and his double thumb thing, etc. but for just straight up funk'in most of us can only wish.

    Take another look doubters.


  19. pyrohr


    Aug 28, 2001
    Pakistani compound

    I love when people say this type of stuff. "You're lame if you play in "E"! Whatever. Last time I played in it, it was still a valid key to play in. No one in the audience griped about me playing in it![/QUOTE]

    When everyone started thumpin and poppin in the early 70's they ALL did it in the key of "E". Can you imagine how much alike everyone sounded? it's easy to see the open "E" play's a big part in that sound, But as time went by it all sounded soo done before. There are only so many variations of funk when you limit yourself to just that key. As a matter of fact older bassist (time on the instrument) here thumpin and poppin in "E" and say "oh boy" What I'm saying is The key of "E" for that style lasted about as long as that disco beat off the hi-hat cymbal did. At times it's fun, just like a good disco jam. Let two or three people in a row do it and I bet your attention will be lost.
  20. pyrohr


    Aug 28, 2001
    Pakistani compound

    I've seen Louis when he played with Billy Preston. He was 17 years old at the time. He was a good bassplayer then and was NOT thumpin and poppin at the time. He had taken the place of another bassplayer who was formally with the Fivestairsteps Name Keni Burke who WAS thumpin and poppin at that time! Keni had moved from Chicago to L.A. to be around his friend Larry Graham. this was around 70-71 after ooh child was recorded. Louis's break came when "Q" heard the brothers and decided to use them. Louis is a good bassplayer, but he is far from the best or funkiest out there. If you think he is you have lived a very sheltered life!