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Mr. Manring's Techniques

Discussion in 'Ask Steve Lawson & Michael Manring' started by Ezmar, Mar 19, 2013.

  1. Ezmar


    Jul 8, 2010
    Excuse me, Mr. Manring, I have a question for you regarding a specific technique you use in this performance.

    It's one of the performances that really turned me on to experimental and solo bass, and although I'm relatively inexperienced, only being a player for 7 or 8 years, and a serious BASS player for only 3 or 4, I feel that this style of music, and the general direction of using electric bass with similar function to a solo acoustic guitar, is something that I really catch on to. I'm currently preparing my own rendition of this piece as my feature piece in a Battle of the Bands that I'm hoping to enter myself in as a solo artist. (Fingers crossed) But that's kind of beside the point.

    My SPECIFIC question is this: In the first "Verse" (I'm going to hope you understand what I mean by this), you do something that sonically resembles a woodblock occasionally, for a sort of backbeat. Obviously, I don't strive to recreate your performance, and I play the song my own way, but how do you make that sound? I've tried several approaches, but they either sound too muted, like a click or snap, or too toneful, a palm muted popped harmonic. None of that nice, resonant, woodblock tone you get, which makes me think it may be piezo pickups embedded in the wood, a la the Hyperbass, although I don't know if your custom Sonus has such a system. In any case, pure, unrelenting curiosity is driving me to ask this question.

    As always, I'm a huge fan of your work, and hope to see you perform some day.

  2. Michael Manring

    Michael Manring TalkBass Pro Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Thank you, Ezmar!

    I'm afraid the technique you're talking about is nothing special -- just muting a string and plucking or striking it in some way. I do this in a few different ways. I think the trick is integrating it on to the other sounds you're using. I like to use a cellular rhythmic approach where a few strokes work together in a single physical gesture.

    Good luck in the battle of the bands!
  3. Ezmar


    Jul 8, 2010
    Thanks for the response!

    I suspected as much. Similarly to how I couldn't get those higher harmonics to ring out when I first started working on this tune, I guess there's nothing to do other than keep experimenting and finding new ways to create music.

    Thanks again,


    P.S. I haven't heard anything about the Battle of the Bands yet, and it's past the date where the performers were supposed to hear back, so It's likely I wasn't included. Still holding out hope, though, since there hasn't been a definitive yes or no. If not, it's no big deal. I've got plenty of life and plenty of performances left.
  4. Ezmar


    Jul 8, 2010
    Update: I have figured out one way to do it. For anyone else curious, you mute with your picking hand, and then attack the string behind the finger on the shortened sounding length. I don't know why it took me so long to figure that, but there it is.
  5. remcv8


    Apr 17, 2012
    I've wondered about that myself and it does sound like a sort of woodblock type of sound. Cool to note. Reminds me of when i was listening to thump and slap players and realized that some of the pops were noteless to fill in part of the percussive aspect. Another tool in the belt, so to speak.

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