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my bass teacher told me i was wrong

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Fishbrain, Jun 23, 2002.

  1. Fishbrain


    Dec 8, 2000
    England, Liverpool
    Endorsing Artist: Warwick Bass and Amp
    I have been learning how to slap and it sounds good, feels good and i havent had any problems with anything ive had to do with it. I've had my hand with my fingers pointing to the floor (but curled obviously for popping). HE says i should have them pointing towards the neck at 90o kinda angle. Is my way wrong or is it gonna damage me or my technique in the long run?
    ps if it helps i have my bass kinda by my a hem wang and he has his way upon his chest (his bass not his wang)
  2. old_skool


    Aug 17, 2000
    Milwaukee, WI
    I didnt need to hear that much wang-atude but the way you slap is pretty much the way I do too, more less. I cant see any real problems with it.
  3. Stephen S

    Stephen S Member

    Apr 10, 2002
    San Bernardino, CA
    if your bass teacher is telling you to slap like that he is way off that may work if all you do is slap the e string but if you attempted to slap the a and d strings you would hit them all i point my fingers to the ground and line my finger up with the string so it is very accurate

    you might want to look back on some of the things he has taught you
  4. old_skool


    Aug 17, 2000
    Milwaukee, WI
    Im pretty sure you are the one who is off. Its a little thing called technique. Look into it. Everyone has there own methodes. And the one his bass teacher has is the more popular methode as far as I have seen among the pros.
  5. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    Both methods work. I use the overhand and underhand and the John Entwhistle typewriter methods in varying amounts.

    Your'e the bass player what do you prefer, he's only your teacher. You pay him you are the customer he's the hired help.

    I think it's time to find a new teacher. Your teacher should teach you play bass to the best of your ability and beyond not turn you into a clone.
  6. slapping for many isn't the most natural thing to do on the bass, therefore each and everyone of us will have a different approach to their style.

    We're not all the same and we also don't have identicle makups. Some find it easier to point the thumb down, so what ?

    As long as you get the sounds you want :)

    don't worry, your teacher can't tell you it's worng, wrong to him/her is their opinion and opinions don't can't as the ultimate truth!!
  7. Intrepid


    Oct 15, 2001
    You can hit the A and D like that because your knuckle sticks out from your finger...I use to slap like this with my Sting, but I bought a Rick and the p/u plate(I'm not gonna take it off by the way) got in the way and now I slap parallel to the strings.
  8. Murf


    Mar 28, 2001
    eerrrrr maybe you guys dont realise but theres a little thing called a RSI (repetitive strain injury)??

    Seriously though you cant dismiss a teachers instructions so lightly, good technique isnt always only about the best way to sound the strings in many cases its also about preventing you doing serious damage to your hands, so this idea of "ignore him man, do your own thing" is quite frankly both stupid and arrogant..(go ahead but youve only yourself to blame when your hands are shot and your crippled with tendonitis or worse).

    Yes it's hard to get to grips with the 'thumb up' technique....but hey isnt that what practice is all about???....

    or maybe Mark King, Alexis sklarevsky etc. are wrong as well:eek:
  9. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    Murf you have a point but look at the description of playing positions in the original post. The teacher has his bass on his chest. If you play fingerstyle with the bass this high you'll get tendonitus quicker than you can say Level 42.

    You can play both thumb methods without damage to your hands if you apply common sense and not listen to this teacher.

    The teacher's got it wrong hence my original answer. Sorry if it wasnt clearly put.
  10. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I would disagree and am more with Murf - the teacher is there in front of the pupil and can see problems - we can't see what's going on and I think it would be irresponsible to say a teacher's wrong without actually seeing what's going on.

    I play with my bass on my chest and play fingerstyle - have done for 20 yars no problems - I have seen people with the bass hung low who have had acute back and wrist problems.

    I know quite a few bass splayers who wear their bass high and play fingerstyle - also most of the best slappers (!) I've seen are as Murf says.

    I don't think you want to be too hung about who is right or wrong - I would discuss it with the teacher and ask why he says that - what are the advantages, disadvantages? You need to talk about these things if you are going to learn.
  11. Murf


    Mar 28, 2001
    Hi Chris,
    Sorry my above post wasnt aimed at you just at the 'ignore the/a teacher' attitude' which I come across a lot, not to say that all teachers are good God knows there are some cowboys out there.

    Having the bass high on the chest is the optimum position for 'thumb up' slap bass as its more comfortable and easier to 'hook' your entire arm around the body of the instrument (it puts less pressure on the wrist as well as the wrist and forearm arm are straight).....it dosent look particularly 'cool' though;)

    So in that sense the teacher is right, however...having read the post again I see that fishbrain holds the bass slightly below waist level, in this case I can see why 'thumb up' wont work well for him/her as he'll have to angle his wrist a lot to get it (now this is sore and dangerous).

    The teacher should have corrected this problem from the word go (ie correct positioning of the bass on the body), if the bass is hanging too low there are certain techniques you cant do without ultimately injuring yourself (you sure as hell wont be able to slap with any decent articulation if your bass is at 'Peter Hook' height;) .
  12. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    Fair enough.

    BTW The 'correct' height for a bass is when you play with it seated so adjust the strap for no movement when you stand.

    ;) included for the word correct (waits for Bruce to prove me wrong :)) no malice intended)
  13. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    If your teacher isn't telling you to raise your bass there's something wrong in the first place.

    Fishbrain, there are some drawbacks to starting without a teacher, and you just found one of them. You are used to playing a certain way, and it's comfortable for you. Super. That doesn't mean it's the RIGHT way. You may have to "unlearn" certain things in order to learn others.

    Your way of slapping won't necessarily damage you in the long run. Where your bass is located will. If you raise it you'll find you can play a lot better once you get used to it. You may even find this location lends itself to the technique your teacher is talking about.
  14. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    A friend of mine uses the thumb and hand pointed to floor technique, and he has immense speed and clarity with his slap.
    however he has had a difficult time with double thump techniques because Double thump requires your thumb to be at a more 90 degree angle(for quickest recoil hit)
    I mostly slap like you do fishbrainbut not all the time.
    I would take note what your teacher said, but you don't need to follow his advice....do what works for you.
  15. Ok, so people may agree disagree with the advice posted by others, but as it has been pointed out, we can't see what his playing posistion is, how his hands naturally fall on the bass, the way in which he plays.

    All i try and advise on, is play whatever feels comfortable. Your body lets you know what something isn't right, people do develope RSI but the intitial post pointed out the differences in playing style and the fact that he is questioning wheter what he is doing is wrong.

    All i can say is again, play what feels good to you!

    If you get the sounds good luck to you.

    I'm a good example of the adaption of playing styles. I'm 6'7 and my bass teacher is a foot smaller, we play similary but i fret slightly differently, rest my hands differently and slap differently. I do this because i have to modify my stlye to fit the instrument and ultimately feel comfortable.

    No one wrote the ultimate epoch of bass playing artistry, so get out and play, if somethings going wrong you can address the problem, but without a problem how can you find the cure?

  16. i play slap a few diffent ways if iam sitting my fingers go with the strings and my thumb point up.if iam stabding my fingers are pointing at the florr and my thumb point to the head stock.i have seen people who slap with there fingers and thumb point the floor i have tried this and i cant go as fast ill do this if i need a slap when iam playing with my fingers. ill so i have my bass no wicked low and not wicked high i found out i could slap and pop quicker and better if my arm was all most stright down.that way all you do is let your arm hang down you dont have to hold it up whhen your slaping .i was wacthing old flea videos and thats what it looks like he is doing.
  17. ldiezman


    Jul 11, 2001
    Don't think your teacher as being right or wrong really, he is a guide that will help you get better. You have your own style of playing bass.. its kinda like a fingerprint. I can tell the difference between Jaco, Victor wooten, and marcus miller. They have very distinctive ways of playing.. Victors slap techinique is different from marcus'... both are great bass players.. but which one is more right???? Most of the "great" bass players you will come across wear their bass above the stomach.. i do.. but that doesn't make me great or bad. Flea is a pretty good bass player and he has his bass low... Look at these peoples styles (your teacher included) see what they do, take what you can from it and apply it to your technique.. thats just me though.. i could be really wrong.. wouldn't be the first time ;) well maybe it would be the first time :)
  18. I just grabbed my bass and played and realized I do both. Its really random but they both work
  19. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    This is precisely what I was going to post. We can't see what the poster is actually doing, and we are going on his interpretation of the situation. There could be plenty of things going on that weren't mentioned in the original post for obvious reasons, or simply that the poster just doesn't see something he could be doing wrong.

    Essentially, this type of problem is hard to give a solid answer for without seeing any of it.
  20. Agreed, unless his hand falls off we'll just speculate that hes ok :)

    It's a completely different thing then, we all have G clamps and high quality wood glue, haven't we!!! ;)

    stu (woodworking in the Health service)

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