Need to slap on an audition (but I can't)

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by dnp41, Aug 18, 2019.

  1. dnp41


    May 10, 2016
    Hey Guys,

    I'm finally getting back into playing in a band. My youngest son turned 1 and we now have some time for me to take on my hobby again.

    So I jumped on a ad for a band looking for a bass player. It's just a regular all round cover band, and I played in one of those before..

    They sent me their set list and all was great. Cool songs, with a mix between old and young, rock and soul, even some blues, and some crowdpleasers. So far so good.

    But then... the horror.. they send me the 3 songs to prepare for the audition. And one if them is a RHCP song (Dark Necessities), and here I walk into the biggest flaw of my bass playing carreer. I play 100% pick, exclusively and only. As in I can barely play any song finger style and never even tried to slap a song.

    So I have 1,5 weeks to prepare and two options:
    1) learn slap bass (the line of the song is besides the ghost notes, in my ears not so hard)
    2) play it with a pick, Bobby Vega style, funky AF

    What would you do?
    bfields likes this.
  2. smeet

    smeet Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    No question, #2. Slap technique isn’t too hard, but it takes time to get the rhythmic feel solid and even. Slap without solid rhythm is the second worst sound in the bass world. ;)
    JimK, bfields, enricogaletta and 2 others like this.
  3. dnp41


    May 10, 2016
    but what is the worst?
    smeet likes this.
  4. AlenH


    Jun 18, 2019
    I had exactly the same challenge!! The finger picked part is pretty fast...(at least for me!) but manageable... The slap part I picked up over a couple of weeks... some really good tutorials for this on Utube... now.. can I play slap? No... but I can play Fleas line pretty proficiently now, including all the ghost notes... this really helps drive the rhythm. Slow it all down, and take your time... it will come!
  5. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Play it with a pick, down by the bridge, and groove. If they are looking for a slap monster, you aren't getting the gig anyway. If they ask why you played it that well, just tell them you aren't a great slapper, and wanted to nail the line.

    Highlight your strengths, not your weaknesses.
  6. enricogaletta


    May 21, 2011
    I agree with some of the previous posts, improve your pick technique in the way it sounds funky. Bobby Vega is a master on It and a great inspiration to keep in mind.
    You will sound better than play using a technique you aren't comfortable with.
    Keep in mind that Slap is not harder than other playing styles, but the dynamics and rhythms accentuate your weakness easily, even on simple bass lines that a lot of players underestimate.
    Work on the 2nd option and meanwhile develop other techniques, versatility is a powerful tool for any player :thumbsup:
    2000TA46032 and dnp41 like this.
  7. onda'bass

    onda'bass Supporting Member

    Sep 5, 2010
    Buffalo Ny
    yes, this shows holes in your playing, if you want those gigs you need to be more versatile. I just started pick playing after never doing it before and it is opening a different world. don't limit yourself.
  8. DDXdesign

    DDXdesign formerly 'jammadave' Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 15, 2003
    Dark Necessities is a difficult song even if you *can* slap! The actual slapping isn't the problem, it's the alternating muting between the ghost notes and the sounded notes, and the nonslapped, string-skipping octaves rapidfire all up and down the neck in the chorus.

    Note: I am not a fantastic slapper, but with a little practice the slapped main riff is not too bad - but switching to the chorus, well, I'm glad I don't play this one in a band. =0)
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2019
  9. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    I'd go about it in a completely different way...

    I'd super freaking nail all songs that aren't slap. Know them better than anybody in the band and be able to play them flawlessly, even if the band was screwing up (which happens lots at auditions). Then at the audition when they brought the RHCP tune up (I wouldn't bring it up) I'd tell them truth, tell them you're committed to learning to slap, and ask if they'd be willing to hold off on that song until you were confident.

    At auditions I think confidence and the ability to really nail the tunes goes further than just about anything else. If the only weakness they can see in your audition is that you can't slap, I'll bet you get the gig. I don't think that song is a "must do" for any band, and if they weren't willing to work around it in order to work you in... well, then maybe it isn't the band for you.

    I wouldn't fake the slapping in any way. Not with a RHCP tune. While I ain't these guys and have no idea what they'd think, I don't think it'll fly too well.
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2019
    dnp41 and Wasnex like this.
  10. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011

    Nothing wrong with playing with a pick...or even being a pick specialist. But I would strongly suggest that you broaden your technique a bit and develop some facility with finger style and slap if you plan to work with a cover band.

    I am primarily a finger style player and I am stronger with slap than with a pick. But when a song calls for a pick I work it out.

    If you only want to play exclusively with a pick fine...but that is going to limit the types of bands you can play with.

    You could play the line with a pick and would sound cool, but IMHO it would change the character of the groove. Maybe the band will think it's acceptable, and maybe they won't.
  11. Chad Michael

    Chad Michael Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2001
    Pacific Northwest USA
    We wish you well with the audition... Thanks Joe, you took the time to explain some very important points.

    To any electric bassist who plays covers: get out of your comfort zone and practice / use "those other" right - hand techniques... If I had a sports car, I'd feel like I was missing something when I only drive it in second gear at half throttle |c:
    dnp41 and Joe Nerve like this.
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