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one simple slap question

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by JacksonsMen, Mar 7, 2006.

  1. when using the knuckle of your thumb, should i be on the fret, between two frets, or over the pups?

    ok i lied more quesitons:
    should i be powering through the string im playing so simply popping it and lifting?

    it really bugs me that i cant slap, so im devoting most of my energy to it currently, but i dont have anyone showing me anything, just going by sound and pictures basically
  2. First question:
    It's a matter of opinion and your preferance in tone (different areas sound different). But I've heard that you shouldn't slap over the fretboard, anywhere between the end of the neck and the bridge is good.

    Second question:
    What exactly do you mean by "playing through the string"?
  3. I think through the string means slpaaing say the E string, then having your thumb resting near the A per say.

    The way i elarned was yes to pop through the string, but then some friend sof mine said not to, so im not sure either.
  4. ^I'm getting confused. First, you're talking about something similar to the double-thump technique (like Wooten). Slapping the thumb THROUGH the string and stopping it on the next one.....then you say "popping" the string, which I consider something completely different.
    ssoooo...I still don't know what he's talking about.
  5. orlfl


    Jul 22, 2005
    It depends on where you like the sound better... It can also depend on how many frets your bass has because you can end up with harmonics if you are not careful by choking the string. I tend to slap right at the end of the fingerboard. My thumb gets too buried between the strings out over the pups.

    Which addresses your second question as well. I play through the string whether or not I intend to up-thump. A lot of people bounce off the string, but I don't think that is very efficient.

    Sorry that the short answer is that people do it all of the ways that you mentioned. The good news is that any of them can be 'right' so find what feels the best and sounds the best.

    It is not an easy technique to do well. Don't let anyone tell you different. It takes practice.
  6. orlfl got what i was saying, i was asking it the 'propper' technique was to push your thumb through to the next string (coming at it horizontally*) or to bring your thumb down onto the string and pull it back off (coming at it vertically*)

    *in relation to direction as if the bass was laying flat on the ground facing up
  7. I just posted this in another thread, but it seems useful here too...

    Two words... "Slap it!" Tony Oppenheim


    This book is what I used years ago to learn the mysterious world of slappin' and poppin' - it is very easy to understand with this book. And back when I bought the book it came with, what at the time was a state-of-the-art teaching aid - a sound page! Now I don't know how old you are, but in the old days, before CD's and MP3's we used to use this thing that the rappers and DJ's use today, called a 'turntable' to play our 'records' on... This sound page was a flimsy, vinyl, square 45 that let me hear these exercises as I was reading the notes... All the differnce in the world! Get 'Slap it!' today and I promise you, next week you will be slappin' and poppin' like a pro!

  8. I play a 21 fret bass and slap with my thumb over the 20th-21st fret. I've tried slapping further out over the pups but I find that I get a much brighter sound plaing over the last couple of frets, and that's the sound I'm looking for.

    As to the other thing, my thumb bounces back after I slap. I've never really thought about it, that's just what my hand did when I started learning slap and I've never had a reason to change. That said, I've not tried to master the double thump technique yet either, so things might change when I do.

    Don't know if any of this helps, but there it is.

  9. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars

    If you're a visual person, check out Ed Friedlands "Slap Bass' book & DVD. I found it good to be able to SEE how he was doing things and be able to loop sections until I got it down. Less than 20 bucks, and it's a good one.
  10. Crash409


    Mar 19, 2006
    Hallstead, PA
    if you want i can show you over my webcam the proper way to slap and pluck, plus give you some practice pieces i use to warm up with that i wrote. get at me in PM or AIM to set up a time.
  11. thefruitfarmer


    Feb 25, 2006
    Kent UK
    Great book - one of the standard texts and the examples increase in difficulty through the book.

    I have recently started learning to slap again after a long break and it is taking me a while to learn the basic technique well...

    The progress is a little each day.

    All I can suggest is that the actual slapping motion with the thimb comes from a twist of the forearm rather than the hand and wrist.

    Also, some basses are a lot better for slapping than others - I traded in my old Rickenbacker :)crying: ) for a new Fender Precision :hyper: and the world of slap is opening up for me.
  12. I cannot find my original edition of "Slap it" - and I haven't had a turntable for years, so that old sound-page would be useless anyway. But I am going to order a new copy and re-visit it. I think I am going to look into the 'memership' on the 'Slap it' website too out of curiosity.

    That is the great thing about that particular book - it can take a beginner who doesn't know a thump from a pluck and make them sound very compitent in this technique AND it can take someone who has been thumpin' and pluckin' for years and help them refine and improve their game.
  13. If you prefer the tone you could play inbetween the frets and the pickups, but I would recomend agasint playing directly over the pickups as the string will often hit the pickup and sound awful
  14. Vorak


    Dec 6, 2005
    Madison, WI
    I have that problem a lot when I slap with my old P-Bass. When the strings hit the pickups and touch the metal part it sounds really bad. I normally slap in between the pickup and the neck.
  15. yes with metal pickups it sounds especially bad
  16. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    ...But wait: Isn't "slapping the thumb" actually "thumping"? As far as I know - I don't see much 'slapping'; I see 'thumping and popping'.

    Anyway - I follow-through the string, like Wooten-style. The part of my thumb that contacts the string is the 'meat' at the side of the thumb; I try to avoid contacting the nail much. In fact, for a couple years now I've filed and trimmed the tumbnail so that the 'quick' tapers way-down; it's quite asemmetric now, and I have a knobby callous there on the outside of my thumb.

    It just never worked for me to bounce-off the string like I've seen others do, but on the other-hand, some guy's thumbs bend way-back at the knuckle; mine doesn't do that - it stays fairly straight.

    Hey, Jack - do you use a pick? What really got me going on thumping (I have really had to work on this - it in-no-way 'came natural to me'!) was to 'pretend my thumb was a pick' (I started-out on bass using only plectrum, years-ago) - just doing scales, and playing whole songs with only my thumb.

    What has just worked-out great for me has been to integrate thumping and thumb- trailing/muting, with popping and three-finger finger-style. The hand positions are so similar, that I'm getting better all the time at switching between them, and using them together. A song that I just learned for the band that comes to mind is 'Get Down Tonight' by KC; for the main verse-part I switch from thump (on-the-ones accent on the root), to a 3-finger pluck (the quick chromatic-crawl up to the tenth), to a pop (the kind-of turn-around part - flat-7 to the octave).

  17. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    "Old school" slapping -- the kind that requires no thumb upstrokes, and the technique geezers like Larry Graham, Louis Johnson, Flea and Mark King use -- requires that you bounce your thumb off of the string, kind of like a drumstick off of a drumhead on a rebound stroke. This brings your right hand effortlessly into position for another slap. Most of the motion for this technique comes from the rotation of the wrist, and the thumb doesn't change position.

    If you're intent on learning the double thumping technique practiced by Victor Wooten, Marcus Miller and seemingly every other young guy out there now, you should follow through on the slap so that your thumb comes to rest on the string below the one you just slapped. When you bring your hand back up, attack the string again with the side or nail of the thumb. The motion for this technique comes from a combination of wrist and thumb; you'll have to move your thumb up and down in addition to rotating your wrist, to get the down-upstroke motion happening properly.
  18. Crash409


    Mar 19, 2006
    Hallstead, PA
    i had no idea that was old school slap. heh. i guess im old school. :bassist:

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