Question about my slap technique

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Fractal, Apr 4, 2005.

  1. Fractal


    Nov 11, 2004
    I have been playing slap for quite a while and feel like I have it down pretty well. But today I noticed that I have to try hard to make slap notes ring out for a while when it is not on the E string. This is because I naturally rest the palm (near the wrist) of my right hand on the strings mutting them. Palm muting I think, right? While this does seem to help keep everything clean sounding it makes it hard for me to have one note keep ringing. So I started trying to play without resting my hand at all. It was a little more difficult and I just feel less accurate because I have no "anchor". So I guess my question is if it is better to play slap without "anchoring" your hand anywhere and just keeping it floating or not. And whether it is good to do either depending on the song.
  2. FUNKonthewall

    FUNKonthewall Nailing The Groove

    Sep 29, 2004
    Atlanta, GA
    Endorsing: Fodera Guitars, Aguilar Amps, Dunlop/MXR Accessories
    When I slap, I use the underside of my forearm (near the elbow) resting against the body of the bass as my anchor. It works for me because my hand is free to mute any of the strings that I wish, but I can also remove my hand and still have an anchor to keep things articulate. I'm not sure how high you wear your bass, but if you wear it in your mid-region try this out. It might take a little bit to get the feel of it, but it free's up your hand so you can make it do whatever you want it to. Also, muting unplayed open strings with your fretting hand is another good way to help you free up you slapping hand. Here's a pic of what I'm trying to explain:

    Attached Files:

  3. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    If you are muting the string that you slap, it will indeed be difficult to have it ring out properly.

    I do most of my muting with my left hand. Deaden the strings on either side of the one I am slapping, and make sure that I am not touching that one. Works like a charm. Sounds clean, and the note rings out.
  4. I agree with Funkonthewall, I use my forearm to rest on the body for an anchor. It allows me the freedom to move when slapping and i still transition quickly to fingerplucking.
  5. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass ****

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    Yea, no muting with your right hand when slapping. Everything from the elbow down needs to be free to rotate and get that loose-slap-gyro-motion going on. I even come in from a slightly lower than the pic above. It's tough to come in from over the top with your bass sagged, but some can do it.
    Rather than working on a muting strategy, I would be practicing my slapping acuracy. Bieng able to slap the string you want every time without disturbing any others is a pretty basic requirement for good slappage. In jazz band we used to play 4 or 5 different types of scales in one octave cycling in fourths, all 12 keys of every scale. Later on I did the same exercise on my electric, all slapping with my thumb. Do this every day, it is difficult at first but pays off large.
  6. Fractal


    Nov 11, 2004
    Alright, i will try to anchor my hand that other way. I have not tried slapping through the strings before so I will give it a try as well. Is slapping through the string the same as double thumping but not catching it on the up stroke?
  7. n4t1v3


    Feb 15, 2005
    I agree with lowphatbass. The arm rest is your best bet and remember to practice every note on every string. It takes a bit to get it but play a blues scale or something with your thumb all the way through over and over til you get it right. Mute with the left hand not only does it clear your right but sounds much better!

    Also the slap should be small, you'll start off with wide wrist movements but as you get better you'll notice your wrist hardly moving up and down it's a great feeling!

    Good luck!
  8. Fractal


    Nov 11, 2004
    I don't move my wrist out much when I slap but I do rotate my thumb out a good inch or so. Should be rotating my thumb out less then that?
  9. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass ****

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    Not quite sure what you mean. The motion your looking for is like making the "hang-loose" sign, the hand position is more open to opinion. Some people slap with a closed hand(thumb out like a hitchhiker), others feel that an open hand(pinky and ring finger out)acts as a counter balance for the weight of the thumb. One thing I was told at an early age that really helped me was: It's not really how hard or fast you hit the string, but how fast you "get-off" the string, think of it in terms of "pulling" the sound out of the string. P.S. I'd be less concerned with trying to slap "through" the string for now, you'll have plenty of time for that later ;)
  10. lethifold


    Mar 19, 2005
    Hmm I am going to be unconventional and suggest that instead of using the 'normal' slap technique you slap with a bent thumb and your hand not parrallel to the strings as it usually is. Hence it almost feels like you are slapping it 'top down' as opposed to 'on the side'. Doing this means that you hit the string cleanly and have no risk of muting the notes, and it's just as easy to pick up speed. It should be noted that I haven't ever seen anyone else play like this, but it is definately a lot easier (for me anyway). Hard to explain, I will work on getting a pic of the way I play to put up

    It just occured to me that the thumb actually slaps perpendicular to the string, that's the best way of saying it :d
  11. n4t1v3


    Feb 15, 2005
    It takes a bit o' practice. It isn't so much the down stroke but how quickly you can pull back. You'll find as you get better that the motion of your hand is slight but the sound is still big and full because the moment you hit the string you pull back in a quick snap motion that creates the sound yet, the string doesn't strike the fret board or pickups. Also, I found it sounds deeper when you strike near the edge of the fret board (between the 20th fret and the pick guard for my Jazz Bass).

    Remember quick snap motion.