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Quick Question about Slapping....

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Trotsky, Sep 4, 2008.


  1. Trotsky

    Trotsky

    Sep 3, 2008
    Montreal
    I'm a fingerstyle player who's getting back to playing bass. I'm working on my Slap technique to get a good clean and even sound when I slap. Since I don't know anyone with good enough technique (and planning to take courses in maybe 3-4 months), I'm watching Larry Grahams video. I see that when he slap, his thumb rest on the string below the one he just hit.

    For exemple, he hit the E string and his thumb is resting on the A string while the E string resonnate. I decided to go that way (I mean... He's Larry graham right?). Seems like most people don't slap that way, am I right? If you don't use this technique, any reason(s) in particular?

    Also, for the sake of the exemple. I slap the A string open then on the 1,2 and 3 fret and I get pretty much the same "loudness" if I can say so. But, when I hit the 7 or 8 fret, seems like the notes don't "sing" as loud. I would like to know more about this. Don't forget, I'm getting back to bass and new to slap. Any input would be welcome.

    Regards,

    Trotsky
     
  2. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I apparently do the rest-on-string thing unconsciously sometimes, but I usually hit-and-bounce. Doesn't really make a difference tonally, at least when I do it, but I find bouncing to be quicker.

    As for not getting good tone on higher frets, just work at it. At the higher frets the strings are tighter, and it just takes a little more work to get them happening.
     
  3. I think you'll find that few players slap using Larry's technique. He's never called it slap to my knowledge. Most fast slappers' technique probably owes more to Eddie van Halen than to LG.

    It's worth messing with, and some practice is all it would take to keep your volume consistent.
     
  4. The string resting thing will be more controlled and (sorry to contradict) ultimately quicker bc the thumb travels less distance and your brain knows exactly where it is. It also allows an up stroke with the thumb. Larry Graham used to do it but has been developed further by guys like Victor Wootten.
     
  5. order the book slap it. A+++++++
     
  6. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Vin, how dare you have a differeing opinion!

    :D
     
  7. Trotsky

    Trotsky

    Sep 3, 2008
    Montreal

    Answer:

    By "more work", do you mean hitting them with more "force/harder"?
     
  8. Trotsky

    Trotsky

    Sep 3, 2008
    Montreal
    Question:

    How do you "upstroke"? With the fingernail of the thumb or the exact same way you did by hitting the string "downstroke"?
     
  9. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I'll be honest, Trotsky, I've never given it one second's thought. First off, I don't double thumb very often. Second, when I do, I always seem to be in position for it without thinking about it on the rare times I need it. I was taking lessons from Dave LaRue at the time I learned it (mid-90's), and he made one small correction to my technique (thumbing on the FB instead of just past it), and since then I never gave it a second thought since it seemed to work OK.
     
  10. XylemBassGuitar

    XylemBassGuitar Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 14, 2008
    Durango, CO
    Owner and Operator, Xylem Handmade Basses and Guitars
    That's pretty normal, you just have to modify your "slap-attack" a little bit when you get higher up the fretboard because you are effectively slapping a shorter, higher-tensioned string the higher you go up the fretboard (just like JimmyM says).

    You will get a good slap tone if you just be patient and keep practicing. In the mean time, it won't always sound as pleasing as you want it to, but just perservere.

    It might be a good idea to take a look at several slapping techniques and play around with all of them so you can keep your style options open. If you stick with only one style for several years, then decide you want to learn another, you'll have to spend some time "un-learning" your habits developed from the original slapping style you've used exclusively.

    Having said that, using the thumb-resting slap technique probably gives you the most options, as you can "double-thumb" with that technique.

    You might also want to check out some Flea, Les Claypool, and Stanley Clarke videos to observe their slapping techniques and tone.

    Slap that bass!
     
  11. Trotsky

    Trotsky

    Sep 3, 2008
    Montreal
    Question:

    When you're talking about "thumbing on the FB instead of just past it"... I got a 21 fret, would the best place to hit the string with my thumb be at the 21 fret?

    (in the last 24hrs, I'm learning alot from you guys! Many thanks!)

    T.
     
  12. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    That's what Dave told me to do...use the thumb over the last fret so you don't dig in too far and get your thumb stuck.
     
  13. skeptikal

    skeptikal

    Jan 24, 2008
    Fort Wayne, IN
    I wouldn't necessarily suggest his technique. He doesn't count.
     
  14. Stone Age

    Stone Age

    Apr 13, 2008
    Connecticut
    And why is that?
     

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