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Slap bass exercises

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by dabshire, Dec 19, 2002.

  1. dabshire

    dabshire Supporting Member

    Dec 15, 2002
    McKinney, TX
    After a few years of pick and fingerstyle playing, I am attempting to learn to play slap style bass.
    I was wondering if any of you slap guru's out there had any good exercises for a novice slap player?


  2. yoshi


    Jul 12, 2002
    England, London
    hi, start real simple and slow, then work your way up over a few months :)

    Work on an easy octave riff such as

    ------------------------ -3- -3- (trplets)
  3. I've been looking at this for a while too, and I can slap pretty good now I have all the mechanics of it down and thats basically what the preceding tab helps develop. But alot of slap instruction on the net is very limited to these things and I have yet to see anyone produce an instruction on the groove of slap bass. You'll notice most slap players, have a very fluent style and they're are deffinatley rythmic patterns you can tell they use alot because they can keep a slap lick going for so long with out ever being able to specifiacly pick out the start and end. I think it would be cool if some of the more advanced slap players on the site could post a couple quick rythems, with slap and pop combinations that they may find they use alot. Instead of everything being just cut and dry 1/8 notes, etc. Cause I know if I could go back I would have started learning my basic slap stuff with some rythems involved in them, once you start to developed that mechanical feeling it can be hard to kick.
  4. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    I taught myself practically everything I know about slap bass. I've been doing it for 4 years or so(I've been playing for 5 total) octaves are good slap/pop excercises. but what I recomend to you...take every song you've ever learned and try and play it all slap, then once you feel good that, make it slap/pop, then once you feel good with that, you should feel pretty comfortable with your whole slap repetoire ;)

    when I first started I was incredibly sloppy(a la les claypool) only about a year ago did I seriously start working on my technique. If you know any bassists local to you, it might not be a bad idea to get them ot give you the basics(hand position, thumb position, wrist movements...etc.) that way you'll start strong(er than I did) I regret having such sloppy style, because I feel that if I had really studied the "perfect" way to do it, I would be a much more competant slap bass player.
    That said, I don't play much slap bass anymore. I play victor wooten songs and some stu hamm, but thats about it. I'm really into jaco now, thats pretty much everything I'm doing :D
  5. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    heres an exercise that I was taught once...I don't use it that much any more, but it is a good one.
    ummm. I guess I'll tab it

    The strings are arbitrary....I suggest you start on Low E....the exercise can start on open A or open D.

    the X's are dead notes(muting strings and slapping) the underscores are Hammer-ons(I.E slapping G and then fretting G# so you hear both notes in sequence, but only have to slap once)

    START SLOWLY! work your way up in speed
    once you feel confidant with that part
    try this(its the second part of that)
  6. Slap's a hard one. You'll sound terrible for ages and then, suddenly, it all clicks and you're able to knock out reasonable slapped lines

    I've got an old hot licks video, Stu Hamm, pop, slap and tab for the bass (or similar). He goes through the basics and that was helpful when working out a technique.

    The problem with a lot of modern slap is that it's just flashy rhythmic patterns with not a lot of thought given to the melody of the song or the feel of the drums. The trick with slap is not the notes you play, but the mutes and host notes and you don't.

    I would hardly call myself a slap player. I'm fine with thumb and index finger for popping and I can usually get away with double pops, but then I don't see the need for anything more flash. A good, basic slap line can do wonders for a song, but if you overdo it... ...well you just sound like yet another flash tosspot bass player :)

    It's very hard to describe the techniques needed for slap, so I would suggest you buy, borrow, or steal an instructional video just to see the hand and finger positions close up.
  7. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    I'm not guru, but I think a very good way to get proficient at slap is to practice slapping the strings playing scales. Then when you get that down, practice popping them while playing scales, when you have that down, combine them both while playing scales.
  8. Take the book "slap it!".
  9. I'm no slap god by any stretch of the imagination , but in addition to what everyone else has posted, I like to play the verse to "Golden Boy" by Primus as both a technique and strength builder.

    Here's the tab (I should note that since I'm lazy, I stole this from basstabarchive.com, credit to Eric Browne:)


    The second time through, end with:


    I think it really helps to try and leave your fingers in position (IE pinky on the 7th fret, ring on the 6th etc) to build strength. I have a bad habit of hooking my thumb over when slapping; this has helped to build some strength and speed in my pinky finger.

    Also, try Alexis Sklarevsky's tape,The Slap Bass Program . It's a bit pricey, but a lot of people have recommended it in the past. I'm ordering it myself for Christmas.

    Good luck!
  10. bill_banwell


    Oct 19, 2002
    listen to some chilis they are the best for slapping

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