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Slap bass groove

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by BluemoonIbanez, Aug 14, 2012.

  1. BluemoonIbanez


    Aug 14, 2012
    Hi guys, been coming here for years and finding every answer to all my questions, except this one problem I have.

    I have been playing orchestral stand up for 7 years, I started playing electric bass about 3 years ago. I know the notes, i know rhythm, and I know a small amount of music theory. I have been taught to read music off a page and that has impaired my playing heavily. I cannot for the life of me make MY OWN riffs at all, this has improved slightly in some aspects of my playing...except one...The slap bass, I have practiced for years and I can play riffs in time, with good sound, only problem, they aren't my riffs! They are riffs someone posted on youtube, or I found on the internet. Whenever I try to make my own I get stuck in playing root, 5th, octave. I can't even get a groovy rhythm, its boring slap pop slap slap pop, no variation, I get locked in this mindset and my slap hand won't move away from it! Its so frustrating :mad:

    What is your inspiration for making your own slap riffs? Where do you start? Thanks
  2. FunkMetalBass


    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    There are two things that are way too commonly done and when practicing, I make it a point to avoid them:

    1. Slapping the root note on the first beat of the measure
    2. Slapping the root and popping the octave

    They're cliche and I think they can lock you into a box (although the first is not a bad thing and definitely serves a purpose in funk). Often what I'll do is just write something down and try to go about slapping it. Try experimenting with arpeggios, double stops, and strumming.
  3. Clef_de_fa

    Clef_de_fa Guest

    Dec 25, 2011
    listen to that by Anthony Wellington and Victor Wooten

  4. BluemoonIbanez


    Aug 14, 2012
    Yes exactly! I always start by slapping the root, or root slap octave pop...a horrible box it is indeed. And thanks for the video it really helped! :hyper:
  5. sawzalot

    sawzalot Supporting Member

    Oct 18, 2007
    Lessons helped me a lot--not so much with the technique but with how to make it more musical.

  6. t77mackie


    Jun 13, 2012
    Wormtown, MA
    Oh, snap! I'm in trouble.... :(

    OP, can you come up with riffs n licks otherwise or is just the S&P giving you heartache?

    Since you are a good reader, maybe take some S&P's you know and write them backwards.

    A lot of times I'll just zone out to the TV and let my hands do whatever they feel like doing on the bass. Once in a while they'll do something cool.

    Another good exercise is to listen to a rhythm groove and imagine a bass line in your head. Then try to replicate what you hear in your mind's ear in real life.

    -Good luck!
  7. Clef_de_fa

    Clef_de_fa Guest

    Dec 25, 2011
    You can also practice scale and arpeggio with slap, you can practice permutation excercise too. It will help with your dexterity and also creativity with slap because you play something else than root/5/octave

    Also you can take a song that you know well and slap the bass line instead of playing it fingerstyle or pickstyle
  8. Cosmodude


    Aug 14, 2012
    In addition to the great advices above.

    Slapping doesnt neccesarily have to be used to create a rythmic focused groove. Slapping and popping provides a diffrerent tone apposed to other techniques. Just as an example, when you think of tapping for instance, you might think the "classic" way to utilize tapping would be the typical 4 note arpeggios. Although we can clearly tell that Stanley Jordan utilizes this technique very differently than just R-b3-5-b7 type of thing.

    The same thing goes for Slapping and Popping, the technique isnt locked to a certain type of playstyle and it works quite well to make some punchier melodies of all sorts so maybe that would be something to draw inspiration from? Playing a simple fingerstyle groove and spicing it up with a slapped and popped melody?

    If you'r used to the playstyle that Palm-Muting enables you to play, you might wanna borrow some material, or the mindset, assosiated with that particular technique? My Palm-Mute playing is very simular to my Slap and Pop style, but with far less punch. Dont be affraid to use rests of different kinds either, "active rests" ( such as ringing notes ) or just plain quite and comming back into the music banging with Slaps? Its not all about 100 deadnotes and complex usage of what you got. Being accurate with the time is what i have found to be the big door opener to my slap style, in combination with rest.

    And as a final point, experiment with the combination of Staccato and Legato within the same groove to spice things upp. Slide a major3'd dubblestop a wholestep from Perfect 4'th to Perfect 5'th, pop a deadnote, slap n hammer on from the root to the minor3'd, to finish of with a power-doubble stop with the 4'th and Octave and let it ring? I dont know im realy just kicking away ideas for you to improvise over.

    I hope this was to some sort of aid to you and remember that my experience isnt Universal Truth this is just simply what made me get comfortable with Slapping and Popping. Let it groove.
  9. Groove Master

    Groove Master

    Apr 22, 2011
    Author of Groove 101, Slap 101 and Technique 101
    The best way imo is learning technique for full control of the rhythms, sound, precision and dynamics. Also learning various combinations of thumb and slap is essential for creativity and vocabulary.

    This book is all about that and is worth checking out. Listen to the demos.
  10. This can be used for any technique - not just slapping.

    When I find myself in a creative rut, I sit down with a drum machine (if you don't own one, you can go on YouTube and find a one-chord backing track) and I pick one scale to make a groove with. I give myself a time limit - I have 1 minute to figure out a groove, and then I spend 2 minutes locking the groove into the beat. After that, I then take that scale and remove on note, and start the creative process all over again - one minute to figure out a line, and two minutes to lock the line into the groove. I continue to remove a note from the scale, until I am eventually forced to create a groove with one note. By giving yourself less notes to work with, you force yourself to explore other musical devices to develop your bass line (rhythms, dynamics, etc).
  11. AndrewFord


    Aug 11, 2012
    Los Angeles area
    Endorsing Artist: Line 6, TC Electronics, Yamaha, Elixir Strings
    Emulate the masters of the slap bass style if you want to be able to successfully do it in a band context. A lot of what people do today does not translate in a real song. It may be nice for soloing, doing a clinic or impressing friends but does not translate in a song. Listen to Larry Graham, Louis Johnson, early Marcus Miller, Keni Burke, Freddie Washington, David Shields, Neil Jason, Will Lee. These guys played slap bass style on million selling records. Start with the basics and strive to be musical while emphasizing the feel
  12. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Not for nothin', but it isn't reading's fault that you didn't learn to create your own lines. You just didn't develop that side of your playing because you didn't have to. And the only thing that's going to make you any good at it is just to keep working at it. But instead of the classical thing, you need to get with chordal theory, improv, and jazz concepts. Non-classical music is a whole different mindset and skill set. Whereas classical is about interpretation, other types of music are about creating, and it takes some getting used to if you're immersed in classical. But it's not brain surgery...start with the blues and work up from there.

    And steal steal steal! Everybody steals...there's nothing new under the sun. All we do is steal from others and try to make it our own somehow. Coming up with your own parts is a skill that takes development, and listening to and learning parts to songs we like is how everyone starts.
  13. BluemoonIbanez


    Aug 14, 2012
    I agree completely with all of you! And I did play in my schools jazz band for two years and although we had sheet music, we could improvise which really opened the door for me...I do understand theory, but i am by no means an expert haha. After reading these posts and practicing some more I think I need to put the bass down and write down on a piece of paper a slap rhythm without thinking too much about the notes or the sound and just let the Zazz :cool: roll out of my mind. Usually I just sit with my bass and try to play things and that doesn't seem to work out so well for me. Thanks so much guys!

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