1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Slap Bass Problem

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by snoopyjc, Jun 10, 2004.

  1. Ok - after playing bass for over 20 years, I finally need to learn slap/pop bass, because my band wants to do "Higher Ground" by RHCP. Is it possible for an old dog to learn new tricks???

    My problem is that when I use my thumb to hit the low string, it only makes a "thud" noise, even if I pull it off the string right away. When I listen to the RHCP track, I hear a solid note coming out of Flea's bass each time he slaps it. Any ideas what I may be doing wrong? :help:

  2. BustinJustin

    BustinJustin banned

    Sep 12, 2003
    NYC, LI too
    Just off the top of my head... raise your action. In addition, make sure your thumb is in fact "bouncing off".

    Yes any dog can learn new tricks! Practice Practice Practice....

    BTW we will see you at the NYC GTG right!!!!! I am kinda telling you.... ok, so be there!
  3. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    You may want to experiment with where you hit the string with your thumb - that is, try playing back at the bridge and then move gradually towards the neck until you find the right spot and then remember that!! ;)

    The other thing is that you don't have to really wack it - just use as little effort as you can and this wil probably help...?
  4. Here's what I do: slap with your thumb perpendicular to the string rather than the usual "hitchhiker's" way (parallel to the string). It's a lot easier, more relaxed, and there's nothing you can't do using that method than using the traditional parallel-to-strings method. Yes, even double/triple slapping.
  5. BustinJustin

    BustinJustin banned

    Sep 12, 2003
    NYC, LI too

    agreed, although ones finger attack my be altered.... good suggestion though.
  6. secretdonkey


    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    If you're just getting a "thud" it sounds like you're not getting the required bounce. Regardless of action, thumb position, or anything else, your thumb has to bounce off that string for it to work - let the natural string tension help launch your thumb back off the string once it strikes the frets. On the one hand, Higher Ground is the classic first "slap line for the rock guy" bit to learn. On the other hand, remember that you could always go back and listen to Stevie Wonder's original (which has no slap bass) and come up a line cooler than the ummpteenth thousand straight cover of the RHCP version. :cool:
  7. metron

    metron Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2003
    I think I can get a pretty good slap sound but when my strings lose life theres is no way to get anything other then a thud out of the E string. New stainless steel strings are the best place to start for a good slap sound.
  8. metron

    metron Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2003
    Have you ever seen Victor Wooten play? He doesnt bounce his thumb off the strings at all and I dont either. A great way to use your thumb is to sort of graze the string and follow through to rest it on the string below. Now when I do "bounce" (usually the result of getting too excited when playing a slap line...) all I get now is a thud. Try following through. Once you get used to it you will never bounce again. :D
  9. He probably wont get that higher ground flea sound hes looking for by playing it that way though. I do agree that the way Victor way works very well but it probably wont sound like what he wants it to.