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slap bass

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Lozenger, Nov 30, 2003.

  1. Lozenger


    Feb 26, 2003
    i`ve only been playing bass for about 6 weeks but i would like to learn how to play 'slap bass' has anyone got any advice ont his. i have a fender squire p-bass so it should be possible. how do you play slap bass? thanx Loz xxx
  2. pyrohr


    Aug 28, 2001
    Pakistani compound
    I would say learn how to play bass first. I see alot of younger bass players focus on this and that instead of the fundamentals and it does not matter what they play they bassically suck. Learn the building blocks first then learn the flash stuff. The difference will be you sounding like you and not you imitating someone else badly. If you can get a teacher. It will make learning more fun and a lot easier. You will thank yourself later!
  3. small steps grasshopper
    you need to start in the basement and work your way up if you jump right into the harder stuff you might miss out on some of the easier fundementals of bass playing. The first thing i have all of my students do is to learn all of the notes on the bass and a set of finger exercies to build stamina and dexterity. If you want to start messing with slapping after you learn all the notes then pick one say your G slap it then pop the octive with your index finger. move around to differnt notes and ounce you have that then start double slapping and then pop the octive.
    this should keep ya busy for a bit and remember have fun.
  4. Somebassguy


    Nov 5, 2003
    Everett Wa
    One of the most important aspects in slap bass is scales (specifically the minor scale) and understanding power chords. Forget slap for now and work on your theory and technique. Get a good BASS teacher and have fun :)
  5. Im a sock

    Im a sock

    Dec 23, 2002
    Central MA
    6 weeks...damn. I didn't start learning slap bass for two years or so. Take my word for it, it's better to wait and get decent before trying it all at once.
  6. si_mon13


    Sep 1, 2003
    first of all this should probably have been in another subforum.

    anyway i've been playing for over a year now, and i dont really slap yet. sometimes i do those typical funk slap-pop patterns for fun, but for now i still focus on basic stuff. since im not all that experienced i really cant tell you what to do, but i guess its better to wait a while before starting with slap.
  7. xcental34x


    Feb 28, 2003
    Memphrica, TN
    It depends. You can take the high road or the low road. If you wish to be a proper bass player, then follow the above advice, but if you want to play slap bass now do this:

    Just let it out. Thump your thumb again the strings and pluck it with your index or middle. I started slap bass after only playing for three months. My friend came over to let me borrow his amp for a couple of days, and he was showing off and played some slap. As soon as he left, I let go on my Squier II P-bass. My friend came over later that day and was impressed with my progess. It was sloppy, unrhthythmic, but I gained control in a couple of weeks and developed my own techniques, particularly my infamous machine gun.

  8. temp5897

    temp5897 Guest

    I'd say the most important thing to do would be to learn music. Then if you want to slap the music that is within you, just use your thumb and any number of fingers that you desire. Remember, practicing music will breed better technique, practicing technique will breed *whackity whackity whackity*.
  9. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    this would be better asked in techique. i'll move the thread there presently.
  10. i learned slap bass within 3 months of owning one, BUT i'd been playing guitar for 2 years and before buying the bass i had learned to slap & pop on a guitar. so in other words, i was set as far as picking and left hand technique were concerned, and fingerstyle wasn't too big a jump either.

    so, first i suggest you get reasonably good at picking and fingerstyle before moving on to slapping. just to keep within the funk/ R&B vein i suggest you learn some James Brown, Temptations, Roy Ayers (jesus has nothing on Roy Ayers). maybe learn to construct a few walking bass lines, those will help you indefinitely

    after that, move on to slap & pop. first, and i rarely see this mentioned, but when slapping try to position your thumb parallel to the strings. you're going to hit the string where it hurts your thumb the most, that being on the side of your thumb, right at the knuckle. do it on the low E string at first. then, with your index finger, you're going to pop the octave note (D string, second fret). try repeating that until it's comfortable. if you want a few easy slapping lines just make a thread or ask me sometime.

    BUT i highly suggest you get workin on fingerstyle and picking beforehand or else you'll sound like **** in the long run.
  11. Darkslide


    Sep 28, 2002
    Blah, just learn whatever you want and don't let people throw you off from learning what you want to learn.

    I started slapping pretty much as soon as I got my first bass, and I can hold my own regardless of the fact that I've never had a lesson.

    As was posted earlier, just slap the E with your thumb (I prefer to slap right over the last few frets on the fretboard) and pop the other strings with your index finger. Just mess around till you get comfortable and then find some easy songs to learn.
  12. Hi

    I can recommend the VHS tape: slap bass program by Alexis sklarevski

    I learn a lot of that tape,

    It’s also a god idea to have fresh strings on your bass, DR high beam or fat beam have a nice funky sound
  13. Somebassguy


    Nov 5, 2003
    Everett Wa
    If you are giving this advice to somebody that is planning on take up Bass as a hobby I have no problems with it. But If someone is planning on making music into a profesional carear then this is absolutely the worst advice you can give anybody. If anyone, and I mean anyone wants to actually make an income from music YOU HAVE TO KNOW HOW TO READ MUSIC AND UNDERSTAND THEORY! PERIOD! I don't mean getting into a band and doing a couple of weekend gigs, I mean if somebody calls you in for session work, do you think you will get that job if you can't read music? Do you think the studio is going to wait till somebody teaches you the bass lines? When session work is slow and you need to find an income from other sources, do you think anyone will ever hire you as a music teacher? Hell no, music is a business and time is money. Are there exceptions? I'm sure there are BUT THEY ARE FEW AND FAR BETWEEN!

    Again it depends on the individuals intent, either hobby or income. Most musicians I know started playing music for an income! And I have met very very few exceptions to this rule.

    Peace ;)

    EDIT: BTW Darkslide, I am in no way flaming you. I firmly believe that everyone needs to do what makes them happy. When I started playing music back in the 60s I had the exact same attitude as you. I was playing in a super band, We were packing venues of all sizes and my ego was bigger than the city I lived in (Toronto Canada back then). I remember going for a stroll thru High Park, a very large park in Toronto and running into this really cool older lady. We started talking and she asked me what I did for a living (I was wearing shredded jeans, hair down to my ass, walking with a swagger, I was the BEST thing that ever happened to the music business) :D. So I proceded to brag about all of my accomplishments. She listened intently and politely waited till I was done. Then she explained to me that her and her husband played in the Toronto Phiharmonic Orchestra. She very politely asked me if I could read music. I replied "Why the hell would want to do that, I am already well known and everybody loves what I do". Then she said one sentence, a simple sentence. "Do you know how to read music Gabriel?"
    You will never be a true musician untill you understand it's language"!

    I was taken aback by this question and my ego answered rather than my common sense, I was very rude to her as most of you will probably be with me for the above post. As the weeks drew on her question burnt a hole in my soul. Slowly but surely I started facing the truth to this question. A couple of weeks later I joined the Royal Conservatory of Music. Studied music and theory for a number of years, won numerous musical awards, got a ton of session work, in short I had no shortage of gigs of any kind. All I ask is that everyone that plans on making this into a career think deep and hard about what I am saying. You can flame me all you want, I am ok with that, I have big shoulders. Just think about it. ;)

  14. ive been playing over a year and i am now just getting into it. when i first played bass slapping was hard so i didnt do any of it i though it was way to impossible now after a year i find slapping fun and easy.
  15. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    "If anyone, and I mean anyone wants to actually make an income from music YOU HAVE TO KNOW HOW TO READ MUSIC AND UNDERSTAND THEORY! PERIOD!"

    Well, let's see... I could rattle off a long list of bands whose members can't read a note. Very successful bands too. I think Charlie Watts is the only one of the Stones who actually reads music. All those 60's and 70's rock heros, none of 'em could read a note. Can Clapton read music? I don't even know.

    Well, there's music and then there's MUSIC. Music is the commercial stuff that people relegate to taking up dead airspace at movies and in elevators. MUSIC is the stuff that comes from the heart, and reaches out to talk to people. If you're making money doing movie scores, that's one thing, but if you're making money in rock 'n' roll it's an entirely different thing.

    I agree that music theory is a good thing to know. No matter what. But it's a lot of effort if you don't really need to learn it. I had twenty album credits before I learned anything about music theory. I was already a darn good engineer and producer, but I couldn't read a note if my life depended on it. Everything I did during my first fifteen years in rock 'n' roll was entirely by ear. I finally buckled down and learned the theoretical stuff so I could "speak the language" in the studio, but it took me about a year of daily concentration before I became conversational.

    My response to the above would be, there's definitely more than one way to skin that cat. Enjoying something, and being good at it, and making a living at it, are entirely different things. If you can make a living selling your music on the airwaves, go for it and forget about the theoretical stuff. There'll be plenty of time to learn that if and when you need it. While there's something to be said for thinking ahead, there's also something to be said for retiring early with a sizeable bank account. :)
  16. Somebassguy


    Nov 5, 2003
    Everett Wa
    Fair enough, Like I stated above there ARE exceptions. I grew up with some of the biggest names in the music business, I guarantee you have heard the names of every one of them and they ALL read music and relied upon it, INCLUDING BRIAN JONES! ;)

    Also I would never tell anyone what to do, that certainly isn't my style. If that is how I came across I sincerly apologize. All I am asking is to consider what I'm saying if anyone wants to make a living in this business. There will be times when you are not in a band and you will have to look to different venues to pay your bills. Understanding theory and reading music will definately open up alot more doors for you.

    Thankyou for your opnion!
  17. Matthew Bryson

    Matthew Bryson Guest

    Jul 30, 2001
    Best advice I ever read on slapping was:

    You don't have to slap hard to get a big sound. Nice and soft should do the trick - in fact your thumb should really just barely graze the string that is being slapped and come to rest against the next higher string.

    You can slap or not slap any time you want, I really don't care (unless I'm in a music store trying to try out some gear and your doing your best Fieldy impersonation :meh: :rolleyes: )
    When you are starting out, make sure to learn and practice muting techniques to quiet the strings that are not being played.

    To all others: Please understand that by being open and honest with these kids we are not condoning their slap play - we are simply giving them the tools needed to make an informed decision. Like most everyone, I wish these kids wouldn't start slapping so young, abstinence would be the best solution, but lets be honest with ourselves - kids are going to slap. It went on when we were kids and it's not going to stop. I will ask my children not to slap until they are adults but I will make sure that they have the information that they need to slap safely, should they choose to slap.
  18. pyrohr


    Aug 28, 2001
    Pakistani compound
    To Somebassguy,
    I have two childhood friends that took the high road when it came two music. They both came from musical families where their fathers played. both where dedicated to learning their craft and being able to "hang out" as far as music is concerned. I spoke with one of these guy's recently ( a fellow talkbass member) wanted to meet him at a concert and I remember him telling me a while back that not only did he know the other friend of mine but shared bass duties on a VERY popular T.V. show *cough* SNL *cough* and it really hit home the Importance of career possibilities when yous stuff is together. I am VERY PROUD of both my childhood friend---MARCUS MILLER AND TOM BARNEY! To the so called up and coming players, the world is full of field'y and the like. Another thing Tom Barney told me was he got into reading because other bassplayers were not doin so and he wanted to be a cut above the rest! I also remember growing up with Marcus being somewhat rival bassplayers that in the air was alway's the question who was better him or me. Well I was funky as all get out and he could get funky and be technical too. At the time funk was the in thing no one cared about tech stuff. Maybe I should have followed Him! YOU MUST LEARN!
  19. sunburstbasser


    Oct 18, 2003
    Slap away! Its fun! Practice your other stuff too, but there isn't anything wrong with slapping early.
  20. It has to be fun to play bass, if you think its fun to slap, then thumb slap and pop that bass
    You can always learn the theory later

    Slap bass is: Numro Uno (terminator)