Slap - Bounce or strike through?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by matti777, Apr 12, 2024.

  1. matti777

    matti777 Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 2007
    Edmonton, Canada
    I’ve been playing awhile but never worked on slap much. I really don’t plan on playing too many songs that need it except Peg and Forget Me Nots (Freddie Washington) and a few other 80s songs. I’ve watched a few of Freddie’s videos and see that he bounces. I have a terrible time getting a proper A or G string fretted note. Since I’m going to spend some time learning should I focus on bouncing or strike through. It seems strike through will take a lot of time to master.
    Phaidrus likes this.
  2. TOOL460002


    Nov 4, 2004
    Santa Cruz
    The only use I have found for the strike through method is double thumbing, and I have to adjust my wrist position. I can do it but the benefit isn't there for me. I slap parallel and the bounce both felt natural and, in the end, is much more efficient. They sound a bit different. If you are going to start with one I'd go bounce and slap parallel. I also believe it is better ergonomics, which, again, adds to efficiency which is speed.
  3. matti777

    matti777 Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 2007
    Edmonton, Canada
    That would be my preference. It seemed to work for Freddie :) However, it seems like there is not enough room for the string to vibrate. I've tried it on 4 basses. Some are a bit better than others. There are hundreds of threads and videos but something is not clicking for me....short on talent I guess. I will keep working on it.
    TOOL460002 likes this.
  4. Lance Bunyon

    Lance Bunyon

    Jul 17, 2018
    I'm a bouncer. The Victor Wooten Strike Through seems to be beyond me if I want to pop a G string afterwards.
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  5. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    I use lively rounds for that, I don’t know what Washington used. I’m sure there are a lot of techniques. They all have benefits. For G in particular I hear you, it takes a while to get that punch off a bouncing thumb edge. Keep working on it. Another thing you can do (I’m thinking of the Rushen song) is pull/pop the lighter string but again the trick in my dumb opinion is still control. You really can’t tell from ear whether a string is thumb struck or popped if the impact is equal. Work on that pop but without brute force.
    Whatch… his pull off is really light. His motion is not extreme at all. This is a great groove but on the surface it’s not a difficult one.
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  6. matti777

    matti777 Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 2007
    Edmonton, Canada
    'on the surface it's not difficult'...yeah that is what I thought when I started out :) This is one of the videos I have been watching. He has a fairly light touch which I am trying to emulate. I've seen others playing the song successfully with various styles.
    Killing Floor likes this.
  7. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Yep. That’s straight up good technique.
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  8. InhumanResource

    InhumanResource Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2012
    Bucks County, PA
    I was taught strike through by a pretty prolific slap player and I feel that is the cleanest, most controllable technique (for me). Try both I guess? Either way it takes a lot of practice to get it right and in time.
  9. Rib 13

    Rib 13 Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2006
    Strike through is actually the first part of Double Thumping. I broke down the mechanics between Double Thumping and Traditional (Bounce) slap in this video

  10. matti777

    matti777 Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 2007
    Edmonton, Canada
    Excellent explanation of the mechanics and differences! I really don't plan on getting into double thumping (playing the upstroke) but will experiment more with both. It seems that the learning curve would be steeper with double thumping as you need to be more precise.
    thunesBARROW and Rib 13 like this.
  11. sethlow3

    sethlow3 Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    Nashville, Tennessee
    I did both strike through and bounce for years, and also had some issues with keeping them quiet.

    Since Oct ‘23, I’ve settled back into the Abe Laboriel all plucks technique with thumb and three finger plucks (he uses thumb and two in this vid). For my hands, it allows me to always mute the lower strings. If you use thumb and three fingers, can get nice groups of four, if you use thumb and two fingers, you get groups of three and twos and threes etc… pretty cool and tonally consistent.

    He shows how to do this at about 2:30 of this video:
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2024
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  12. jtg

    jtg Supporting Member

    Sep 28, 2009
    Portland, Oregon
    That video reminds me I've never seen anyone thump and pop quite like Larry. Sure wish I could. So thick and beefy.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2024
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  13. groooooove

    groooooove Supporting Member

    Dec 17, 2008
    Long Island, NY
    focus on the sound you want, and figure it out from there.

    i've taught so many people to slap over the years.

    no two are alike.

    larry graham, flea, les claypool, stanley clarke, victor, all do it differently in ways that suit them.

    i personally find larry's technique a bit underused, which is a shame considering how practical it is.
  14. jerry

    jerry Too old for a hiptrip Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
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  15. Rib 13

    Rib 13 Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2006
    The part in bold^. My video divides Traditional Slap and Double Thumping into two (mainstream) generalities but a lot of guys have their own unique twists on it. At times, Larry Graham himself goes in and out of his own version of Double Thumping before the term "Double Thumping" was even coined
  16. FullumMusic

    FullumMusic Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 13, 2022
    Queens, NYC
    Audio/Music software developer, contracted with a company you've heard of and deving my own stuff.
    Just start with whichever method feels more natural in your hand, and then worry about expanding to the other slap types when you feel comfortable enough with the first. Unless someone who is paying you is demanding a certain slap type, it doesn't really matter which you use so long as you make it sound good. I prefer going through the string when i'm playing funkier stuff and bouncing when i'm playing more rock or aggressive slap, but it really depends on what makes playing a certain song easier more than the tone it produces. Also, i feel like (for me) part of playing slap is having fun with it as opposed to overthinking nuanced technique tweaks. It's not called Gentle Nuanced Bass. It's SLAP BASS! Just have at your bass and see what works best for you!
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  17. matti777

    matti777 Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 2007
    Edmonton, Canada
    I'm having a little more success with the bounce method today (Forget Me Nots). I don't see myself learning the double thumping method. I'm using a rental P bass with rounds which has surprisingly low action (I rented this one to see if really wanted one to go with my P with flats).
  18. Kuskah


    Jul 6, 2023
    Still learning it as well but so far, I'm finding strike through technique to fit me better. I also want to move on to double thumb so striking through should lay a better ground work for that.

    I started with bouncing but it felt way too uncontrolled and noisier, I was bouncing too high so I had to come back down for popping. Of course, all of this could be remedied with practice but since I want to learn double thumb as well, I decided to just focus on striking through. The initial learning curve was steeper than bouncing when it comes to accuracy and the note ringing out properly but that's just a matter of patience and practice as well.
  19. onda'bass

    onda'bass Supporting Member

    Sep 5, 2010
    Buffalo Ny
    Bounce is not ideal if you don’t get out of the strings way. I personally made more progress and had a better sound using strike through and resting on the next string. Ymmv
  20. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    OK, I'm a bit unusual. I don't use my thumb for slap - I never could understand why I would get that digit involved - it's big, it's clumsy, it's fat, it gets in the way a lot, and you have to reposition your hand when you want to slap. I use my thumb for muting and sometimes for gently plucking the B string, but mostly it stays out of the way.

    For slap, I use my index finger - strike through. It's already there, lined up, plucking strings, I just adjust my technique a bit and the string is clanking on the frets, just like a thumb strike would. The middle finger is used for the pop part - I use those two fingers for plucking a lot of double stops (index on the lower string, middle on the higher string), slap is just another kind of double stop.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2024
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