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Slap is a fad (or, stupid salesmen)?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Gogmagog, Feb 6, 2004.

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  1. Slap-style playing seems a bit like a fad to me. I'm not saying that it's not a ligitimate technique or that it has no place in bass-playing; it's just got more of that gee-wiz factor than pick or finger style, and rarely seems to fit in with anything other than funk. It seems that ~10 years ago, you never really heard anybody play that way. Then Flea and Wooten start doing it, and bam! Everybody and their mother wants to play slap. It almost seems like a prerequisite in order for a bass player to be "cool."

    Case in point. I went to a Guitar Center for a new bass and amp. I'm just checking out the tone and feel on this one bass. This obnoxious salseman with a head like Mr. Potato-head comes up to me, takes the bass I was checking out, and starts playing some random slap stuff on it. Kinda like, "Look at what I can do!" Jezzus Tapdancing Christ, I want to hear what I sound like on it, not like what a rhinoceros tripping over 100,000 telephone wires sounds like!

    Another thing this guy did:

    Me: (looking at some dirty amp) How much does this one cost?
    Mr. Potato-head: Well, it's normally $450, but I can give it to you for... (writes a number on a piece of paper, hands it to me oozing with smug pride)
    Me: (looks at paper) Why is it $350? (meaning, was it just a discount, used, etc.)
    Mr. Potato-head: Cause I like ya!

    I'm thinking about hiring a hitman...
  2. BustinJustin

    BustinJustin banned

    Sep 12, 2003
    NYC, LI too
    Slapping might not fit with everything, but re: a fad.... well have you heard of Larry Graham? Slapping (electric bass) has been arround for maybe 40 yrs.

    Re: the above mentioned store... some good some bad, same goes for salesmen, although this one sounds like he should be selling canned poo... "cuz I like ya"... did ya buy from him?
  3. I dont think it is a fad. It may become more popular at times because of certain artists that become popular, and they use the technique a lot and are good at it. I also disagree that slap only fits in for funk. Mark king is one of the best and most popular slappers of our time and he played euro rock/pop, and there is also Marcus Miller who plays alot of slap in his jazz.

    Your salesman sounds like a total character, but please don't knock the slap because of a goofball trying to make his comission.

    Just an opinion.
  4. Oh, I'm not knocking it because of that douche. I'm not really knocking it all. I'm more-or-less knocking the "sudden" popularity of it, and the fact that so many (young) players probably feel they need to know slap in order to sound cool. I guess it's hard to wow most people by laying down solid grooves and inventive fills...

    And I did buy a bass that day (I don't remember if it was the one Mr. Potato-head started playing), but I made sure that he didn't get the comission.
  5. I didn't say "only," I said "rarely." Two examples is a bit rare, and even if they are playing slap, does that mean that they SHOULD be (refer to many derogatory posts about Korn's bassist's playing)? I know that's pretty subjective, but still...
  6. adam on bass

    adam on bass Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2002
    New Braunfels, Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Spector, GK, EMG and D'Addario
    Slapping has it's place. I personally use it sparingly, on accents and stuff. Although, I used to be one of those guys that looked at Woot and said cool, I'm doing that. You can use it in any kind of music as long as you do it sparingly. Look at Doug Wimbish. He still slaps but as accents and with effects so it's not the ordinary.
  7. You did say rarely- but that is subjective to the type of music you listen to. If you listen to metal and country, its going to seem like hardly anyone slaps. There are a ton of slappers in different styles of music and if you don't listen to those styles then i guess slapping may seem like a fad because you only hear it when a les claypool shows up once a decade and is doing something different like slapping metal. "BustinJustin laid it on the money....with the Larry graham refference. Slap has been around and very long time and been very popular, and in many different styles of music other than funk.


    Trust me Mark King and Marcus Miller definitely should be slapping....it may not be your cup of tea, but as a bassist i think you owe it to yourself to give them a listen....I think you will be blown away! and maybe even embrace slapping.

    I hope you do!, and I'm not saying this because I am a slapper and I am biased. I like to slap from time to time(I actually play much more fingerstyle), but i respect what it is and what it has done for the evolution of the Bass and i think that it is awsome that it is unique to the Bass. I think the Bass is a beautiful instrument!

  8. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    When done right, slap kicks the arse of a thousand potato heads. But yeah, I'm considered a "way awesome fantastic bassist" because I can slap fast. Big frikkin' deal, ya know? Like you said, slap rarely fits in a song. Especially fast slappy crappy. Who knows, it may come in handy some day. But I'm trying to become a better fingerstyle bassist, because I was on the slap fad and it got me where I am today... nowhere. So, yeah I dig slap, but I wouldn't call it a fad. But I think it was just a bad choice of words on your part, I get what your saying.

    P.S. No matter what you do, you are going to have guitar center wankers. I swear some people go there just to "impress" the masses.
  9. BustinJustin

    BustinJustin banned

    Sep 12, 2003
    NYC, LI too
    its so cool to see a modest youngster ;)

    "i dont even know even"
  10. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA

    Oh... did that come off as ego? Because it wasn't intended to be so. :( I think I suck.
  11. Yeah, I guess it was a bad choice. "Fad" implies that it's something new, when it really isn't. But it does seem faddish in other respects.

    Granted, I'm not an expert on every kind of music out there, but...

    Ok, I'll bite. What other music genres (other than funk) has slap been in a long time and has been "very popular?"
  12. BustinJustin

    BustinJustin banned

    Sep 12, 2003
    NYC, LI too

    its cool matt dont sweat it. :cool:

    ego is just a fad anyway. :D
  13. I would defenetely agree that slapping is a fad, in its current form anyway. Just because it has been around a while does not mean it is not a fad; the reamergance of "swing" in the ninetees was a fad even though the music had been around for eighty years. My definition of fad is something that suddenly becomes popular whithout any real reason, and the popularity of slap seems to fit that definition. At least in my experience with the younger generation (those of us currently in school or just out of it) ninety percent of bass solos are slap, regardless of style. At a recent talent type show I was the only bass player out of four that did not slap at any point during the song, granted one of them was very very good at what is in my opinion "true slapping" (exploring the rythmic and percussive aspects of it rather than the 'I can play faster') and I cant slap worth crap. It seems as though bassits see slap as a way to get noticed when people wouldn't usually hear what the bass is doing.

    ----The other way to get noticed is by playing upright, while before I was never mentioned in the reviews of various shows suddenly there were mentions of odd instruments such as "string basses"
  14. I think slap is so heavily popular especially in stores is, it's just fun to groove to it when searching gear. With some people I'm sure they just do it becayse they automatically think it makes them have a 'cool' image, but I find it very fun to do. The reason you might notice more players participating in this technique is teh fact that instructional tapes and books are sold, unlike a years ago, therefore making styles readily availible to more people as musical instruments get more popular. But I think with a few it's a fad.
  15. Ok, I have deduced the following from this thread:

    Slapping is a fad at the local music equipment shop, where people who can barely play the bass try to slap as fast as they can because they think its cool perhaps because a slap song is popular on a top 40 station.
  16. [​IMG]

    How many of you slap players are asked to slap in the studio now days? How many of you are hired to do a gig just because you can slap?

    I very rarely get asked to slap, so, yes, it's fad IMHO.

  17. kegbarnacle


    Nov 18, 2003
    I don't see how the style of slap could be considered a fad. At least not by my defination of fad. A fad is something that recently caught on big and will eventually die out, or at least become significantly less prevalent. One person or group of people find a formula and then a ton of other people cash in on it. Nu Metal is a fad. Limp Bizkit (bleccchhh) hits the jackpot and a billion clones turn up.

    But slap bass? Larry Graham was mentioned, Stanley Clarke turned it into an art form over three decades ago. How could Flea possibly be used as evidence of a fad that has existed for less than ten years? And Victor Wooten? Can anybody think of a Victor Wooten rip off act?

    I think the gee whiz factor is because it has such a distinctive sound, it makes the non-bass players take note of the bass player....
  18. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA

    But a fad is something that is going away and will never return. As stated earlier, slap has been around since Larry Graham. Slap is unnessicary is what this thread states.

    I'm going to go on record as saying, "Slap is fun" not cool, not good, not impressive, not nessicary... fun.
  19. Electricmayhem


    Dec 18, 2003
    Not sure what to say here but anyway...

    StupidMatt, your sig is awesome! :cool:
  20. All musical fads had/have their origins in good, original artists and their material, from however long ago. People latch onto what somebody is/was doing for some reason or another and they run it into the ground, label is as the "in" thing to do.

    My point in mentioning Flea and Wooten is that these guys seem to have been (at least a part of) the inspiration that has sparked the current fad, not that they themselves have been following the fad.

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