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Slap is dead?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by JimmyM, Jun 5, 2005.

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  1. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    There was a time I loved to slap. Never was a drop-dead great slapper, but I could hold my own. When I first started playing bass, Stanley Clarke had just started making his mark on the scene as a soloist, and slapping was becoming popular on funk albums. Bassists who slapped did it to make the music funky and a little more percussive. It was great!

    Then Victor Wooten came along and started doing slapping techniques that nobody had ever heard of or seen before, and we were all amazed at his speed, his sense of groove, and his amazing musicality and taste. Unfortunately, Vic spilled his guts on how do to his techniques, and now we have a nation of white boys with no soul slapping a barrage of triplets on their bright and twangy custom basses through fancy schmancy boutique amps set for extra bright and twang. And they all come on here and ask how they can make their rigs brighter and twangier.

    The other night, I had a gig, and we were doing some old 60's R&B song that was grooving right along and sounding great. Then during the solo section I switched to a slap groove, and as I stood there slapping and thinking I was King Of Bass, I started to feel the life get sucked out of the song. I switched back to a fingerstyle part and what do you know? The song came right back and lived!

    So if I don't eliminate slapping completely, it's going to be a rare occasion that I do it. I might suggest that approach to everyone who slaps, especially if you slap like a bad imitation of Vic Wooten.
  2. Vysous


    Mar 29, 2005
    Yeah! good thread, I dont like Lemonte's style of playing, tone is crap, its just exhibition of bassist's skills, not really useful for music... Slap isnt bad, its good for hard up some extensive parts of song... I know I just talk, I love slapping and poping very much, but is it good for music?? Yeah...
  3. 43apples

    43apples Guest

    Nov 9, 2003
    So true, so true my friend!

    I couldn't agree more ;).

  4. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    I still don't even know how to slap...I've been playing bass about 12 years and I still haven't run into a situation where I felt I needed to slap...
  5. seanlava


    Apr 14, 2005
    couldn't agree more. With those sorts of elaborate and specific techniques, you have to write songs just to fit them in, since they're generally not going to be used to play functional bass parts. The song serves the technique instead of the other way around. That's why I don't really listen to much "bass solo" music; the songs are just filler between the carefully orchestrated bass features.
    Now, a bassist with great chops who uses them in context? Fantastic! I'll take Billy Sheehan or Jeff Berlin over the latest-greatest slap-and-tap-6 string-bass "artiste" anytime.
  6. Marcus Willett

    Marcus Willett Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2005
    Palm Bay, FL
    Endorsing Artist: Bag End - Dean Markley - Thunderfunk
    And the people said Amen.
  7. SomeGuy


    Aug 20, 2004
    The Last Frontier
    Sweet! I'm a stereotype!!! :hyper: :hyper:
  8. Whafrodamus


    Oct 29, 2003
    Northern MA
    Are you a nascar immitation if you drive a car?
    Are you a Bill Gates immitation if you use a computer?

    Victor Wooten is a Larry Graham immitation in that case. Just because someone famour does something, and other people do something similar, doesn't mean that they are immitating. True, there are those annoying little white boys that sit at GC all day and wait for someone to see the emotion in their eyes as they play classical thump, and make some comment. (I can't stand that ;-p) But hey, just as long as you're not like that, it's okay.
  9. Joe Beets

    Joe Beets Guest

    Nov 21, 2004
    Whenever I hear some clown playing slap bass I have to laugh. :smug:
  10. Dincrest

    Dincrest Supporting Member

    Sep 27, 2004
    New Jersey
    Didn't Anthony Jackson or someone say that slap is like ketchup where it's nice as a sparingly used condiment, but you don't want to slather your whole meal in it?

    I'm not much of a slapper either, but I do occasionally like to slap or pop a note here and there just to accentuate certain parts of the song. Some slaps, pops, and fills can be awesome in the right space, but it's like icing on a cake and the cake is the greasy groove I like to maintain.

    I do find slap/pop loads of fun to play and it's sometimes rather cathatric to "spank the plank."

    (oh, and FWIW, I don't even like ketchup.)
  11. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Whafro, I believe imitation needs context. You can't imitate Bill Gates by the simple act of using a computer, and you can't imitate Victor Wooten by the simple act of picking up a bass. But if you're doing double thumbs and real fast triplet slaps, then yeah, I think it's fair to say that you're imitating Vic. Nothing wrong with that. Everyone imitates someone they like when they play, even the greats. Victor has copped to imitating Stanley Clarke and Jaco when he plays. The problem comes when people do a bad imitation and slap for no other reason than they want everyone to see how badass they are.
  12. Are you kidding??? I LOVE slap bass! Great, funky percussive.

    Of course, I love liver too. But I wouldn't want to eat liver and onions every meal.

    If you're playing classic rock, slapping's dead. If you're playing funk, slap is alive and well.

    If you're trying to slap all the time, or where it doesn't fit, shame on you. But lets not throw out the baby with the bathwater.

  13. ryco


    Apr 24, 2005
    Slap is/can definitely be overdone. No doubt but it is a cool style. Like you it blew me away when Stanley came out :jaw drop: and I just had to learn that style! It sounds cool and is a kick in the butt to play. I really admire Victor - I mean without a doubt the guy has chop and has paid his dues. It's cool for Vic to do it. But I have to agree it gets old to hear someone slapping over everything - to my humble ear it starts sounding like sonic calisthenics. It all comes down to taste. I consider slapping is just another color for the ol' musical paint box -- I mean I can only stand and stare at a totally blue canvas for so long -- but that's just me. I'm not going to dis the style because some chose to overuse. S'fun!

    Got change fer a dollar?
  14. MikeBass

    MikeBass Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2003
    Royal, Oak, MI.

    Yeah, whenever I hear some clown who can't slap, but laughs at some clown who can slap, I laugh too ;).
    The old "I can do that, I just choose not too" syndrome. If it doesn't work for you great. But laughing at someone because it's what they choose to do, well, makes you laughable.

    Guess you loose your mind when some old funk ala' Sly or the Bros. Johnson or The Time or Prince or Pleasure or..............comes on the radio or something.

    It isn't dead, but when used as a center point of a song to just show off "Hey I can slap!!!!", then it needs to go.

    Slapping is just like any other technique, be it palm muting, playing pick style or whatever. Used with taste, sweet.
    I like pizza. Everyday all the time though no.
  15. karrot-x

    karrot-x Banned

    Feb 21, 2004
    Omicron Persei 8
    Anyone else think this thread is like saying finger style is dead because of all the people trying to play similar to other famous players?
  16. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    There's one big difference. Nobody ever complains about someone playing fingerstyle, but you hear tons of complaints about people slapping.

    "We already have one drummer."

    "Why are you double-thumbing triplets in a ballad?"

    "The bottom drops out of the whole band when you slap."

    "Slapping does not always equal funky."

    "That sounds like ****e!"

    I can go on, but you get the point.
  17. Phe


    May 30, 2005
    Oulu, Finland
    I am learning to slap, just so I can slap in the future. And I have to admit it's pretty fun. I just can't see myself using slap in a song. Mainly because I don't have a band where I could slap :p

    I really didn't bring anything new to this, now did I?
  18. Everything can be fking overdone! I slap very seldom, but I practice it somethimes. Why? It's fun. Right now I'm going to use it in a cover band context,though. Erykha Badu - Stay....now, that's some funky slapping right there!

    My guess, with no disrespect intented, is that your slapping didn't groove. That's why the "life got sucked out of the song." If you don't slap very often, it's easy to lose your technical skills, and that can actually prevent you from grooving - since slapping is a very techincal thing.
  19. sfbassplayer

    sfbassplayer Supporting Member

    Oct 10, 2004
    San Francisco
    I gave up "slap" many years ago ... and that is after many years of getting paid to do it for studio sessions ... just tired of seeing it over used and it being most likely the first thing most players do when they pick up a bass to check out.
  20. 43apples

    43apples Guest

    Nov 9, 2003

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