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Slap technique: Overused?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Chatdawg, Feb 1, 2013.

  1. Chatdawg


    Jan 26, 2013
    Anyone else tired of walking into a trade show or music store and hearing everyone trying out a bass banging away? Slap technique is a wonderful thing, but do we lean towards it a bit TOO much?
  2. I am more tired of threads from slap haters, to be honest.
    Yes, some people overdo it, but it's still a legit technique when used appropriately. That's it, there's not much more to say about the issue.
  3. ACNick

    ACNick Guest

    Oct 23, 2012
    South Florida
    There is a bit of a stereotype that bass players must slap. I get all kinds of strange looks when someone (musician or not) at a show asks me to, quote, "slappa da bass" and I tell them I don't do that.

    Personally, it's just not my cup of tea.
  4. I think maybe people practice it too much considering it is rarely called for on a gig. I like hearing some people slap, but because they are usually a product of the 70's. Also bad slapping is everywhere and there is nothing worse than someone slapping badly in a song that doesn't warrant it. These are just my thoughts.
  5. Chatdawg


    Jan 26, 2013
    Not "hating", Nurb. I use the technique myself. But MANY of the people who overuse it, really aren't that good.
  6. Nashrakh


    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    You wouldn't believe it but I even got compliments that I do not slap at all lol. Usually hidden in statements that I play very supportive unlike some other people who go all out with slap fancyness.

    That said I like the occasional slap especially used as accents in funk lines but I can't see me ever using it (even though I love funk)
  7. I confess to doing it at stores. It's fun, but rarely called for at a gig. But a well-placed slap part can really make the song. It's like shredding on guitar. gui****s that shred all the time and slapa**es that slap everything are rarely useful.
  8. Good slap is alright in my book, and on occasion I do hear good slap in a GC. Though most of the time it is a middle aged man or a punk kid in a fedora who thinks he's the next Marcus Miller, that bugs me because those are the people who think they have something to prove.

    For me and probably a lot of people buying a bass based on it's ability to slap is like buying a screwdriver based on it's ability to open a paint can. It is a use, definitely not the main purpose.

    Still, something is wrong when I get weird looks for trying out a bass using a simple-ish walking bass line.
  9. ggvicviper

    ggvicviper Yamaha, Fender, Rickenbacker, BSX. I'm Marc!

    Jul 16, 2011
    East Meadow, NY, USA
    I envy those who are really amazing at slap bass, as I'm not that good at it. I think it's a crazy technique that really can show off one's skills on in instrument.

    With that said, I also think it's annoying that 3 out of 4 times I go into a music store and the person picking up the bass needs to slap it. Even worse when they're really bad at it, and just try to be really fast.
  10. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    I don't really know how to slap, and I've never had to play a song that needed it so far.

    It's still on my list to learn, I just don't understand it or really listen to a whole lot of music that has it.
  11. Yes, I can agree with that. Don't take what I said personally, it's just the fact that this topic comes up so often, it makes me a little grumpy.
  12. Actually no. One of the reasons slap style is used so often to 'test' a rig is that it will put the maximum hurt on both an amp and a cabinet. The massive transient peak of a thumb hit will really uncover issues with a rig.

    One of the primary criterion I use to evaluate a rig is if a thumb hit and the fingerstyle response sounds identical except for the initial attack. Often, that transient peak will kick in the limiting of the amp or immediately push a driver beyond xmax (mechanical capabilities), making the rig sound like there is a compressor turned up too much.

    Also, slap style results in the most full range tone coming out of a bass... like the hammer hitting a piano string.

    That being said, I don't go to trade shows or music stores to 'hear music', and I agree, lots of slippity/slappity hurts my ears after a few minutes. However, in the context of quickly evaluating a rig, it is a pretty useful tool

    IMO and IME!

    Edit: Regarding slap style in general, that is a different discussion, and yes, it does not seem to be a key part of the current pop or even funk music scene. I play 'current pop music', and probably slap a total of 10 minutes on a 4 hour gig, where a given song (for example, Katy Perry's 'California Gurls') specifically calls for it.
  13. Chatdawg


    Jan 26, 2013
    No worries, Nurb. I'm new to Talkbass, so I probably haven't seen the older posts.
  14. Herrick


    Jul 21, 2010
    Munchkin Land
    I don't go to music stores very often but I don't think I've ever heard anyone doing slap bass. When I look at bass video reviews online, I normally skip the slap stuff because I'm not into it. I've no problem with that. It's expected that they will use that technique in a video review so fans of slap can hear it. Sometimes I'll listen to it. I tend to like it somewhat when Andy Irvine does it in all those Warwick videos.
  15. Clef_de_fa


    Dec 25, 2011
    Well I don't know ... every time I got into a music store I don't hear slap at all and I don't hear in the music I like either. So no.

    But there seem to be a lot of hate thread which start to bore me. Also I'm not a fan of the classic Emin pentatonic slap line because well it is musically very poor and too much emphasis on rythm. So Victor Wooten style kind of reconcile me with slap because he use it as a different attack tone in the same vein as using your thumb to have less attack, or a pick etc.
  16. SJan3

    SJan3 Supporting Member

    Dec 8, 2010
    So you've sited middle aged men and kids. How the heck did you come to those generalizations? I'm 57 and have nothing to prove to you, junior.
    You're worried about the looks? Sounds like its you that have something to prove..
  17. FunkyMcNasty


    Dec 4, 2010
    I don't care if someone wants to try out a bass anyway he/she wants. It's not hurting my feelings. Maybe I'm not as sensitive as others. To each his/her own in my book. This is still America right?
  18. SJan3

    SJan3 Supporting Member

    Dec 8, 2010
    This I agree with. Get over the peer pressure thing. Anyone has a right to be there. Just be considerate of others. If you not a serious shopper that day, perhaps you could tone things down if you see someone who is a serious buyer. It can be frustrating to have someone making excessive noise when you are seriously auditioning an instrument for purchase.
  19. fuzzychaos


    Mar 17, 2008
    I would say, at least IME and around where I am from, that slap is not used to test the bass or amp in a store, as much as it's it's used to say "look at me". I have walked in to bass departments on several occasions and as soon as the guy noodling with the bass see's me, slappa, slappa, slappa.

    The technique is useful on occasion, very rarely, but still it's good to have it in your repertoire.
  20. ^^^ I would agree there are people out to try and show off in store + i agree that for testing a rig it is VERY useful. Especially when you discover the amp is cutting the highs out :(