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Slap Technuque: middle finger?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by lovethegrowl, May 6, 2015.

  1. lovethegrowl

    lovethegrowl Banned

    Oct 30, 2013
    I am a lowly beginner & am starting to learn via the old Alexis Sklarevski video, Bunny Brunel's two short video's & will later get the Bass Wizard's course.

    I did view a really cool video by Brian Bromberg, who stated unequivocally that the hand pivots at the index finger, & because of that he prefers to pluck with the middle finger.

    That makes sense & it seems that keeping the idea that the hand pivots at the index finger, if you use the middle finger for plucking you can stay looser & go much faster between your thumps & plucks. I am alternating between the index & middle fingers in my practicing, & will decide which works better later.

    I do have the following problems:

    1) the index finger is inherently more coordinated & you can place it between the strings better. But for me it is hard to use too much or too little. I can't place either finger and have it make contact at the same spot with the string

    2) the index finger stays more rigid in a curved position. My middle finger dosn't seem as strong and is easily pulled out of the curved position.

    3) my middle fingers nail often makes contact with the string & gets caught, even though it is short.

    Anyone else here use the middle finger & concur with Bromberg?
    Last edited: May 6, 2015
  2. lovethegrowl

    lovethegrowl Banned

    Oct 30, 2013
    Also, my bass tech told me that there were several "slappers" who predated Larry Graham. Is that true & who were they?
  3. /\/\3phist0

    /\/\3phist0 Life: It's sexually transmitted and always fatal Supporting Member

    Go to YouTube and look up stu hamm u:
  4. lovethegrowl

    lovethegrowl Banned

    Oct 30, 2013
    OK. I downloaded all 10 lessons. Thanx!
  5. smeet

    smeet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    Bromberg's reasoning makes no sense to me. If the hand pivots at the index finger (probably true), then the middle finger comes up when the thumb goes down, and down when the thumb comes up. That's the opposite of what you need if you want to alternate thumb and pop, which is what most slapping is.

    But... He's obviously a great slapper, so it works for him.
  6. lovethegrowl

    lovethegrowl Banned

    Oct 30, 2013
    Well the middle finger goes away from the strings when the thumb strikes, & and when the MF plucks the thumb goes away from the strings, that is with the thumb rigidly in the "hitchhiker" position & the middle finger rigidly curved, & the wrist providing most of the movement going back & forth.

    It actually seemes more efficient, my only problem is keeping middle finger properly curved & connecting with the string at the same place.

    I am sure Brombergs fingers are much stronger than mine. I do find the index finger being shorter, might have a leverage advantage & is less prone to being pulled straight. That is my only significant problem using the middle finger, it doesn't stay rigid. Someone with stronger fingers will find it less problematic
    Last edited: May 6, 2015
    AnalogKid4003 likes this.
  7. lovethegrowl

    lovethegrowl Banned

    Oct 30, 2013
    Look up Brian Bromberg slap technique on YouTube. It us the first one that pops up. It is 7:45 long & shows him demonstrating with a natural wood Carvin Bromberg Signature.
  8. lovethegrowl

    lovethegrowl Banned

    Oct 30, 2013
    Nothing on double thumping? Can't have everything.
  9. /\/\3phist0

    /\/\3phist0 Life: It's sexually transmitted and always fatal Supporting Member

    There are more bids of Stu where he covers that I believe just not in that series
  10. lovethegrowl

    lovethegrowl Banned

    Oct 30, 2013
    Hamm uses the index for the D string, middle for the G. What happens with a 5 or 6 string bass?
  11. I mostly pop with both my index and middle, and for really tricky things, the ring finger. I would recommend practicing with all three fingers, with and emphasis on the first two. By being able to pull with more fingers, I find it easier to do more rhythmic variations, and on multiple strings simultaneously with much less effort and string changing.

    Btw, I started with Alexis Sklarveski video as well, back in 96, and I'm still very found of it. It has a plethora of great things and works you up slowly. With slap especially, there is so many different flavors and styles, some are more thumb dominant, others more pop. Some only hit, while others double thumb, some use all fingers etc.. There is no "right" or "best" way to slap imho.

    To answer the question. I would use the exact finger that the person is using on the video. Because personally, I recommend really mastering One video/person's style at a time, especially the time, and tightness, and not moving on until you really get things locked, and it sounds Exactly like the video. With slap especially you have to be perfect rhythmically and make sure that you are playing clean. i.e... not letting other strings ring out, controlling the duration, and damping, etc.. Only when you have basically mastered someone's style/technique's, then move onto another's person's video/style. This will make you a really well rounded slap player, give you solid rhythmic foundation, and a plethora of style's and techniques to pull from that you are actually good at.
    Last edited: May 6, 2015
  12. wmhill


    Aug 20, 2012
    upstate NY
    MTD basses endorsed artist Bartolini pickups emerging artist TECAMP bass players gear endorsed
    if people use the middle finger when you slap, you flip the bird right back at em!!!
    JakeyBran likes this.
  13. lovethegrowl

    lovethegrowl Banned

    Oct 30, 2013
    Only one basic thing wrong with the Alexis Slarovsky video: he teaches you to pop with your thumb, & for beginners like me that tends to result in disaster. It wasn't until I came across Bunny Brunel's First slap lesson that I learned to strike THROUGH the string, then come to a stop, muting the string below it. Later you can "pop" the note while picking up speed. If not for that Brunel tip, I would still have trouble making a clean thump withmy thumb.

    And that was going to be my approach. Learn how to do it several ways & incorporate what works best in real playing situations.
  14. Ewo

    Ewo a/k/a Steve Cooper Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2008
    Huntington WV
    My impression is that few other bassists use Bromberg's middle-finger-only technique for popping. Don't get me wrong! He's a great player, and I respect his work.

    But Victor Wooten, Marcus Miller, Norm Stockton, Les Claypool, Skeet Curtis, Ida Nielson, Rhonda Smith, Scott Devine, Mark King, Marlowe DK, etc., etc. (go on naming other accomplished slappers) use index and middle to pop. And in the realm of less accomplished slappers, I know I'd sure find it a limitation to use only my middle finger.

    Consider that the very common (and cool, IMHO) technique of pulling off a triplet in slapstyle is T-P-P. It's a lot easier to use both index and middle for the pops.
  15. lovethegrowl

    lovethegrowl Banned

    Oct 30, 2013
    Does your nail ever get caught under the string when using the muddle finger, even if cut rather short?
  16. No never, maybe years ago. Though I keep my nails super short. But your fingers and 2nd knuckles will get raw, if you practice a lot. I'm glad you found that tip form Bunny, but I recommend to play everything Exactly the way Alexis does, (if this is the first person's style you want to master) otherwise your really not learning "his" slap style. Just keep practicing, these things take time. Learn to do it his way, when you have it mastered, then learn somebody else's way to do it.
    Last edited: May 7, 2015
  17. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    I have always alternated plucking between my three fingers - index, middle and ring. Two reasons: I get more speed and I save on wear/tear on my fingers!
  18. lovethegrowl

    lovethegrowl Banned

    Oct 30, 2013
    Marcus Feldman (the Bass Wizard) has a course out that seems promising. I can't think of too many other comprehensive courses similar to that of Sklarevski & Feldman. Just internet pointers. Frankly it would be great to be able to double thump like Marcus Miller.(It would also be great to own a Ferrari.) I even purchased his signature bass just to learn. My other fretted bass is a 6 string with a 15mm bridge spacing. Not optimal for elaborate slap, but OK for basic stuff thrown in for color (octaves etc.)

    The thing about Miller's style is that it has more definitive & melodic quality. Wooten is so rhythmical it is amazingly impressive, but his actual slap bass content doesn't really stick in my mind after listening
    Last edited: May 6, 2015
  19. Hopi76


    Jan 4, 2015
    I use my middle finger to pop G and my index to pop D and for dead notes. Sometimes I'll use my ring finger occasionally to pop a note while playing regular fingerstyle. I've never really studied anyone's specific technique, but I play guitar fingerstyle, so I'm use to using as many fingers as I can.

    BTW, seems like everytime a discussion about technique comes up, I have to pick up a bass and watch myself to describe how I do things, lol.
  20. I use my index finger considerably less than my middle finger but I do use both. The index finger is used really only in certain techniques that work for me and are generally very fast, quirky kinda movements. Its hard to explain on a PC.
    static0verdrive likes this.

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