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Slapping and Popping Technique

Discussion in 'Ask the Berklee Bass Department' started by bassSean, Feb 11, 2017.

  1. bassSean


    Feb 11, 2017
    I have been playing bass for 35 years. I have played most styles; trained at the old Dick Grove School of Music in L.A. I have never attempted to work slapping technique into my playing style despite the fact that I have played in many cover bands that play funk and pop styles that work well with slapping and popping. So...despite the fact that I consider myself a seasoned professional musician and bassist, I am slightly above a beginner at this technique. I am now playing for a band specializing in wedding receptions and corporate gigs. I am attempting to work this technique in slowly on songs like Brick House and Car Wash, but we are playing some more advanced slapping style songs (Stay With Me Tonight, Forget Me Nots) where I want to utilize this technique. Here is the problem though: Every time I switch from normal finger technique to slapping, my power/volume diminishes by about 50%. Other than getting a volume pedal, I'm not sure how to rectify this problem. It sounds to my ears as though the bass has all but dropped out of the mix entirely when I switch. I do not know whether it is a matter of becoming more comfortable with the technique, or the equipment I am using (currently using a small 350 watt combo with 2x12 speakers...maybe a4x12, with greater speaker surface would be a better choice) or if it is the settings I have dialed in on my amp. I usually emphasize the low and mids because I like the sound of the early Motown artists like Jameson. I usually only dial in enough highs to give the notes proper clarity. Any suggestions regarding my losing power would be most appreciated.
  2. Sandro Scoccia

    Sandro Scoccia

    Sep 13, 2013
    Try a Compressor pedal! It is widely used in that style, to get consistency in the dynamic level of your notes.
    Soporific, Yonni and brlottermann like this.
  3. Soporific


    Jan 4, 2009
    Irvine, CA
    How much does string height matter when slap/popping?

    I switch between (I think) clawhammer, thumb slap, and open hand slap both on and off the fretboard. I'm just curious how much setup or location makes a difference. I'll move this post if it should have a separate thread. Thanks.
  4. bass12

    bass12 Basking Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    Anytime I've had that problem it has been on account of the bass. You should not need a compressor to prevent your bass from dropping out as much as you describe.
  5. Old P Bass Guy

    Old P Bass Guy

    Nov 26, 2017
    I've had the same problem that BSean has had. The E is not problem. As I move to the A & D the volume drops off by at least 50%. I feel that I am striking the other strings with the same impact as the E.
  6. CreepyGeezer


    Aug 28, 2019
    Make sure your mid range on your equalizer is boosted. This will help you cut right through.
    Old P Bass Guy likes this.
  7. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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