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slapping the bass

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by red-hot-bassist, Sep 18, 2001.


  1. red-hot-bassist

    red-hot-bassist

    Sep 18, 2001
    glasgow
    hey, i was wondering if anyone had picked up some tricks along the way when slapping the bass? and if they wanted to share them here? i find that starting on open strings and then hammering on to a higher note really quickly can produce a good funky effect, i do sometimes have trouble popping though? any hints?
     
  2. Yeah buy the slap bass program;)
     
  3. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I must say that one thing I would never do is slap open strings - I have done a lot of slap in the past but only occsionally now, when the song demands it - but the thing for me about slap is getting muting techniques down and this always means avoiding open strings. Doing this also means it's easier to transpose slap patterns as well.

    But if you're not going to just add "mud" to the mix and want to be funky rather than "noisy", then muting is crucial.
     
  4. bass goddess

    bass goddess

    Apr 1, 2001
    scotland
    rather than describing it as 'mud' i'd say that is a pretty good way to do it, esecially in jamming sessions as it is a good way to round off scales. by the way, i didnt mean just repeatedly slapping an open 'e', hitting the e then playing say, a B, and then twanging back to the E and then again the B, i don't know if I am explainging ymself prperly. maybe it's my typing? why do you never slap anymore? soemtimes it is good for creating the right sound.
     
  5. hey bruce, could you elaborate a little more on your muting technique please? I have been trying to clean up my slap bass sound and it seems as if you might have the answer for me! Thanks a lot... Nate M
     
  6. melvin

    melvin

    Apr 28, 2001
    Muting makes the best slap noises.
     
  7. JimK

    JimK

    Dec 12, 1999

    Bruce-
    How 'bout slapping the OPEN "E"?!
    Too, IMO, popping any of the OPEN strings gives you something a little different vs. popping the closed note(e.g. OPEN G vs. G @the 5th fret/D-string).
    Your point about transposing is well taken.

    Regarding the "mud", "noise", & muting.
    Way back when, I really made an effort to keep it clean; then a heard a few guys who made my head spin...these guys used all those clicks & extraneous "noiz" to their advantage. The sound was, I dunno, part bass/part percussion section.
    IMO, some of the better slappers out there are using both hands to attain the groove. If they're flapping their fretting hand off the neck(like a guy playing a conga)the muting suffers BUT this added "noiz" is part of the sonic stew they're brewing.
    Caveat: They're will be times where you'll need absolute cleanliness...practice both?
     
  8. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well, I think all the extraneous noises etc. can probably be used by someone who is very experienced and knows what they are aiming for. But my view is that in bands - especially where you have a fair number of people, it just muddies up the overall sound. My view would be that initially it's better to go for as clean a sound as possible and this will help you fit in with others.

    So the initial post was asking for tips and my tip would be not to slap open strings, if you are not absolutely confident about what you are doing. I get the feeling from a lot of posts around here that some people do only this, but if you are going to fit slap into a song then open E is only going to be used very rarely (Higher Ground is only one song!!) and you need to develop a technique that works for all chords/keys/scales.

    I do "pop" open strings a lot - especially in solos ;) ; but I never slap open strings - just asking for it to go wrong on stage IMO. Most bands I've been in (well all of them as far as I remember!) don't want a "sonic stew" going on underneath what they're doing, but rather something crisp and rhythmical! ;)
     
  9. malthumb

    malthumb

    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City
    I guess I tend to throw in the occasional open E or open A slap. I find it to be particularly useful in two situations. One is as kind of a short (1/16th note or even 1/32nd note) tone on the way to something else. A lot of times I'll thump an open E on my way to thumping a fretted D onthe A string.

    The other situation is thumping an open E or A and immediately following it with a percussive left hand mute. Sometimes I'll even follow that with another thumped mute on the same string, then go on about my business on the A and or D string and pop something off the G. Is any of this making any sense?

    Peace,

    James
     
  10. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well it sounds like stuff that would work in some sort of "solo spot", but is very restrictive in terms of what key/scale; so my view is that it would be difficult to actually fit into a song unless it's written to accommodate that.

    In a lot of the flat keys favoured by horn players, you would need Eb and Ab, for example

    My view is that it's better to work on techniques that can fit into any key/chord structure you are given and that can be transposed to work with anything.
     
  11. maxvalentino

    maxvalentino Endorsing Artist Godin Guitars/ Thomastik-Infeld

    open string slaps are fine, but like anything must be used with moderation. For that matter, slapping itself should be viewed as a "technique", not a "style", and used with a specific purpose.
    Imporrtant aspects of good slap tone are: Don't beat the bass to death....it is a subtle and quick technique.
    String muting is mucho important! And, playing muted or ghosted tones is very good. One very important concept which gets overlooked is to
    Have a working vocabulary of rhythms and syncopations. I don't know about you, but it really tires me to hear bassists slapping 16ths like crazy all over the downbeats....and everywhere else. Our job is to bring something, rhythmically and harmonically, to the table, and thusly engage in a musical dialogue with the other players. Slapping frantically and fast over the dialogue (rhythms) which others are engaged in, no matter how cool your tone might be, does not equate a musical statement. A lot of bass players can slap with a great tone, and speedy chops, but they bring nothing to the table as their rhythmic vocabulary is limited. They cannot engage in a musical dialogue, only blast over it. If you don't have something to bring to the table, you might as well not show up.
    Max
     
  12. malthumb

    malthumb

    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City
    Doubt you'll find too many on this forum who would disagree with you. Your point about syncopation is key. When the bassist is slapping a nice syncopated rhythm and playing off the drum in really locks the groove for me. Listen to Nathan East. He flows so smoothly from fingerstyle to a smooth slap lick and back to fingerstyle. No machine gun action. And he's always locked in real nice with the drum.

    Peace,

    James
     
  13. red-hot-bassist

    red-hot-bassist

    Sep 18, 2001
    glasgow
    Thanks for the um...help, much appreciated, i havent been playing anywhere as long as most of the people here (no digs about age intended!!) and I always appreciate helps and comments on my playing. I see to find that although i have no musical training i can fit well into a jamming session with people i hva enever met before by judging what is expected of me. if they want me to mess about and be weird and pop lots or load up on effects or whatever, but sometimes they are looking for soemthing to fill out the back and giuve the track something to ride on. although i havent got much experince, i sometimes find that an advantage, it keeps my mind open.