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Slapping whilst standing...

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Lewi_wilko, Dec 8, 2005.

  1. Lewi_wilko


    Mar 24, 2004
    i find it hard. if its not the strap height im worrying about its the possition of my thumb. How do you people slap while standing? Is your bass strap tight? And is your thumb perpendicular against the strings or horizontal allong the string? Also some pictures would be appreciated.

  2. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    There are two basic approaches for thumb slapping: Making your thumb parallel to the strings ala Mark King or making it perpendicular ala Flea (both incompatible IMO). The first one requires to wear your bass high for avoiding an uncomfortable wrist angle, while the second allows you to wear your instrument lower. I studied the first one and I feel comfortable with it:


    But no matter what approach feels best for you, you must learn to play while standing unless you play all of your gigs seated. How the bass feels relative to your body is a variable which is often overlooked. When practicing, you should at least make sure that there's no much difference in the way you feel your instrument either standing or sitting (that's one of the advantages of wearing the bass high). You also should get one of those high stools for practicing (those in which you sit down, but feels almost like standing), which are the best for that purpose IMO. And never practice without hanging your bass. I've seen some guys who put the instrument on their lap with no strap and start practicing. That's a big mistake for me.

    Hope this helps.
  3. My advise to you would be PRACTICE STANDING every time.

    Before you do though, try out various settings on your strap, various angles on your bass... you'll eventually find one that you'll be really confortable with. having a relaxed hand/wrist is key (or so my teacher said anyway, I suck at slap. lol )
  4. bannedwit


    May 9, 2005
    Buffalo, NY
    usually slap players have their basses higher on their body...

    This means that they get better control and makes it seem like they are playing when sitting...

    Sit in your favorite chair or stool which you practice on. Get some good posture and adjust your strap so it is basically set up to sit at that spot. When you stand up, everything should be that same pretty much and you shouldn't notice a difference between sitting or standing.
  5. kore4n_newb


    Dec 5, 2005
    I seem to have this question, too. For me though, I play with my bass guitar really low while standing. Basically, if you were to take away my guitar, my slap hand would be covering my junk. Is this a normal or abnormal position for a bassist to play? To me, it feels comfortable, and gives me more flexibility when I want to switch over to just fingering. Not to mention that when I do switch, it's much easier on the wrist.

    But I notice that almost everyone here plays with their bass guitars very high, which brings about my question.
  6. slap with your thumb pointed downward and perpendicular. Very easy while standing
  7. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I do the flea method, my thumb is perpendicular, not like striaght down, but a 75 degree angle or so
  8. Baryonyx

    Baryonyx Banned

    Jul 11, 2005
    Marathon Man
    I keep my bass high...not Bill Dickens high, but if you look at the pictures of Alvaro, that's basically where I keep my Kubicki, I keep my fretless maybe and inch or two lower.

    I find that with a bass low slung (like a P bass, I find that they naturally hang low) slapping can become very hard...you concentrate more on how you're hitting the strings rather than your lines...Whereas with say, a Warwick thumb, they sit high and feel good for slapping.

    Also, I like having my strap short and my bass high for the fact that it allows better upper fret access...

    But yes, it is very important to practice standing up...the way you look at the fretboard when sitting and standing is different. When you're standing, you're going much more by feel, at least, thats how it feels to me!
  9. Murf


    Mar 28, 2001
    speaking of this...look what I found...



    nice job dude!!
  10. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    Thank you for your comment, Murf. In fact, I posted that to Google because of the good vibe at that concert rather than the performance itself. As I've said before, it's very sloppy, but the crowd response was great. In fact, I'm proud that until that moment (when the solo ended) most people were seated and I made them stand up (and kept standing during the rest of the concert). That moment still gives me chills when I remember it. I'm glad you liked the video. :)
  11. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    i know part of that solo, the main riff slap part, i should learn the rest.
  12. OblivionBass


    Jul 3, 2005
    I play both ways, and from my experience with the bass higher, you have more control and can be more relaxed. I can play the "flea" style, but then i have a harder time with accuracy and causes me to look tight and thinking too hard when I play. When I have the bass higher, it dosent look "cool", but I can get much more control and better technique.

    I hope that helps

    PS, i still havent decided which I like better to perfect.
  13. i think you can still look cool if you wear your bass high, if thats what you care about. Look at players like timmy c and martinie, both wear their basses up reasonably high. Plus if you play heavy-ish music you'll be "cool" for being different than the generic fieldy strap position ad look at the ground hunched over.

    And in answer to your question. Just practise. You'll get it.
  14. Lewi_wilko


    Mar 24, 2004
    thanks for the help everyone, from what ive played in the past the perpendicular thumb position seems to be more comfortable
  15. When I was first trying to slap while standing up, I found that for me, two things were necessary.

    First, the perpendicular thumb position does nothing but slow you down IMHO. With the single exception of Flea, all the best slap work I've seen done is done with the thumb parallel to the strings. It allows for speed and flexibility as your slapping becomes more advanced.

    Secondly, replicating the position of the bass while sitting is absolutely essential. Set your strap while you're sitting down to have it hold up against your body instead of resting against your knee. Stand up and make adjustments for comfort, and just start practicing that way. This will make the transistion between sitting and standing far easier.
  16. Murf


    Mar 28, 2001
  17. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I believe that any competent slapper can make good usage of the perpendicular technique. I use an inbetween, its about midway inbetween perpendicular and parallell and i can slap as fast and as accurately as i want.