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Some Slapping Tips & Tricks?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Chris Riggs, Mar 23, 2006.

  1. Chris Riggs

    Chris Riggs

    Mar 22, 2006
    Reading, PA
    So I've been playing bass for about two and a half years now.. and I never really got into any extreme playing like slap and pop or tapping. I've been working really hard and I can do pretty good right now with slapping, but there's some stuff I haven't learned or don't understand that I could really use help with.

    The dead notes, for example. I can do them, but I can never put them into my playing really, and I don't understand how to do like the triples and everything.

    Also, I can never get much out of tapping. Is there a specific way to do this other then just.. well.. tapping the strings with your fingers?

    Lastly, if you know any good ways to improve slapping or any good tricks while slapping, please let me know... because I can use all the tricks I can get.

    Thanks! :D
  2. Broken record, here... check out http://www.slapit.com - it is an amazing kick-start. Deals with straigh 'slap and pop'. Does not delve into the double thumb (Victor W./Marcus M) - deal directly with the 'traditional' slap and pop with dead tones and all that jazz.
  3. Chris Riggs

    Chris Riggs

    Mar 22, 2006
    Reading, PA
    Interesting, but I've got a DVD that taught me basically everything in terms of basics. The only thing that wasn't clear for me was the dead notes and how to put them into your playing. Especially when you're improvising or soloing or something.
  4. mothmonsterman


    Feb 8, 2006
    i would see if you can pick up the book "percussive slap" from mel bay. it's really good at showing not only how but also what you can do with it. it also gets into other tachniques like triplets.
  5. Jehos

    Jehos Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2006
    DFW, TX
    Think of your bass as a percussion instrument and it will start making more sense. Dead notes allow you to play fast percussion on top of a slower bass melody or groove. They're just little fillers you toss in on 16th or 32nd beats to transition you to your next note.
  6. I know from my experience with 'Slap It!' that they cover this topic, complete with really good audio examples. But I will try to tell you what I remember;

    When you thump with you thumb, you are typically fretting a note - if you want a dead tone, don't fret the note hard enough to let the note 'pronounce' - so lightly put your finger at the correct fret but do not press down, only muffle the string.

    Same applies with the dead pop - normally when you pop, you are fretting a note - lighten the touch on your left hand and pop as you normally would and the dead tone will come out as opposed to the enunciated pop note.

    Does that make sense?

    The x's represent notes that are not fretted fully - rather they are fretted softly so that only the percussive tone is heard....

    Muffled Thumbs


    Muffled Pops (or plucks)


    So to apply this to your playing, you play a slap line that would normally have all 'enunciated' tones and sporadically choose to use dead tones in their place. Use the 'live' tones as the 'target' tones... notes you want to be heard - ones that typically outline the melody of the line you are playing... and use the 'dead' tone to fill in the spaces so your line is not all 'live' and takes on a more percussive quality.

    Dig it?
  7. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    I use a ton of slapping, but very little popping. I use my slapping on the B-string mainly to get some pretty aggressive sounds and often play very fast complicated rhythms with just my thumb. So that is one way to incorporate it.

    I guess part of the reason I don't pop much (though I do on some bass lines using 2-octave gaps and it comes out cool) is because I am playing progressive metal- so take that into consideration. To use slap/popping well for general song writing it helps if the drummer is working with you.

    I use tapping in my playing too. Sometimes I will compose riffs/melodies that are purely tapping and take it to the band from there. Other times, I tap simple chords (like a 4th chord) to accent stuff. Realistically, it rarely cuts through the mix, but it gives an impression during a live performance that you know what you are doing. Once in a while I will throw in some premedidated super fast tapping fills made up of arpegios mainly.

    Simple way to start with tapping is with arpegios and drawing from knowledge of scales.
  8. thefruitfarmer


    Feb 25, 2006
    Kent UK
    Seems like you are at a similar stage in your learning to slap as I am.

    Get the Slap It! book - it is great.

    Regarding the dead notes....

    I am just starting to think of them as part of the sound (slap/pop/dead notes). It is how to get that "implied 16th feel" thing without sounding each note and with this style the dead notes are on an equal level with the sounded notes.

    It feels like a form of drumming on the bass in between the sounded notes, a crucial part of the groove.

    Difficult to describe - am sure more experienced players can explain this better.

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