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Speaking of slap ... Mark King

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Tyler Dupont, May 30, 2001.

  1. Tyler Dupont

    Tyler Dupont Wesly Headpush

    Anyone know how Mark King gets that gritty thud slap sound .. I love it.

    Feel free to move this thread if need be .. I'm not sure whether it should be here or in bassists.
  2. Yvon

    Yvon Supporting Member

    Nov 2, 2000
    Montreal, Canada
    I think the thread is at the right place.

    I think Mark have a metal ring around his thumb, and that's how he get his sound. I read that somewhere...
  3. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    No, he used to wrap Gaffa or Scotch tape around his thumb to protect the skin. But it has no effect on his sound - he sounds the same without it.

    He uses light strings (down to .030-.090), much eq and compression, and 4x10 enclosures.

    But the sound is in his thumb, no wonder the record company insured it with more than a million dollars during his Level 42 days. :D
  4. Tyler Dupont

    Tyler Dupont Wesly Headpush

    ya, I had a feeling it was his thumb ...possibly the side of his thumb nail ? I slap with my thumb parallel to the strings and he uses the other method .. so I guess I won't be able to achieve that sound :/
  5. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    For a gritty slap sound, try raising the height of your pickups. They might get beat up a little bit, but if you want the sound...
  6. from what i've heard seen and read, i agree it's his style, but to hit the string with the side of the thumb nail would produce a much weaker higher pitched sound, i'm sure to get that sound you'd have to rotate your hand to the left, towards the bass and slap with the flat of the thumb, your thumb print!

    this would mute the string slighty as long as your technique is there and you don't retract as soon as you've made contact
  7. Tyler Dupont

    Tyler Dupont Wesly Headpush

    uh .. slap with your thumb print ? I think you misunderstood me. The sound I'm referring to is that "Thwip thwip" maybe it's a thwap .. lol ..it almost sounds like suction ..
  8. DaveBeny


    Mar 22, 2000
    London, UK
    Most of Mark's slap playing is built around 16th note patterns. If you see pictures of him, he has his bass VERY high up on his chest so that his right arm is parallel to the strings. His slapping thumb is at a right angle to the strings - hit the strings with the side of the thumb (not the nail).

    This technique (whack string with side of thumb, and allow thumb to bounce away) means that you can't really incorporate the Victor Wooten down-up-pluck techniques. To get speed, you will need to learn to slap with you fretting hand as well. Basically, when your slapping thumb moves away from the strings, "pat" the strings with your CLOSED left hand to mute them, hard enough to produce a percussive "click" but soft enough not to produce a note or harmonic.

    Try whacking out a pattern with your thumb (mute your strings to practice) and use the "left-hand slap" to "fill the gaps" between your right-hand attacks. When you've got it tight enough, left and right-hand attacks ought to be the same volume, giving the impression (to the ear) that the right hand is doing a lot more work than it actually is.

    Watch this:

  9. Tyler Dupont

    Tyler Dupont Wesly Headpush

    yes... I can play alot of his stuff .. I'm wanting the sound though. Sounds to me like you've listened to the slap lesson he did for bass player magazine .. it was a great lesson.. there's another mp3 called Mark King - Bass! It's a perfect example of the sound.
  10. why is that the majority of people here are stunned by slapping, i just cannot understand it!

    personally, i find it mundane, i can do it
    but it don't rule my playing life, urrrrrrrrrrrgggggggggggggggeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

    sorry, i haven't got my bass at the moment, i've been forced to play g'tar
  11. Tyler Dupont

    Tyler Dupont Wesly Headpush

    I find it fun. I'm starting to move on to other things though.. I'd love to be able to play jazz and stuff but I've never had a lesson in my life.
  12. BassMan2000


    Sep 27, 2000
    yea I was at namm were mark king was he said that the tap was their because he cut his thumb
  13. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA

    During his Alembic days...still sounded like he EQed all bass out.
  14. BassMan2000


    Sep 27, 2000
    true angus :)
  15. kcm


    Jun 17, 2000
    Woking, Surrey.
    I think that a lot of people think its mundane cos they only ever listen to the later commercial pop crap. I'm a great MK fan but some of the dirge that Level42 put out in their pop period nearly put me off them totally. His latest solo stuff is the buisiness, harking back to the early days when they were THE Britfunk sensation, and dont forget he is the fingerstyle player to die for. The gaffa tape is always there for protection and has no effect on the sound. His Eq tended to be with lots of scooped mids to accentuate the popped highs and give a resounding thump to the bottom end. A smile type graphic shape. As said lots of compression and of course either the Jaydee basses that he had in the early days and the glorious Alembics that he went back to last year on his tour. He is a matter of taste as his style is the real frenetic end of the slapping genre, listen to Nathan East or say Marcus Miller for laid back taste but to Mark for real slap gymnastics. Its a bit like listening to the widdly merchant end of the guitar world, Gilbert,Vai, Satriani, etc. Hey what about getting him and Billy Sheehan together, now that would rock!

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