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Tips for learning slap bass?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by gfdhicool, Dec 2, 2013.

  1. gfdhicool


    Jun 8, 2012
    I'm barely learning slap,and I want to know some tips to play accurately and fast.I already tried looking up some lessons to help me get started (They helped,but of course I want to take it a bit further).

    I'm learning a few simple songs (True men don't kill coyotes by the RHCP) and Boogie Oogie Oogie (A Taste of Honey).Is there anything I can do to improve (it's my 2nd day on slap)
  2. bass12

    bass12 Fueled by chocolate Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    Just take your time. Be accurate and don't worry about speed for now. Nothing sounds worse than sloppy slap, so take the time to get it right. Listen to guys like Marcus Miller, Larry Graham and Mark King: their timing is spot on and they're always solid (and not always playing fast). A lot has to do with your fretting hand as well, so pay attention to that. If your muting (with your fretting hand) isn't happening then you're going to sound sloppy. Three songs I'd recommend you check out:

    - "Thank You (Fa Lettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)" by Sly & The Family Stone
    - "Love Games" by Level 42 (for fretting hand muting)
    - "Square Biz" by Teena Marie
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  4. Nashrakh


    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    2nd day! Let's talk again in 2 years.

    The secret to everything you practice is doing it slow. From accuracy comes speed, and automatically at that.

    Here's a video that ought to help you: http://www.scottsbasslessons.com/technique/slap-bass-lesson.html For starters, take it easy with the exercise he shows at 8:20. Don't try to dive head-in first into a song. Get the basics right, do it slow, and when you feel you can do this with precision, tackle an easy song.
  5. gfdhicool


    Jun 8, 2012
    It takes 2 years to master slap o_O,wooooaaahhhh.I haven't even been playing for 2 years xD (just like 1 and 6 months). Thats the video I watched :p,I just need to work on the palm muting part :p
  6. gfdhicool


    Jun 8, 2012
    I guess I'm trying to learn how to walk before learning how to crawl xP,You're right,I should work on accuracy.I'll work on the muting part (I'm sloppy on that) and I'll check out those songs once I get more of the basics done :).I can learn standard songs by ear,but I need to train my ear for the slap songs
  7. bass12

    bass12 Fueled by chocolate Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    Of course it is frustrating having to go slowly but you will thank yourself later. And, honestly, for the technical side, if you take it slowly it shouldn't be too long before you're feeling good. Something else I'll mention (because I wasn't aware of this when I started bass and it caused me a lot of needless grief) is the importance of the bass and a good setup. Some basses work for slap better than others (sonically speaking), and the right setup (especially string height/action) can make a big difference in terms of slap efficiency.
  8. gfdhicool


    Jun 8, 2012
    Yeah :/,but if it's gonna bring good results,sweet.I can't get a good set up at the moment,so I'm going to have to work with what I have (A 500 dollar jazz bass and a crappy 15 watt ampeg amp that makes any bass player sound like ****). I'm 15,so I'll have to wait until this summer to get a job.
  9. bass12

    bass12 Fueled by chocolate Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    Well, don't get me wrong - my $300 Squier works great for slap. But when I started my first two basses were terribly set up and had no punch or zing to them at all when slapped. This was before the internet so information on such things was not as readily available as it is now. So definitely work with what you have - just be aware that if nothing you try is producing the sound you want it might not be because of your limitations - it might be the bass.
  10. interp

    interp Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2005
    Garmisch, Germany
    There's nothing wrong with learning to slap. There IS something wrong with ONLY learning to slap and then thinking you know how to play bass. YouTube is full of people who can slap the s**t out of a couple tunes but could not get up on a stage and play with a band to save their lives.

    Don't be one of them. Develop as many tools as you can, slapping being only one of those tools.
  11. gfdhicool


    Jun 8, 2012
    @interp Of course man! I didn't need slap until now (RHCP).For a year and 6 months,I've been doing scales,ear training,rhythms,using the occasional drum loops,and memorizing songs.I know my intervals and I can read music (not perfectly,but I know sharps,flats,etc).I do ear training daily. I'm also learning how to improvise,and for me this is a very important tool to have.

    I feel like slap will be a useful tool for me in the future,it also seems fun to learn,since its something completely different :),but I won't be those guitar center teens that believe that they're badass because they can play the intro to Higher Ground.I also know that soloing really isnt that important,it's groove that matters.
  12. Gaolee

    Gaolee It's all about the polyester Supporting Member

    Being 15 means there's plenty of time to learn all kinds of things. I'm 53 and I'm still learning new techniques and other things. Circumstances change, but music will always be there for you. Meaning don't worry about your gear right now. My guess is that what you have now is perfectly adequate for what you need. You may need more power if you are playing in a band, but then you might be able to play through a PA and just not worry about it. A $500 Fender would have been a huge upgrade over what I played for quite a few years, and my first amplifier was plugging into a stereo. I didn't even have an amp for a year or so. So, there's better and worse gear, but your hands and your abilities will translate when you upgrade.
  13. gfdhicool


    Jun 8, 2012
    Alright :),thanks for the information! I only have 1 bass,so I truly don't know much about gear etc,but I at least have something to work with lol :p.
  14. gfdhicool


    Jun 8, 2012
    Yup :p,my amp has a crappy speaker,but I use headphones,and it sounds good! Really? Damn man,no amp for a year :oops:.I love my bass :),I just hate the amplifier.Man,now I'm really appreciating what I have
  15. Larry Mal

    Larry Mal

    Nov 1, 2011
    Well, you can get a good setup if you learn to do it yourself. There's no reason not to, it's a part of playing any instrument. And honestly, you can benefit from advice I should have taken myself- I spent a lot of time thinking a guitar's setup was something that I needed to pay someone else to do. I'm still learning how to set up the bass, actually, and had a thread up about that only recently.

    Google how to adjust truss rods, how to setup the action, and all that. I'm not telling you to get out a wrench and start cranking, just to be aware that it's an option for you should you want to learn that also.

    Good luck!
  16. gfdhicool


    Jun 8, 2012
    That was actually the next thing I wanted to do! Learn how to setup my bass,instead of having some guy I don't even know set it up (guitar center,overpriced).
    It's a very important skill,I know how to set up my action (I have a ruler and that metal tool,thats all you really need).The truss rod is something I cant do jack about.
  17. bass12

    bass12 Fueled by chocolate Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    I would recommend you pick up this book ("How To Make Your Electric Guitar Play Great"): http://www.danerlewine.com/guitar_repair_books.html

    It's a very handy guide that could potentially help you save a lot of money. :)
  18. Slapping should come naturally. If it doesn't, just watch The Three Stooges for some pointers.
  19. gfdhicool


    Jun 8, 2012
    It sorta is actually O.O,I'm slowly gaining some speed. (I'm trying to play cant stop by the Chili Peppers and it requires speed for the dead notes).
  20. MCMOA


    Nov 21, 2005
    It may go without saying, but a metronome or drum track is essential for learning slap effectively. I started learning slap pretty much just by noodling around in front of the TV - I was mortified the first time I played some of my "cool" licks to a metronome.
  21. Groove Master

    Groove Master

    Apr 22, 2011
    Author of Groove 101, Slap 101 and Technique 101