To slap or not to slap ...

Discussion in 'Rockabilly [DB]' started by Norre, Mar 21, 2010.

  1. Jay Corwin

    Jay Corwin Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    I play a mix of rockabilly, old school country, swing, jazz, and blues. I rarely ever slap, but here is my two or three cents.

    1. I've only been playing for two years. It's much more important to me to learn good left hand technique and try to develop consistent intonation. Some guys that get into it for rockabilly only care about the clicks.

    2. I like seeing a good a slap player. I marvel at some of the guys that can land a note in time while doing all of the other percussive stuff. It's a real skill to behold. I don't like seeing a guy/gal who only knows how to slap the instrument, and can't do anything else. Every song does not require slap bass, just like every guitar solo doesn't require tapping, whammy, shredding, etc. It's a technique that sound great when done well with appropriate song selections.

    3. As much as I love rockabilly music, there are cliches with that scene just like any other scene. Slick hair, tattoos, wife beaters, and slap bass. It doesn't make it any less valid of a technique, but cliches are what they are in every genre/scene.
    cdavisshannon likes this.
  2. Gearhead43


    Nov 25, 2007
    Wrong forum there bud. Again, this is about DOUBLE BASS slap technique.
  3. The only well-known musicians of today I know who slap are Flea and Les Claypool--both of them are fairly obscure bassists and neither of them do it in a way that I feel is cliche or overused. It adds rhythm and tempo to an instrument designed around rhythm and tempo. It fits it perfectly, I think.

    When I walk into a music store, I don't see anybody sitting at the bass section. In fact, the stool hasn't been touched since the last time I've been there, and if it has, it's for somebody to stand on to get a guitar down.

    If I do see someone, it's somebody playing Metallica licks or they're a guitar player who wants to play bass because his band can't have three guitar players. I really don't know any other bassists in the area besides myself who slap--maybe one but he does it on an as-needed basis, not really for himself. I try to incorporate slapping whenever I feel it's appropriate. In the middle of a song, when I need a good fill, or when the main riff calls for it. Hell, take "Play that Funky Music", add some music slaps and pops, flamenco or two and you've got a jam that's even funkier than it was before.

    Most importantly, though, I really don't care if fellow bassists slap, punch, kick or lick their strings, so long as they're making noise and being happy. Cliche or otherwise. :bassist:

    This is all for e-Bass.

    I love slapping on my upright as well. Double-handed slaps especially. Or for latin grooves, with hooked notes and whatnot. I play in a group that plays for old folks homes and whatnot, and to shake things up sometimes I'll add slaps in on "My Girl". It sounds pretty good, and it's not that noticeable--I hide it behind the drum part. I get funny looks from the other bassists, but meh--they're play pianissimo and don't want to be heard so I feel as if I'm the only one doing anything, why not make it interesting?
  4. lucas vigor

    lucas vigor Inactive

    Sep 2, 2004
    Orange County, Ca,

    You need to get out more!
  5. LowAndFunky


    Dec 22, 2007
    Richmond, VA
    folks..we're in the rockabilly forum. Let's talk about those players, techniques, styles, etc. I love flea and Les, but any talk about those guys should be over on the slab side. BTW, one of my favorite slappers is Mark Winchester. (planet rockers, brian setzer orchestra, etc) Most folks don't know this, but he's also a great songwriter and one heck of a electric bass player. I saw him years ago in a very small club. He was playing through a early 60s blonde Fender Bassman. Phat sound!
  6. You're probably right. Even so, I don't consider slap-bass players a regular sight on the music scene.
  7. Dead Ed

    Dead Ed

    Nov 24, 2010
    Portland, OR
    You should check this guy out. I really like his slap style, and he has a nice pizz run during the guitar solo.

  8. shwashwa


    Aug 30, 2003
    so im filling in on a rockabilly gig in a few weeks and i wont be slapping. i dont know how and im not going to learn in 2 weeks. i do know how to walk and play bass lines and groove. the gig will have a drummer. my quesion is, if i dont slap, will i seem terribly out of place? i know the groove will be tight. from the videos ive seen, when there is a drummer, you really cant hear the slap all that well anyway, just the walking notes. im going to try to emulate the feel of the walking parts of these lines in my lines.

    also, can someone post some youtube links to some rockabilly songs where the bassist isnt slapping if such videos exist?
  9. If you can do some solid walking lines and a good two feel, you should be fine. I did that with Rockabilly while I was learning the technique...heck, I'm STILL learning the technique...and nobody seemed to mind. It's a fun sound and historically accurate (and it helps a lot if you haven't got a drummer!) but you should be good with the gig just playing pizz.
  10. Slap bass is a huge part of the rockabilly sound. It is not a cliche.... it is, in fact, the sound of rockabilly. Even more so than a hot rodded Gretsch, greasy hair and tattoos. (all of which only have to do with Rockabilly because of that Brian Setzer guy).

    Yes, there are many knuckleheads who get into UPRIGHT BASS slap technique for the wrong reasons. They also think that wife-beaters are 'rockabilly'........... ignore those guys.
    There are so many good slap players out there today doing it RIGHT. And, for you jazzers out there who turn up their noses at slap technique.... pull out your old jazz records boys. Listen to the bass again... guaranteed you will hear slap. Everyone from Wellman Braud, Milt Hinton, Willie Dixon, Louis Vola, Jimmy Blanton (yes, I have live Duke recordings with Jimmy slapping) ect... all slapped.

    It's very hilarious to me how so many 'bassists' turn their noses up at the term 'slap bass'. Maybe you all need to hit up the wood shed again and learn some new tricks that will actually get people to pay attention to you for once.
    cdavisshannon and FatBoutedGirls like this.
  11. LowAndFunky


    Dec 22, 2007
    Richmond, VA
    +1 million! Slap is the real deal and it's not an easy thing to master. That is, if anyone ever really "masters" anything. They're very few things in the music world that are as visually and sonically interesting as an upright player who plays tastefully using techniques (i.e. slap) which are available to them. I have no time for purists. They only limit themselves in such narrow thinking. BTW, slapping is a heck of lot of fun. Nothing wrong with that! :hyper:
  12. Why? Because you can. Because it will help your intonation for your pizz and slap. And as someone else already mentioned, Slam Stewart's arco is awesome!:hyper:

    I avoid arco like the plague on gigs, even though I'm required to hit a few notes with the stick occasionally. Yet I keep arco in my practice regimen 'cause I need all the :help: I can get.

    Your musical interests/tastes are similar if not the same to mine. I just want to be the best I can be (alas I suck), and I've found that those arco snobs are right, the bow is a killer intonation master. So there you have it. A practical use for arco.

    Kevin, that's a load of BS! (Brain Seltzer). :spit:

    Eddie Cochran had greasy hair and a hot rodded Gretsch (sanded pickguard, P-90 replacing the DeArmond in the neck position), which is why the little NY guy in creepers has a Gretsch and pompadour. :bassist:

    As for the tats, I don't know what tattoos have to do with anything. :confused:

  13. GASP!!!! :eek: Heretic!!!!!!
    Everyone knows tattoos make you a better player!!!
  14. HCF

    HCF Of course, YMMV

    Nov 30, 2008
    No Cindy, hate make you play better, HATS!
  15. FF, you're completely right about Eddie Cochran. But I don't consider Eddie to be purely a Rockabilly artist. He falls more under the Rock n Roll banner to me. BIG difference in his songs versus Carl Perkins imo.

    But anyways, just sick of people turning up their noses when they hear the word 'slap' associated with upright bass.

    I do, however, completely AGREE with all of the slabbers speaking up on thumb slaps and finger pops. :help: Awful technique. Just awful.
  16. LowAndFunky


    Dec 22, 2007
    Richmond, VA you stating electric slap is awful is the same thing as folks slamming upright slap. Stanley Clarke, Larry Graham, Louis Johnson, Mark Adams, Marcus Miller, Pops Popwell are legends on their instruments. Check out their music sometimes and give it another listen. Super creative. I think you maybe referring to the typewriter slappers you hear at music stores across the world. That I agree with you. :bassist:

  17. If it's done right, cool. Not knocking it completely. But I've heard too many bassists get carried away with it on the slab.(ie Typewriter slappers at music stores). I'm very familiar with everyone you mentioned, and their playing. I'm also a VERY proficient slabber as well, can pop and snap on it too (learned everything from Primus to funk/disco as a kid)... but to me it only sounds good in specific musical settings. It's not percussive and beautiful sounding like an upright bass being slapped.
  18. Gearhead43


    Nov 25, 2007
    + 1 - I agree with KS.
  19. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
  20. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    I've taken the plunge and started trying to study Milt Hinton's rhythm and approach. Not only is it a whole lot of fun and provides new ways of making noise, it's doing wonders for my time and soloing at faster tempos. Good stuff.
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