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what is your slap technique?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bassplayer48, May 11, 2006.

  1. Hi guys,
    i've been debating this in my mind for years, is there a best slap technique? i alternate between using my thumb pointing towards the floor and doing it the other way around wit my thumb poiting to the ceiling both kind of feel comfortable or soemtimes a bit uncomfortable how do you guys find it?

    Also do you strike the string at the base of the neck, halfway between the base of the neck and the bridge or nearer to the bridge?

    Post your comments and pictues!
  2. Thumb parallel to the string (pointing to the headstock) at the base of the neck.
  3. Thanks for that so you get control that way? i play an active 1980 pbass what bass do you think gives the best slap tone?
  4. Well not that my slapping is anything to be proud of, but the guys that have shown me how to slap have always had their thumb pointing towards the headstock as Clorenzo stated. I find doing this makes it easier to slap an individual string rather than making a mis-judgement and slapping 3 at once. I think for slap you should raise your bass up a bit ( i normally play fingerstyle with my bass quite low). This helps to get your hand into the right position of thumb pointing to the headstock.
    Another point is that if your thumb is pointing towards the headstock, your more inclined to slap with a twitch of the wrist...

    Thats about as much as i can think of!! :D
  5. Thanks guys that does make sense you can make an easier flick of the wrist that way rather then having to move your hand around too much. Alos i have found too that having the bass higher up on your body if standing does feel more comfortable too.
  6. Jayb118


    Dec 6, 2005
    Isle of Wight
    I prefer to play slap the same way as Clorenzo said with thumb paralell to the string and using the flick of the wrist way that KarateKid25 said, works fine for me. To help produce a better slap sound make sure that the tone or balancer on your bass is turned up because IMO slap doesnt sound that great on a muddy bass.
  7. Sippy


    Aug 1, 2005
    this should probably be in the technique section. If you search it there will be hundreds of posts with good information.
  8. Joenok


    Jul 1, 2005
    Arctic Norway
    Just do what feels and sounds best!
    If I want real ringing tones i slap with thumb towards the headstock at the base of the neck. -If not i play "half palm muted" with the thumb facing slightly higher than the headstock. This helps the angle for the other fingers popping and snapping, and i can play fingered notes faster from this position. I play with my bass medium-high on my body.
  9. Nooco


    May 4, 2006
    I think that everyone has his/her own style that is best - just like "normal" playing, some people use thumb to play all the notes, some people use all fingers etc.
  10. Yeah, as KarateKid25 said I find it's the best way to make sure you hit the right string and it's also comfortable for slap/pop stuff.

    Except for something with an extremely dark sounding pickup-wood combo, I'd say any bass can be eq'd to give a good slap sound. You know, the old bass up - mid down - maybe treble up too. Having said that, there are particular combinations of woods and pu's that give a good slap tone naturally. I have a Warmoth Jazz with a walnut body, maple/rw neck and P/J pickups (SD Vintage P and J Hot Stack), with a push-pull to wire the stack in series or parallel. With parallel selected and the blend control in the middle position, it's such a good slap tone that you don't even have to eq it at all.
  11. zachbass02

    zachbass02 One Hairy....squatch.

    Jan 3, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    P basses are horrible for slap. Send me your bass and get a new one :ninja: No, I'm just kidding about the P being horrible for slap. But not so much about sending me your bass. Ps have a great tone for slapping because of where the pickup is placed. They're very punchy. However, for me, I love the tone slap sound of a J. :D
  12. woody357

    woody357 Supporting Member

    Jun 17, 2005
    I hit my bass hard and fast I have broken a few like this, but who cares, I'm a bass animal. No I'm just playing I really don't know what to call my tech it is nothing spec, but it gets the job done.
  13. Planet Boulder

    Planet Boulder Hey, this is a private residence...man

    Nov 10, 2001
    6,482 feet above sea level
    I once had impure thoughts. Oh, and I pluck my ear hair.
    That's how I do it. I adjusted my strap height years ago to accomodate this.
  14. vene-nemesis

    vene-nemesis Banned

    Jul 17, 2003
    Bilbao EspaƱa
    Ive been asking this myself for quite long now, whats the right way to slap, pulling the string so when it comes back it hits the frets or strike the string on the uper side (horizontal fretboard wise) so it hits the fets????????
  15. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Oddly enough, we have a whole forum dedicated to Technique...
  16. Dincrest


    Sep 27, 2004
    New Jersey
    I find that the "thumbs up" slap technique gives me more control but less volume, but the "thumbs down" slap technique gives me more volume but less control. I'd use the former in more of a light music setting where the parts breathe and the latter in a more metal setting where loudness counts.

    I'm still working on the thumb-parallel-to-strings slap technique. If I do that and strike through the string kinda like a slap hammer-on, it can sound great... but I'm terrible at it now and sounds like I'm falling down the stairs. I sometimes use that thumb positioning and bounce it off the strings like a basketball for percussiveness, speed, and precision, but it lacks heft.

    However, I tend to go for a throatier, fatter slap sound than a clicky, sizzly, twinkly one; you know, more Louis Johnson and less Marcus Miller.
  17. Gomez

    Gomez Live from the Shire

    Apr 15, 2005
    The bass you play just might decide that for you. For me it's what sounds good and looks cool.
  18. Tony Oppenheim

    Tony Oppenheim

    Nov 17, 2005
    Author, Slap It! Funk Studies for the Electric Bass
    Sounds like you and I arrived here from the same planet... :)

    I play with my thumb pointing down accross the strings (at about a 45 degree angle to the strings) most of the time.

    When I learned to play slap I had never seen anyone do it (at least not enough to know more than it involved using the thumb). I listened to records and tried to emulate the sound they were getting.

    Little did I know that I would be playing upside down compared to most of the players I was learning from! Stanley Clarke, Louis Johnson, Larry Graham... to name a few.

    I didn't find out until I arrived at Berklee and saw Tim Landers, Wayne Pedziwater, Randy Coven, and Victor Bailey all playing wrong. Lol!

    Seriously, I'm kidding.

    They were all great players. Tim especially just blew me away (all around, not just his slap playing). Tim was already into double plucking, and I seem to remember Randy was already doing the double thumbing thing (down and up strokes with the thumb) back then (we're talking 1978 or 79).

    I think today there are many techniques out there, and the more you can master the better off you'll be. They all have their advantages and disadvantages.


  19. I vote for "move" -

    Now if you're talking basses that are good slappers, that's a different thing altogether...string spacing, models, etc.

    But anything from thumb pointing to putting a foam ring around your thumb knuckle (a la Mark King) to thumb slapping on the fretboard to get a harmonic overtone, that's technique-talk.

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