What seems to be the problem with slapping??

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by The_major_Rajor, Feb 9, 2004.

  1. The_major_Rajor


    Apr 15, 2003
    I know this has been done a million times over, but I'll bring it up again. I'm curious as to what is deemed to acceptable slapping, Many fellow talkbassers seem to rip on flea or music store salesman who play little licks and tricks on the bass.
    I have become a fairly decent slapper over the past few months trying to dedicate myself to the "Mark King" style of slapping, now what I'm curious about is if that is considered acceptable or not. Is playing a line like "mr pink" or one of his live solo's considered a good slap line? to the non slappers?
    It seems to me that if you want to slap and slap well, one should avoid the basic little octave slap and pop, and master ghost notes, left hand slapping and strumming patterns etc...etc... and of course make it fit into the song. I dont think there is anything wrong with slapping as long as you can do it well and make it fit in the song. Calling slapping a fad because the music store slaesman plays a few crappy licks, seems similar to calling tapping a fad because you see the same guy doing little crappy tapped arpegios on a guitar, (Or Bass). Which reminds me... I think slapping and tapping paterns are great as well, When playing fingerstyle I usually play very close to the bridge pickup, which makes it more difficult to get tapping and regular playing paterns in, but when you slap it is alot easier for me to get slapping and tapping patterns in. similar to victor wootens me and my bass guitar, unless your wrong robot and play it fingerstyle and still fit the chords in without tapping them : )
    Does anyone else agree with what I'm saying?
  2. =^..^=


    Jan 25, 2001
    Stuck on a rock !
    I think if it gets you playing and having fun then its good. Far too many people will tell you don't do this / don't do that simply because it doesn't / didn't work for them.

    If you can get gigs playing slap (if playing gigs etc is what you want) then go for it - if you just want to play slap at home then go for it.

    If you want to try and convert some classical arrangements into Slap then doubly go for it.

    I used to play quite a bit of slap, it got me through a plateau period in my playing and encouraged me to push myself a little bit harder. For me it worked. However now I rarely play slap bass guitar - usually just to smoke some newbie as I kinda have a "been there, slapped that" attitude.

    That doesn't apply to my URB though - boy I just live to slap triplets on that thing :)

    With you only mentioning a few slappers I maybe suggest you go and get some Primus to listen to if you haven't already, especially the live stuff, its really awesome playing but definetly not in the Mark King vein.

    Something like Lacquerhead is a basically simple line - but very effective because of it. The one problem I feel with Mark King stuff (etc) is its a little over 99.99% of the audiences heads - they just regard it as fretwanking in a similar way to most bass players regard animal style drum solos.
  3. My problem with slapping is that it is a technique - it is not bass playing in itself. Sometimes people seem to forget that fact and think that after hearing Flea and the like that all they need to do is whack the thing and they're good. Imagine if the only thing you ever did with your left hand was hammer-on. Although it could be potentially good for a line or two, it would get very old and one-dimensional very quickly if it was all you did. Same goes for slapping or anything other technique. Play them too often and they lose their effect. Not only that, but you lose the ability to create shades of light and dark. Afterall, the problem with slapping is very similar to only being able to play while digging in hard, or only playing really softly with your fingers. Instead of only being able to clunk away, learn to play softly so that when you do need to clunk it will have more power.

    To sum what I was trying to say - there is nothing wrong with slap, as long as you can do fingerstyle etc as well. The reason slap is singled out is because people choose to learn it more than other techniques due its 'show' value. However, no matter the technique, if its all you do then it will lose its appeal very quickly.

  4. The_major_Rajor


    Apr 15, 2003
    hey =^..^=, I'm a big primus fan as well. I know the song laquer head, and it does have a really cool line, (i love the breakdown with the ghost notes) I can play most of primus's songs fairly correctly, with the exception of tommy the cat which I cannot figure out for the life of me.
  5. I like it kause it seems to work for harder rock/metal songs. But thats just me... It sounds better to me, kause i can get our guitarest pissed kause i'm "too loud." Also, when i play slap, people just say that there's no difference in notes. They just don't get it! If u listen, THERE IS.
  6. Jason Carota

    Jason Carota Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2002
    Lowell, MA

    That is my take on the topic.

    This I disagree with. If it is done correctly, root/octave slapping can make people move like there is no tomorrow.
  7. The_major_Rajor


    Apr 15, 2003
    "This I disagree with. If it is done correctly, root/octave slapping can make people move like there is no tomorrow."

    I suppose your right, I do use the technique but it does get played out when you use it all the time and that often seems to be the case.
  8. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I think the point that is irritating - is that some people seem to think it is incredibly impressive to do slap on a bass and they have this smug self-satisfied look on their face - sort of :"look what a clever boy I am" !! :rolleyes:

    It is not slap that is annoying - its the fact that it always seems to be what people do in music/bass shops, when they are trying to impress you!! :meh:

    Having played and watched music for 25 - 30 years - this is not going to impress me - I saw Mark King 20 years ago and he did some interesting stuff, fine in its time - but I am interested in listening to MUSIC ! Not somebody doing the equivalent of a gym test to prove their fitness.

    If it's good music - who cares how it was done? You just dig the music, the groove etc.

    Of course if it's bad music - not rhythmic, sloppy etc. , then you tend to focus on what the person has done that is annoying - which is why we get this around here.

    From what I read, ( I rarely listen to these things) we seem to get a lot of wannabee bassplayers who have bad time and no groove, but who think it's OK if they can pull off some tricky slap showpiece - that must somehow make them a good bass player - WRONG!! ;)
  9. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    I concur.

    Many dedicate themselves to instrument acrobatics and never obtain a level of true musicianship. Just don't be that person.
  10. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    That's the point really - good time, good sense of the groove, how to collaborate with others, how to make music are the essentials and nothing else is worth anything if you ignore these basics.....
  11. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    It's funny. At this site there are so many semantics arguments. People want to be called a bassist, or bassplayer, or this or that. Rarely does someone step up and say, "I could care less about the instrument, just call me a musician."
  12. tat2d_13


    Feb 4, 2004
    Minnesota USA
    Slapbass is like farting in public.It draws alot of attention and most of the time it stinks. :)
  13. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    Sure, slapping is a technique... Pizzicato is a technique too.

    Any technique performed badly is irritating, especially if it doesn't fit the song. Most slap basslines can be played pizzicato, but the opposite is not true.

    Slap gets a bad rap because it's the default wannabe showoff technique. In the hands of a truly musical person, slap can be as tasteful as pizzicato. Marcus Miller is a great example.

    Individual bassists choose their techniques based of their musical taste and artistic vision. Anthony Jackson and Jeff Berlin, for example, are great musicians but generally non slapping bassists.

    On the other hand, I think that a musician should be able to get as many different sounds out of their instrument as possible. Just my opinion.