Who is the original slapper for electric bass?

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by Mike Money, Jul 21, 2003.

  1. Mike Money

    Mike Money In Memoriam

    Mar 18, 2003
    Bakersfield California
    Avatar Speakers Endorsing Hooligan
    Like, who brought it into the main stream bass guitar world?

    Did it start on stand up? Because I was watching a band on BET Jazz, and they gave the bassist (who was playing a stand up) a solo, and he started doing some slap-style plucks, muted strings and all.

    Just wondering who credit is given to for making it main stream.
  2. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Larry Graham came up with the technique in the 70s. Search on Talkbass and you should find his name come up once or twice...

  3. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Larry Graham claims he had to come up with this style due to being in a band with no drummer. His particular style is more closely related to and expanded on by Victor Wooten. He does the double thumb thing very well. Listen to 'Hair'! Folks for decades swore it was either 2 bassists or overdubs! Until he was challenged once on a radio show (I believe it was Jeff Fox, a bassist himself) in NY on the air! He picked up his bass and played it just as it was recorded back in the day!
  4. demolition

    demolition Guest

    Jul 5, 2003
    IT WAS ME ! OK it was'nt:meh: ,Ithought i could get away with it,but i guess not huh ?
    Larry Graham was the first slapper,the story stated above is accurate to the best of my knowledge.
    Though his style is'nt quite like the slapping most of us do,it still is the first type of percussive bass playing to be acknowledged,Bob Efford goes over Grahams style in detail in the bass video called"playing in the style of Fenders greats",its cool and he demonstates many other Famous tecniques used by Fender bassists of yesteryear.:bassist:
  5. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta (Grant Park!)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    I thought he started doing it in '69.
  6. DaveBeny


    Mar 22, 2000
    London, UK
    The Family Stone track 'Thank You' was the first recorded exampled of slapped electric bass (as far as I know). I know that Louis Johnson has in the past claimed to have developed his slap technique at around the same time, and was unaware of what Graham was doing - I seem to remember that this was discussed once on TalkBass and a few doubts were raised...

    Incidentally, there is a Larry Graham instructional video/DVD out called 'Funk Bass Attack!' which also features Family Stone drummer Greg Errico.
  7. Not sure who did it first or "invented" it.

    But Louis Johnson and Larry Graham definitely were the ones who brought slap into the main stream. And they did a damn fine job of it, too.

  8. Davehenning


    Aug 9, 2001
    Los Angeles
    Larry Graham invented it in the 60's. He was in a drummerless group with his mother. He said he started playing that way to make up for the lack of a drummer and something about his organ breaking. He said he slapped to make up for the bass-drum and popped to emulate the snare drum.
    I heard him say this in an interview.
  9. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Slam Stewart & Milt "Mule" Hinton were slapping their upright basses in, what...the '30s? '40s?
    Hinton, especially, was great!

    I have an old Chuck Rainey interview & he cites Monk Montgomery as the first slapper of the electric bass.
    For me, it is Graham, Louis, & Stanley that really set the technique/style in-motion.
  10. OldDawg


    Jul 4, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    I say Larry Graham created slap as we think of it today, then years later Louis Johnson expanded slap technque. The early guys like Slam Steward were going for a different effect. They weren't slapping to stike the note, they were more snapping the string against the fretboard for a after-beat. This was picked up by all the Rockabilly bass players.
  11. Larry Graham double thumps? Ive never heard this before...
  12. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Yeah, I doubt that too. Larry was doing this in the late 60's! Louis Johnson was probably in his early teens just getting started then. And I heard plenty of slappin' in the early 70's R&B/Funk genre long before The Brothers Johnson came into play!
  13. pyrohr


    Aug 28, 2001
    Pakistani compound
    I remember seing Louis Johnson playing with Billy preston around 1973 when he was about 17 (I think he took Keni Burke's place). Keni played that style at the time and Louis did not. If you read the Larry Graham interveiw he speaks of Keni copying the style he started the best due to the time Keni spent around him in the early 70's.
  14. pyrohr


    Aug 28, 2001
    Pakistani compound
    Also for you people who don't know who Keni Burke is, he is the younger brother from the five stairsteps who's most famous recording was "ooh child". This was recorded when the group was making the transition from singing group to full time band. He also recorded all night thang and from us to you with his brothers under the name 2nd resurection before bros Johnson made their first album.If you can find these two tunes you will here Larry Graham's style done a little better than the man himself because Keni took thumpin out of the key of E minor in which most of the early funk tunes where writin in.
  15. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Oh man, are you bringing back memories!! I remember the cat from the band "Brainstorm" was pretty wicked too. Man, you brought a tear to my eye! ;) Now I gotta bring out all my 'Slave' and 'Lakeside' lps. If anyone wants to see Larry's playing, I suggest buying Prince's DVD of a live pay per view concert he put on a few years back. Larry's playing in full force with his white Moon bass with a mic attached to it. Even Prince straps on a bass briefly and goes off! Talk about a lesson in funk and showmanship! This is a must watch for aspiring funk bassists!
  16. fallon


    Jul 6, 2003
    Hi DWBass,I am wondering if you could supply a catalogue number or a reference in which I could order up that dvd from a shop?
    Thanks,Scotland's slap bassist."Fallon".
  17. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

  18. pyrohr


    Aug 28, 2001
    Pakistani compound
    Yes DWBass "were on our way home" and stormin is pretty awesome. I think the bass player from Brainstorm name was Deon Eustus (sp). As for that dvd, I got that when it first came out. you must really hear it in surround sound to get the full effect. And please use a subwoofer to get full inpact!
  19. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Like anything else, finding THE first slapper is impossible.

    There is no doubt that slapping as we know it today started with Larry Graham. He is cited by most other early slappers like Louis Johnson and Stanley Clarke as THEIR influence.

    There is probably SOMEONE who slapped a bass guitar on a record before Larry (keep in mind in the 1960s people tried a LOT of weird stuff on records) but I can't think of any.

    Upright bass slapping is a very different technique although it was developed for much the same reason that Graham states, to compensate for the lack of a drummer. The actual slap is done with the palm, not the thumb and is just a percussive accent...a ghost note. The actual notes you hear are being popped.
  20. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    BTW, anybody ever seen the Louis Johnson instructional video?

    Horrible. Horrible. No concept and pretty much the sloppiest slap technique I've ever seen :spit: