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Who really created slap-and-pop??

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by NewWaveBasser, Jan 23, 2004.


  1. At the risk of appearing ignorant...

    Who was the creator of the slapping-and-popping technique?

    I've seen images as far back as the mid 70s of bassists slapping. But who started doing this and when??

    My guess is some jazzer in the 60s... but then I don't know, so I'm asking.
     
  2. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Larry Graham - end of thread!!







    ;)
     
  3. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Well, yeah, but...

    Larry is definitely one of the originals.

    But as with most things "original", the people who followed him are probably more responsible for developing it as an art form.

    There's a long list of innovative slap players.

    IMO slap as an art form only really started when the technique of "left hand slapping" was developed in detail. Until then, it was just the stupid pluck-n-pop stuff like Flea does. (Don't get me wrong, he's very good at what he does, it just gets a little boring after a while).

    Vic Wooten, for example, is a great left hand slapper, and also check out Mark White from the Spin Doctors, he does some really sweet slap grooves and they're pretty accessible for the most part.
     
  4. Craig Garfinkel

    Craig Garfinkel

    Aug 25, 2000
    Hartford, CT
    Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars
    Larry Graham is certainly widely given the credit, and IMO deservedly so, for "inventing" the technique, and he was doin' it well before the mid '70s. So yes, Larry Graham is the definitive answer to your specific question.

    But a thread ender? I think bassists should know that the idea of "slapping" and/or "popping" a bass so that the strings "slap back" against the fingerboard, creating a percussive attack, goes way back before the electric bass. From early big band upright players to bluegrass and country to early "rock-a-billy", "slap bass" was a technique widely used.

    The DB cats will have to chime in here about who the pioneers of those styles were.

    I don't know if it's so, but it would make sense that Larry Graham's technique at least could have been influenced in some way by those early upright players.
     
  5. Woodchuck

    Woodchuck

    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta / Macon (sigh)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
     
  6. BustinJustin

    BustinJustin banned

    Sep 12, 2003
    NYC, LI too
    :bassist: :bassist: :bassist: yep
     
  7. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Craig Garfinkel is absolutely right, slapping was around long before Larry Graham. It was a popular DB technique as early as the mid-50's.
     
  8. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    But the original question was about slap and pop - a lot of DB'ers slapped their basses - but they didn't do slap/pop!!

    Also - slap/pop is typified by a straight, not swung feel and is a way of introducing a 16th note funk 'feel' that was new and unique.
     
  9. Craig Garfinkel

    Craig Garfinkel

    Aug 25, 2000
    Hartford, CT
    Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars
    Which is why I said this.
     
  10. Good Answer. Ok, as early as the 20's and 30's (the big band era) bass players found themselves in a bind when they couldn't even hear themselves over the rest of the band. This was mainly in small night clubs, and along side horn sections. Thus they had to use a more aggressive attack to get more volume out of their instrument. That was the first form of slap. Not what Graham did, they did it for the sole purpose of getting volume out of the bass. Sure there was going to be a bit of a percussive sound to come out too, but that wasn't the goal.

    Then in the 60's...

    ...As the story goes, Larry found himself at a gig without a drummer. I dont know all the specifics (when, why the drummer wasn't there, or where it was) but instead of not playing the gig, larry decided to do the old slap method of the big band era, and add a more percussive feel to it to compensate for the absent drummer. That was the earliest form of the slap we are familiar with, however it isn't the earliest of all.

    Not trying to steal any credit from Larry, he went on to do some great things with Sly and the Family Stone after that, but we should try to know our history as good as possible. Slap arouse out of necessity as is evident from both of these two eras.
     

  11. Ok I typed too much in that last post :(

    Please disregard/correct some of that if you see fit.... :D
     
  12. Craig Garfinkel

    Craig Garfinkel

    Aug 25, 2000
    Hartford, CT
    Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars
    No no no Soupy...great post!

    Of course Bruce is exactly right...too. As I recall, the upright player going back as far as the '20s-'30s that I was thinking of that was famous for the technique as you describe it was "Slam" Stewart (with Duke's band...no?). I hesitated to point this out, as I'm not an expert on DB players, by any means.
     
  13. The story on Larry inventing slap/pop came from him playing in a group with his mother on piano and a drummer. The drummer quit (or wasn't there or something to that effect), and to emulate the percussive effect, Larry slapped for the bass drum and popped for the snare. I'm sure rockabilly was an influence on his filling the necessary void.
     
  14. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Thank You! ;)

    I think you have to bear in mind that what we call slap/pop now, was also the introduction of a very different rhythmic "feel" to what DB players were doing - subdividing the bar, more than they did, slowing it down.

    So it wasn't just about playing the same lines, with a more percussive feel, as the DB'ers had done - but rather creating a whole new genre of music, which was really dependent on the bass lines.
     
  15. ChikEnBaKeR

    ChikEnBaKeR Guest

    Jan 23, 2004
    ARGENTINA!!!!!!!
    Absolutly true. What we know as Slap is what Stanley show us.


    :D

    Stanley
     
  16. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    "But the original question was about slap and pop - a lot of DB'ers slapped their basses - but they didn't do slap/pop!!"

    Mere semantics. As you well know if you're an accomplished slapper, there's a lot more to the "slap style" than slap-n-pop.

    "Also - slap/pop is typified by a straight, not swung feel and is a way of introducing a 16th note funk 'feel' that was new and unique"

    You're limiting yourself. Slap is a very versatile style. Most of your "typical" slap players are not very accomplished. A good slapper can use that style for just about any purpose whatsoever.

    Maybe I'm addressing the "question behind the question". There's "Slap 101", which is kinda like what Larry Graham did, and then there are more advanced ways of using "slaps" and "pops" to create intricate and textured rhythms that go way beyond the "typical" 16th note funk feel. Any trained monkey can do machine gun triplets. Really, there are very few true slap artists, who've explored the medium in any detail.

    Did you go to NAMM? Hang out at the Alembic booth for a while? If you did, you probably heard some pretty good slappers.

    (Sorry, not trying to be a contrarian here, just sharing my perspective. I don't think it's fair to single out Larry Graham, or Stanley Clarke, or any other single individual as having created the "slap and pop" technique. It came out of history somewhere, and those people, among others, helped develop it into what it is today, which is a far cry from what it was in Larry Graham's time.) :)
     
    Oldschool94 likes this.
  17. Dave Castelo

    Dave Castelo

    Apr 19, 2000
    Mexico
    To informed bassists: Graham

    To the mainstream: Flea
     
  18. but don't some DB players (especially rockabilly players) do both slap and pop, of sorts?- ie. slapping- striking the strings towards the fingerboard, and popping- pulling the strings away from the fingerboard so on release they spring back against the fingerboard?
     
  19. Zon Bass

    Zon Bass

    Jan 20, 2002
    Dallas, TX
    Al Gore
     
  20. Slater

    Slater Bye Millen! Hello?

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    I think Larry calls it "Thumpin' and Pluckin'" ;) .