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Why is Slap popular?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by EdgarHons, Nov 27, 2000.


  1. EdgarHons

    EdgarHons

    Oct 14, 2000
    Although I'm a newbie, and really have very slim experience as a bassist, or a person in general being only 15...it seems that if you're good at slap, people automatically think you're some sort of Bass god. Where does this impression come from? I think Slap sounds cool sure...but whenever someone who knows nothing about music hears me, they say "Play some slap!" or something to that liking. One of my friends who plays slap mainly says it's done only for speed. Maybe I'm some sort of speed demon, but I can play MUCH faster non-slapping than slapping. I suck at slapping, given, but I can get really fast just regular ol playing. My friend is stuck using only the index and middle finger when it comes to playing, and so he's resorted to slapping for speed. Personally, when I play, I use index, middle, ring, and pinky and it gives me phenomenal speeds (No picks) Anyways...besides wondering why people think playing slap means playing great, I also am begged to ask who also plays slap for speed reasons? It seems as if no one around here can even fingerpick with more than 2 fingers, but they're slapping gods. Someone explain this slap phenomenom to me, and also tell me when it's going to end?
     
  2. For me,slapping is fun.I don't use it very much when it comes to actual song writing.When I'm doodling around or if I'm showing off like a moron in a music store,it's for egotistical purposes.I suspect some people slap for the latter reason.Will it go away?Will people stop being arrogant?Forgive me if this sounds harsh.I've frequented alot of music stores and after awhile you start to notice things.
    The fact that you use more of your right hand fingers is good indication you to want expand your technique,keep at it.You'll win in the long run.
     
  3. I'm with Willie I do it cause it's fun and it sounds good by it's self. I use it very sparingly when playing most of my gigs.
     
  4. i was gong to post something but i think i will stay out of it, but just FYI i like playing with my fingers more than slaping and i can play cleaner and faster that way
     
  5. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Slap is a useful texture and is great for accents, but is not a technique to build all of your playing around IMHO.

    As to the question about slap being for speed, check out some Victor Wooten - granted, he is double thumb slapping, left hand hammering and double and triple right hand plucking all at once on some of the really crazy sh¡t, but I've never heard anybody match his speed.
     
  6. DaveTomasi

    DaveTomasi Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 15, 1999
    Baltimore, Maryland
    This has been said many times before in many threads and forums. I think that slap is popular because it is an attention getter technique, and if done properly and tastefully, it enhances the groove which for me is the ultimate goal. IMHO, slap style is just another tool in the box of bass skills. As with any other pursuit, one tool should not be used for every task, but for the ones for which it is best suited. The music is what is important. You may have astounding ability in slap style, but, if the music suffers from it, then it results in distraction and noise. As an example, Stanley Clarke is renowned for his use of the slap technique. However, I think that his most awesome and beautiful work is done on the upright.
     
  7. Somebody mentioned Victor Wooten and Stanley Clark,that says it all for me.
     
  8. Besides Victor Wooten and Stanley Clarke, one other slap-god must be mentioned, and that is Marcus Miller. He has his own sound and his own groove and his own way of playing melody slapping. Even though he's known for his slapping, he is an all-round excellent player and I especially love his fretless playing.

    When I first started out, I loved slapping. There was a period where that's all I was really into. But after playing for almost ten years, even a hard-core slap addict like me is getting a little tired of it. In order for slap to draw my attention, it has to be really tasteful and really grooving.

    BTW, I really like Oteil Burbridge's slapping too. He doesn't use it all that often, but when he does, it's very effective.
     
  9. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    I like too much the slapping technique, but don't forget that Billy Sheehan, Jaco Pastorius or Steve Harris don't need the slapping technique to be the bass greats they are.
     
  10. EdgarHons

    EdgarHons

    Oct 14, 2000
    << I like too much the slapping technique, but don't forget that Billy Sheehan, Jaco Pastorius or Steve Harris don't need the slapping technique to be the bass greats they are. >>





    I agree with you completely, but that's from an insider (Meaning bass player)'s point of view. For anyone else, and many have said this, someone like Flea is the best bassists out there. They've got no idea who Jaco is, and before I started, to be honest, I didn't either. I dunno if anyone I know would be able to name a solo bassist, but they all know Flea. I understand Flea is great, but I don't see why people think of him as the best. Is a bass just a really horrid instrument? Does it turn most people off? If so, why wouldn't they enjoy something in the background that sounds more like a guitar, then some loud thumping and popping sounds from a 'weirdo with a guitar missing 2 strings'? I can't understand pop culture, and probably never will considering the Backstreet Boys are the number 1 band in America...sigh...
     
  11. EdgarHons

    EdgarHons

    Oct 14, 2000
    << I like too much the slapping technique, but don't forget that Billy Sheehan, Jaco Pastorius or Steve Harris don't need the slapping technique to be the bass greats they are. >>





    I agree with you completely, but that's from an insider (Meaning bass player)'s point of view. For anyone else, and many have said this, someone like Flea is the best bassist out there. They've got no idea who Jaco is, and before I started, to be honest, I didn't either. I dunno if anyone I know would be able to name a solo bassist, but they all know Flea. I understand Flea is great, but I don't see why people think of him as the best. Is a bass just a really horrid instrument? Does it turn most people off? If so, why wouldn't they enjoy something in the background that sounds more like a guitar, then some loud thumping and popping sounds from a 'weirdo with a guitar missing 2 strings'? I can't understand pop culture, and probably never will considering the Backstreet Boys are the number 1 band in America...sigh...
     
  12. Mike

    Mike

    Sep 7, 2000
    Cali
    Why is this even an argument and for what reason is it necessary for me to justify my playing approach to anyone? I was under the impression that playing an instrument was a a unique experience and medium of expresion and reaction to rhythm. I guess I have been misinformed for the last 15 yrs in my interpretation. From this day forward,in order to appease the council, I will never slap again and learn to pluck with my ring and pinky finger so that I may play at "tremendous speeds" and hope,with this new found strategy, this will bring me to victory in NASCAR's largest event,the Daytona 500. Because,at least in my moment of enlightenment, I have now realized that it's really all about the mechanics and not the groove. Hear ye! Hear ye! Slap is dead.
     
  13. does this mean you are going to start putting stickers on your bass?
     
  14. Mike

    Mike

    Sep 7, 2000
    Cali


    does this mean you are going to start putting stickers on your bass? [/B][/QUOTE]



    Yelp. And I will speak in a HEAVY Southern drawl also...

    :)
     
  15. bassics

    bassics

    Nov 27, 2000
    Newark, Ohio
    hmmm. slap vs. fingerstyle? I play both, depending on the
    FEEL of the song I am playing, if I want to show off, say a solo opportunity, or I am playing a song with a heavy funk feel, I will play slap, it adds to the rythm of the song, and sounds better TO ME. If I am playing metal, progressive rock, or a smooth jazz tune, I can use fingerstyle, maybe
    with some tap thrown in for good measure. It's all about PERSONAL expression, If you like the way it sounds, do it.
    There is NO WAY to play a bass (or any other instrument for that matter) WRONG. What makes a truely great musician great? how fast he plays? I think NOT. A truely great musician is great because he plays from his soul and his heart, not his head.


    think about how intelligent the average person is......
    and realize that half of them are even stupider than that!
    George Carlin.
     
  16. EdgarHons

    EdgarHons

    Oct 14, 2000
    << Why is this even an argument and for what reason is it necessary for me to justify my playing approach to anyone? I was under the impression that playing an instrument was a a unique experience and medium of expresion and reaction to rhythm. I guess I have been misinformed for the last 15 yrs in my interpretation. From this day forward,in order to appease the council, I will never slap again and learn to pluck with my ring and pinky finger so that I may play at "tremendous speeds" and hope,with this new found strategy, this will bring me to victory in NASCAR's largest event,the Daytona 500. Because,at least in my moment of enlightenment, I have now realized that it's really all about the mechanics and not the groove. Hear ye! Hear ye! Slap is dead. >>





    Look buddy, I didn't try to piss off any slap players, I just wanted to know why it's SO popular. I know it's good, but here's my discrepancy. I could be 10 times better than someone fingerpicking, but if they're even slightly better than me at slapping (Which they probably are since I suck at it) the outside public considers them better. Why does playing slap make a bassist to outsiders? And hey man, I never said slap is dead, I just asked when it was going to die so people like you who apparently stick to only slapping will hear the warning and learn to play a different way. But heck...you mock those who have enough talent to use 4 fingers, I'm sure you feel 1 finger is the maximum to use before you start sounding "All technical and stuff." If slapping is your reaction and uniqueness, I'm not the one who's going to stop you. I don't mean to start a flame war cause that's not my purpose here, but if you're gonna act like a jerk because YOU interpreted my post wrong, what other choice do I have? From now on, end the sarcasm with a smile...