Why Slap?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Marty Forrer, Jan 6, 2001.

  1. I really wanted to put this question in the basses area, but realised it would probably get moved anyway. Many posts in the basses area ask about "such and such" a bass, is it any good for slapping? I cant figure why anyone would still bother themselves with this "technique". I dont recollect hearing a song on the radio for years that has slapping in it. Are slappers stuck in a 80's and early 90's timewarp? I work in a music instrument store, as well as playing 2-3 gigs a week, and have done a fair bit of teaching. When someone comes into the bass dept. and picks up a bass, 90% of the time the first thing they will do is whack it with their thumb! Many kids can slap their arses off, but cant play a C major scale. Why? Also, I play gigs in most all genres, and I have NEVER been asked to slap. Okay, so I've never been in a situation of having to play "Airplane", but as I said before, how much slap do you hear on the radio?I'm certainly not hearing any. I can slap, but choose not to, it does'nt sound like bass playing to me. I just fail to see why kids put so much importance in a dinosaur, when they would do themselves a huge favour by learning to play MUSIC!
  2. go to search and search on my screen name or the phrase "when is this slap bass fad going to end" if it doesn't answer any questions it shuld at least make you gigle. Wow talk about bringing up old flames. :D
  3. Most pop songs, by Britney Spears, BSB, etc. utilize slapping, and what's more popular than that nowadays? I think slapping is cool if it is used appropriately, and only appropriately. It should't be the only technique that a bassist knows, but it has it's place in music...
  4. Well, i find slapping a great technique for solos and sometimes full songs...but it sucks when overused. besides, everyone who slaps full time generally has a very thin and lifeless tone.
  5. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    I once thought that slapping was a waste of time, too... but then I got a Victor Wooten/ Steve Bailey video and, BOY HOWDY I know what I'm going to be working on for the next few decades.
    You never know when it will come in handy. Course, with the music i play, it won't come in handy... but STILL... I just think it's damn cool.
  6. rllefebv


    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    I play quite a bit of contemporary Christian music, and this is the only time that I get asked if I can slap, (the answer is 'No' btw...) I've just never been able to get the hang of it. Usually it is a guitar player asking...usually they can slap some, but when it comes time to lay back and groove, they crumble, smile sheepishly and hand the bass back. No more questions about playing the bass!!!

    I really do wish I could get the hang of slapping, and maybe if it were more of a requirement I'd try harder.

    My two cents...

  7. Britney Spears? Give me a break!
    Gruffpuppy; could'nt find it man.
  8. Samie


    Dec 13, 2000
    Madrid, Spain
    thougth it was dead to but check out

    maxwell .- let's not play the game(and other songs)
    some R&B divas like Mary J. (I cant remember the songs)
    soundtrack of Romeo must die..(stanley still alive)

    I think that slaping is overused, some artist still choose to used with some taste. A lot of people slap but very, very few have ever gotten the tone and rhytem of true slaping...
  9. my favorite is guitar players that ask you to play someting funky and are really saying play that slap thing

    this might bring you to it

  10. 5156246


    Sep 6, 2000
    Maybe we have to differ a little.
    I think that slapping is an addition to the bass at a very high level (yup, not that simple octave slap).

    It is a impresive possibility to show your playing skills, too. I mean, yes, it really sounds cool, you have to admit.

    And it can be used for a while as true bass part of a song.

    On the other hand, I remember that even Level 42 used the bass often just as "percussive element of rhythm". Mark King slapped (quite good :D) but the basis was given by some synth bass from the keyboards. I hope you get the point, maybe with another example:

    Vic Wooten does most of his soli with slapping (and other techniques, right). He uses doubble thumping, cool action. But I think, when reaching a certain point of speed in playing you'll lose the groove. Think of "classical thumb" e.g. Nice to listen to it, but .. that's all. (In my dumb opinion I even think that doubble thumping isn't really slapping, but that's another story).

    Then compare this to e.g. "Gimme all your lovin'" by ZZ Top. Easy bass line, but - hey - this song grooves :)

    Thus I would say that slapping is cool for some time as basis for the song, for a short time for soli at high speed, but the main purpose of the bass is still "the bass" and not some strange sounds... ;)

    P.S. This was written by someone who loves and uses slapping very often.

  11. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    Anthony Jackson pointed out in his BP interview years ago that slapping is a technique not a style. The problem is that a lot of players never figgered this one out. I have the rudiments down but never slap cause I really don't hear it in any of the music I make. I get bored pretty fast with the Wooten-esque machine gun stuff. A guy I think sounds good though and whose use of the technique blends very well with the music as a whole is Tony Hall with the Neville Brothers. The same could be said of most of Marcus Miller's playing too. Why slap? 'Cause it fits the music.

    [Edited by jeffbonny on 01-07-2001 at 04:17 PM]
  12. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    The DMX channels on my digital cable provider include a jazz/vocals channel. One can hear at least moderate, but very tasteful (ie., not overdone) slapping on many, if not most of the songs. By tasteful, I mean the slapping is done for accents, fills, and to lay down a groove without dominating the song. SO, I'd say that the slap technique is "alive and well" in soft jazz to the extent that I believe anyone who wants to be a bassist in that genre had better have some decent slap technique.

    Jason Oldsted
  13. Mike


    Sep 7, 2000
    Here we go. I'm gonna get it but, frankly, this has got to be about the dumbest God damn question I have ever heard. It truly demonstrates absolute small mindedness, lack of understanding and blatant idiocy and insolence. I'm so ****ing blown away by the imbecilec nature of this question, I can't even believe one who calls himself a bass player in particular or a musician in general would ask such a thing. Was the author born in a God damn dung hole. Because if he was, he stiil hasn't escaped.

    You seem to be under the presumption that it is some how necessary to slap to be a bass player. Please tell me in what chapter and verse in the rule book this clause is written in. Some how I over loooked it. I guess it was a large oversight on my part. How is slapping any less pertinet to bass playing than, say, strumming a guitar with your fingers rather than a pick? Would you suggest that all fingers on a guitarist plucking hand be amputated because all that you've ever seen or heard have only used a pick? If so, please inform the relatives of the late Andres Segovia, (Who?! You probably won't hear much of him on the radio,therefore his music must be irrelevent.) that his career was really nothing more than a waste of time and a livelihood.

    Further, why the hostility toward those who may slap every now and then and enjoy implementing said technique into a tune? Does it really negatively impact your life that greatly? Christ, I hate to see how you react in a real crisis, like, for instance, if someone told you that the world was round and you will, in fact, not fall off the edge at the horizon. (True story. REVEALATION!!!!!!!) If this was your first sensory experience from steppping out of the dung hole, brother, please, by all means crawl back in. The rest of us were doing fine without you. However, it doesn't seem the dung hole is doing very well with those of us who have elected to cut the umbilical cord and wander from time to time. Remember, Cornelius, the Homo Erectus' were pretty pissed off when those know it all, free spirited Sapiens' came to town.

  14. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
  15. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    No slapping on the radio? Wouldn't that depend on what stations you listen to?;)

    Hell, I've even heard it on the EIB network:DYou also hear this TECHNIQUE on TV, in movies, at church, in space, on the Muppets Show, etc., etc., etc.

    The only thing I find tired about this whole thing is what seems to be the logic that slap is slap... meaning everyone does it the same way. That is myopic (but I ain't mad at ya). Is fingerstyle the same for everyone?

    Prestia = Entwistle? OK:D

    Listen to Pop on the radio, you'll hear it. Listen to Progressive Jazz and you'll hear it there too (anyone familiar with Marcus Miller?) Heard any Clapton? His bassist slaps and no, he doesn't sound like Flea, Les or Fieldy:D Listen to country? There's slap there, too.

    Why would anyone still want to do it? Because :eek: in some songs it actually fits.

    Why on Earth would anyone want to tap?:D
  16. Hey Marty Forrer, the reason I said Britney Spears has slap bass in her songs is because she is one of largest selling acts in the country and if her bassist utilizes this technique, it obviously isn't dead, is it? And is your opinion on music more important than a 12 year old girl's? Nope. Do I listen to her music? No, but just 'cus I don't like it doesn't mean other people can't.
  17. freddylang


    Dec 24, 2000
    Columbus, OH.
    Slapping is overused but I wish I could do it. I haven't really tried much. I think I have to get better in other areas before I worry about slapping. It's just more of a "window dressing" to your overall style. If you're not sold on slapping as an art listen to Robert Trujillo formerly of Suicidal Tendencies and Infectious Grooves and be enlightened as I was. This guy is unbelievable and doesn't get the credit of a Manring or Stu Hamm. And, of course, there is always Flea.
  18. virtual.ray


    Oct 25, 2000
    To every thing there is a season.
  19. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I think the post might have been titled differently and been better understood and got better reactions. I have said the same sort of things many times on this board and a lot of people have agreed.

    The point I take from Marty's post is something that has struck me many times - you go into a music shop and find that every kid or even some older guys are wacking hell out of basses and you think why?- when you know that they will be in a band situation where 9 times out of 10 they won't be playing any slap.

    The impression you get is that they are treating music like some kind of competitive sport where the aim is to get as many notes per second in to beat the other guy!! :rolleyes:
    I think Steve Lawson mentioned this in his posts about NAMM and other similar functions - something about all the bass players suddenly becoming melodically-challenged and feeling compelled to show off chops for some reason.

    Yeah, OK - slap can fit into some songs and is a valid technique - I do it myself. But why is this the onlytechnique most people do when they get a new bass in their hands in a shop or event like NAMM? It's just irritating and you long to hear somebody play a melody like a Jaco fretless line.
  20. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    ...funny stuff there, man! :D
    Speaking of Country slap bass; yours truly is in a New Country PARODY band(key word: PARODY)that usually opens with "Play That Funky Music"(the chorus is done the typical Root/5 Country 2-beat...Yee-haw). When we first learned it for the show, I played it finger-style(as I had learned it back in the '70s; as the guy in Wild Cherry played it); the leader asked(nicely), "...can't ya slap that thing"? He's the boss, right?