Another Dumb Q: How to play slur marks?

I am familiar with slur marks from my time as a clarinetist–notes played without articulation. How the hell do you do that on a bass? Does that require a series of pulloffs/hammer-ons? What if you need to cross strings?

I’ve always slid up the string to slur notes from one to another. And if you check out The Wall in the 50 First Songs Pack, it has a slur from fret 5 to 12 on the low string (E, detuned a step down to D), which is the same note that’s been played previously on fret 5 of the A string.

Though I suppose you could try a hammer on if you wanted to or had to cross strings. They do sound different, and I guess it depends on what the original musician did.


Slur = slide indeed


I’ve always thought of a slur as playing two notes contiguously as if they are one note. This means holding one note and playing the next note before you release the first note. I guess sliding would work too. I’ve been wrong before, so my feelings won’t be hurt if I’m wrong again.


isn’t a slide more equivalent to a glissando?

I don’t think a glissando is meant on a classical piece with a slur mark over arpeggiated 16th notes.–i.e. I don’t think you are supposed to play the notes inbetween the notes that are written

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Well finally Google found something useful–need to brush up on my boolean logic searches:

From Study Bass

Pull-Off Notation and Tab Just like hammer-on notation, a pull-off uses a slur mark connecting two (or more) descending notes. A slur is an arced line. This is found in both musical notation and bass tab. In some notation the slur symbol has “P” or “PO” written above or below the arced line indicating a pull-off. More recently notation leaves off the “P” so it is not confused with another bass technique call “popping”.


But what if you want to slur up in pitch, then isn’t it a mini slide.

Agree glissando is more of a slide, but normally each note in between is articulated vs. the two end points as we tend to do, but you are probably right.

You got it, a slur up is a hammer-on and a slur down is a pull-off


learnin’ every day!

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A slide could be either a glissando on fretted bass or a portamento on fretless.

A glissando plays discrete notes between a starting and finishing notes, portamento is more of a way to connect two notes in a legato style.

Also, these terms seem to mean different things on different instruments :slight_smile:

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Learned a new word today

That’s also the name of a series of Ibanez fretless basses :slightly_smiling_face:

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[quote=“sshoihet, post:12, topic:27911, full:true”]

…and a place in Italy you wanted to dock your boat but ended up somewhere else

I found something relevant to the conversation. The notation legend in the back of my Extreme Metal Bass book :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:


(googles ‘slur note’)
notes that are connected together with legato articulation
(googles ‘legato’)
similar to glissando
(googles ‘glissando’)
a form of glide

gives up


That’s something new I learned today. Thank you

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That one’s… a bit of a stretch, definition-wise :slight_smile:

Legato just means to smoothly play a second note while still holding the previous note, only releasing the previous note after you have started the second one. As opposed to staccato, where you play them with distinct, abbreviated separation.

Glissando (literally) means to glide between notes. It’s not a form of a glide; it is a glide, playing all of the intervening notes between two notes, like a slide.

So while Glissando is technically Legato, not all Legato are Glissando.




Sweet! So a slide is a glide, which is also a glissando, which may or may not be a legato?


Slides/glissando are always legato (unless marked staccato, which would be very weird but possible on some instruments I guess - I’ve never seen it).

However, you can play, for example, the note C followed by the note G legato without sliding/glisaando between them. So not all legato are glissando. An easy example here would be to play a C on the bass and then finger-roll down to the G, plucking the G while the C was still ringing. That’s legato, but not glissando.

Another example of glissando would be a bend between two notes, or using a guitar trem. (These are technically a portamento and not a glissando but that is a fine distinction - I wasn’t aware of it until just now). You’re playing the tones between the origin and destination. Legato does not imply that at all; Legato just implies smoothness.