How to Slap & Pop Faster (Bad vs. Good Bass Technique)

Are you killing your slap with bad bass popping technique? :-1: Not anymore, after you fix your slap & pop essentials and nail the mythical Teeter-Totter Technique.

0:53 - Slap & Pop Essentials
2:23 - Popping Technique Variations
3:30 - Avoid Blisters with MVP
4:50 - Teeter-Totter Technique
6:58 - Basic Slap & Pop Exercise
8:25 - Popping on the D String
9:12 - Jamiroquai Tutorial
10:41 - Jamiroquai Play-along

If you’re doing the Beginner to Badass course, this lesson would be a helpful adjunct for the slap lessons in Module 13.

Emergency on Planet Earth Bass Tab

In case you want to dig into it further, here’s that Jamiroquai snippet again. You can hear a lot of cool variations on this bass line as the song develops.

How’s your teeter-totter working after this lesson? :+1::point_up_2:


Better than before, but the slap - pop technique is still not my thing, admittedly. Plucking and tapping for me, for now!

But the slapping did make me look at my strings closely - I think my Elixir Nano Web strings you recommend are finally ready to be changed! All of them are discolored and worn near the plucking area, and the E string even has some of the stringy coating coming off. Feeling somehow very accomplished :1st_place_medal:


So, what are you going to get, @Vik? The same strings or something else??


I think I’ll try flatwounds - just for something new to try out, lol! The only “disadvantage” of those Elixirs is that they just last so long - they’re great strings, but I was almost waiting for them to go bad so I could try something else. Need to look at that string thread - La Bella? What do you all recommend? I’ll pay for better quality, if it means better tone, and they last longer.

To keep on topic though, is there a difference in slapping / popping on flatwound vs. roundwound?


Well, before you go all “flat”, you could try the Half Rounds (I guess only available from D’Addario), which are somewhere between a round wound and a flat wound.

I have read a lot of satisfied comments on the Thomastik-Infeld strings, and would like to try them at some point. Clearly a bit more pricey, but people praise their rounds and flats.

Other than that, I am also “experimenting” in order to gain some own experience!!


Just looked those up, and they seem to be the Rolls Royce of bass strings! Might be something to put on my dream custom bass someday (still don’t know what that is!), that I don’t let anyone else play, and that I make a point to wipe down each time. I think I’m still in the realm of somewhat low maintenance, don’t-cringe-when-something’s-not-right type of gear :laughing:

In the era before germ-o-phobia, I was letting others try out my SR870, one fellow had just eaten potato chips, quickly told him wipe his hands off as that’s sure to ruin strings. I think at some point, with gear, there’s a level where you sort of begin to worry about it. Wouldn’t want to leave too nice a bass at a sketchy venue backroom, for instance.

Anyway, way off topic, lol!!


Yeah, sorry, my bad :grin:

And I haven’t even answered your topic-related question… I am not, by any stretch, an experienced slapper/popper (actually, I wonder whether we have any of those in here, other than Josh and Gio!?!), but I would assume strongly that slapping with flats is just not the same! I would go as far as to postulate it doesn’t make any sense to slap on flats…

Maybe someone more experienced will prove me wrong!?! :wink:


You can slap on any dang thing… but it changes the sound pretty dramatically.
In general, the slap and pop vibe is to get as much low and high end as you can, and get that lovely thumpy, deep note combined with the sweet, bright attack of the string on the frets. The flats don’t really support that aesthetic of full-spectrum, bright attack…
It can be done, but you’re drastically changing the sound and, from a point of view, working at cross-purposes.
But - hey: Les Claypool made a career of playing slap and pop bass on a fretless, making weird dissonant riffs, and speak-singing about fishing.
So… go for it?


Ah, OK, so more thud-clonk than slap-pop - got it :grin:


Yes! Most slapping is done on roundwounds, flatwounds will give you a much duller / more muted sound that might sound unsatisfying if you’re looking for that classic slap zing you hear from most slap lines.


I am having trouble getting a proper nice slap sound out of the A string. The same slap on the E-String will crate a much nicer, fuller and slappier tune. Is this something that is usually technique related or could it also be the set-up? I had to do that myself since music stores are closed. What distance between top of fret and string would be ideal for slapping. Many set up tutorials on YouTube say very different things.
Thanks guys and gals


Hey Paul, I think anywhere around 5mm or less of clearance from E string to 12th fret wire works fine for slapping.

I’m guessing your issue is technique related, if you’re getting good slaps from the E string. Just keep working on relaxing the thumb. The more relaxed it is, the better your tone will be.

Most students learning slap think their thumb is relaxed… and it really isn’t! It’s a process. :slight_smile:



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