Idiot-Proof Beginner Slap Bass (Every F**king Detail You Need to Get Started)

Thanks to you @howard! Hadn’t heard of her before you shared her on the forum a while back. You’re a great PR team for the Japanese slap industry. :slight_smile:

That’s totally okay! Slap is extremely optional, very few gigs call for it. (much to the chagrin of my slap-happy teenage self)

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I’ve no doubt I’ll get back to it at some point because I LOVE the slap and pop sound.

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Josh, I skipped ahead and tried some slap after seeing your video. It works! I can do it thanks to your very detailed explanations…not bad for lefty! Now back to the course!:smile:

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Awesome, thanks for sharing!

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That’s a great lesson. I would think how your bass is EQed is also important.

Getting a good fundamental bass note and also the higher frequency of the percussive “click” needed for a slap, I would think is also involved.

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Hey Boz, definitely! Depends on what sound you want a lot too, which is why I didn’t have a “here’s how to get a good slap tone with your gear” section of the video. A classic J-bass slap sound is different from a Stingray slap sound is different from an active humbucker “modern” sound, etc. etc.

But no matter what, if you’re missing the bottom, it’ll feel wimpy, and if you’re missing the top it’ll sound muffled. Which is bad… unless that’s the sound you need!

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Gah I really want to learn slap!!
I haven’t reached that part of the course yet but I keep getting impatient because a lot of songs I want to learn use slap and it sounds so good.
I’ve tried before and I’ve never really been able to make anything other than a horrid metal sound and still seems to be that way.
I’ll wait until I reach that point in the course but once I do I’m gonna furiously practice lol

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OK, here is an update from me (as promised to @JoshFossgreen):

(Before I forget it: nice playing on “43” during the outro!!)

So, your diagnostic approach in the video was spot on. First, I had to adjust my thumb with respect to the strings, as I was hitting them way too parallel (i.e., no angle).

Second, I clearly suffered from a thumb that wasn’t relaxed at all, and basically killed off all tone right after hitting the string. This has improved, but still some way to go.

However, there was a third aspect that is almost more a “psychological” thing… Because my sound was very percussive and very “clanky”, I didn’t like it at all, which created a negative feedback. In order to avoid it I played very softly, which just aggravated things really… I also played softly because with my wife in earshot, it felt embarrassing, like I was torturing a string or the entire bass or something. (Obviously, playing with earphones doesn’t help, as all the percussive “noise” is still audible for anyone close by).

Recently, I had the house for myself a couple of times and finally cranked up the amp and slapped much “harder” (with intent), which allowed me to better understand what I was doing right and what I was doing wrong. Having figured this out, I can now also get the right combo of percussion and tone less violently :grin:

Still a long way to go, obviously, but your video was immensely helpful to get me out of the slap funk I was in (pardon the pun)! Thanks!!

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Awesome! For the tone try scooping your mids - EQ away about half of your midrange. And when your GT-1B arrives, use a compressor with the attack time turned to “fast” and the ratio pretty high. This will help with evening things out.

I’m still terrible but that helps me sound less terrible :slight_smile:

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Thanks, @howard - will try that - hadn’t really given this part of the equation much thought yet, but it makes perfect sense that the overall tone also provides a feedback to my playing (I.e., influences it)!

And I think there are probably some funk presets already on the GT-1B :wink:

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Thanks for the details @joergkutter! Super helpful as a teacher to get reports like that.

Good catch! Yes, slapping timidly is a really unfortunate feedback loop, because you feel embarassed -> slap timidly -> which makes it way harder to slap -> you sound worse -> you feel more embarassed -> your brain breaks and your bass explodes.

SLAP ANECDOTE: There’s an old Marcus Miller interview in some issue of Bass Player mag from who-knows-when, I remember they interviewed his bass tech. The dude said something along the lines of “In order to get a gain/level setting on Marcus’ bass, I take a quarter out of my pocket and hit the strings with it as hard as I can, to imitate his slap technique.”

SO don’t be afraid to beat the living s**t out of the strings, as long as you stay relaxed. Once you find the threshold for a good tone, you can explore your dynamic range more so that you don’t have to go into beat-the-bass-up mode unless you really want that tone.

And you win a gold star for the slap funk pun! Love it. :star2:

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When I was messing around with slapping it, and the sound was at it’s best I would describe it as not only relaxed, but almost as if I was “slinging my thumb” at the string slowing my thumb to rebound a little. Not uncontrolled; the thumb was definitely on a leash!

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I bet that is one of the main challenges of an “online” teacher: as you can’t see your students, you’d have to anticipate everything they possibly could do wrong…

“Timid” is the word I was looking for - that’s what it was!

Yay :star_struck:

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I love this.

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have a little self update that I figured out how to slap!!
Not good at it (keep missing the string i want to play lol :laughing:) but so excited to try more!!
I still haven’t actually gotten to module 13 where it’s introduced yet so I won’t get too worried but it’s nice to feel like I’m getting somewhere!!

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Getting a good sound is Step 1, that’s great! Takes a lot of practice to stop missing (mostly). :stuck_out_tongue:

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Just did this video, think it will help me. The other thing I tried after my first time thru B2B was to start over and try to slap my way thru as many lessons as I could.
Noticed in the video that Josh is playing what appears to be a Bass like the one I just got.

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How did it go with slapping your way through on the second time around?

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Wow! Well that’s a unique way to go. Totally challenging and will reveal all sorts about your slap technique, I’m sure. Did you do the slow and medium tempo exercises as well? I imagine slapping to the really slow & simple stuff would let you hear precisely what control you have.

Which one is that? The one in the slap vid, presumably. I can’t make out what it is, but clearly a ‘stingray’ of some sort. No doubt you’ll share a pic of yours in the Show Us Your Basses thread. :smiley:

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There are pictures in the show us your basses and merry bassmas threads. I think trying to slap my way thru went ok, slow and some medium workouts, don’t recall any of the fast being anything other than noise. Main problem was I didn’t stick with it.

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