Newbie thoughts

Hey all. Started playing bass a little over a month ago with a lot of guitar technique.

Slap really brought me to the bass as a “soloist technique,” but virtually every popular teaching anecdote says don’t focus on it starting out.

I’m enjoying the B2B course and have no qualms with alternating I/M, but is there any sage advice that actively says “slap is a meme for beginners?”

I worry that not pursuing the band role of the bass is a gross disservice to myself as slap is used in a number of “boastful” videos.

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IMO - hard to decorate the house with really cool stuff without a solid foundation (so the house doesn’t fall over).
If you go thorugh B2B, then head right to the area you want to focus on (slap) that’s cool, but get a bit of basics under your belt.

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Don’t worry. Where there’s a will there’s a WILL. You do you. It would be a bit harder as a beginner but everything is hard In the beginning.
You want to slap then slap away.

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This is mainly because it’s hard and if a person is really new to music then there is a lot on their plate already.

If slap is your thing then slap that bass, but I woudn’t ignore what Josh is teaching to get to the slap. He lays out all the important foundational information that will help no matter what technique you decide to use.

I don’t understand what you mean here.

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“slap is a meme for beginners” basically means its wrong for people to start playing the bass this way, despite many people exclusively playing it with that technique. Kind of like learning flamenco guitar before anything else.

I loved Josh’s slap video as he actually broke it down into what it is better than anything else I saw. It got me accurately playing things I wanted to - but if your standard alternating technique is weak or equal to slap/pop, it seems to me the foundation is more important?

I think what i wanted read here is that I should try to avoid slap technique until im comfortable on the bass, but was curious if anyone had an interesting take on it.

It’s certainly fun, but I think I’m far to green to say “its my thing!”

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What’s going to keep you playing bass? Do that

Conventional wisdom only applies until it doesn’t

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Yes. But this is also supposed to be fun. If slap is fun for you, then slap away. If focusing on slap is getting in the way of progressing in the course, then maybe give slap a break for a while.

If you want a perspective of “best practices”, then focus on what Josh says to focus on and you’ll be at the slapping lesson in no time.

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Many people probably didn’t start out exclusively playing it that way - they probably got their foundational stuff down first. The role of the bass player is so different than guitar. In my opinion, you should put a lot of focus on learning that new role. One of the lessons that drove the point home in a huge way to me was Module 11, Lesson 2: Song for My Father by Horace Silver.

Then again, you are musically conscientious enough to question how you should be pursuing this, and you have goals in mind, soooo…

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The main reason people say that slapping is not for beginners is most of the slapping piece of music are solo and can be complicated and difficult but there are lots of music using slapping and not too difficult. Like this one.

If you really break it down slapping technique is no harder than anything else you have to learn, except for speed of course. Most of the notes value are shorter than finger style. Plus there’s only one main tone for slapping and popping just long, medium and short in duration, and you have to deal with more syncopated pieces of music than the more vanilla finger style for beginners.

Many tends to forget how hard it was at the beginning, it’s like driving stick shift, many things have to happen at the same time. If you were to start with slapping you’d have to learn about the same anyways. My friend’s kid started on a 5 string because his dad only have 5 strings. It was not any harder than anything else he would have to learn.

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thanks for the replies - and thank you for some added perspective. Nobody is “slapgod” that did nothing else, I’m pretty confident it’s a flavor technique that happens to be very popular due to its distinct sound.

Maybe nothing wrong with practicing accuracy of slaps and pops, but good to know it’s not really a core mechanic of playing the bass.

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@wrxloaf, you are best served learning the basics of bass playing. Rest assured that all “slap gods” had that stuff down, DOWN, before they ever slapped a damn string.

As an example from a different discipline, Picasso had mastered the painting techniques of the Dutch masters to a goddamn tee, and beyond, BEFORE he felt the urge/need to invent his own style of Cubism. It was the wealth of knowledge he had accrued in the classic techniques that gave him the foundation and the courage, his REASON, to break the rules and break new ground.

Slap isn’t going to disappear. It will always be there, waiting for you. So take this opportunity to learn the classic essentials of bass playing technique so you know where you came from before you decide where to go.

Just my take. You do what feels right. Peace.

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The one thing that learning an instrument did for me is instilling a sense of patience and humility in me. What I really want to do is play fusion and jazz, but after more than three years learning the bass, I am still playing these styles only in a very rudimentary kind of way, and still need to work on a lot on the basics (both technique-wise, but also with respect to learning the fingerboard, understanding harmony etc etc.)

For sure, you should pursue what you like and what is most fun for you, but - as everybody else has said - don’t forget the basics, as you will be thankful for having put in the time later down the road. Even slap is not just about the “slap and pop” - it’s so much also about the right muting techniques, as well as about hammer-ons, pull-offs, and ghost notes, to name just the most essential elements.

So, practice with a goal in mind, but don’t forget the basics! It is sometimes difficult to strike the right balance - you might get put off by too much “dry stuff” early on; but you might also get frustrated and quit when you hit the “wall” later on as you try to tackle more advanced material.

Hey, nobody said it was going to be easy :grin:

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You might also be surprised. I have some slap heroes and I assumed I would love slap myself. I… don’t. It’s a distant third on my technique list.

This surprised me. You might be surprised too.

What I would recommend is to do the first two or three modules of Brginner to Badass and then skip to the end and try the slap lessons to see what you think. Then decide for yourself.

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I don’t think avoiding any way of playing is good teaching technique. I avoided the pick, now I’m paying for it.

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I’ve come to really prefer picking over all other techniques. This is after doing the course purely fingerstyle, which is also valuable. I’d say I am about 60/40/0/0% pick/finger/slap/tap, preference-wise :rofl:

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I too am really digging picking.
That said, my hand injury seems to be giving me grief when holding a pick a lot. Thumb and index are right where i crushed my hand a whisker. Doesn’t seem to bother me when using fingers, just holding the pick - so was thinking need to resurrect my PT regime to loosen up my hand. Noticed it had fits when i was sanding the boards for my pedal stand too.

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When I first found Slap bass I was all in.
I say play and practice what you need to.
If you need to be in a band that needs an actual bass player, learn bass lines.
If you like the vibe and sound of slap bass and want to make cool YouTube videos, then do it.

The rules tend to exist to support real world music applications… pre YouTube.

YouTube has created real world music applications like ‘learn how to tap your favorite video game theme songs as a solo electric bass performance alone in your room’.
It’s weird, but there is definitely a demand and an audience for all kinds of bass stuff.
Do what you want, and make the sounds you want.
If you want to join a band in a traditional role, then you’ll have a reason to learn the more traditional stuff.

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I haven’t thought much of using a pick with all the satire about it. I’m using to alternate picking on guitar but when I apply it to bass it feels whacky.

It definitely gives a unique tone and allows you to play pretty quick, but losing my “anchor mute” is unsettling to me right now!

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I am attracted to slap as well, it’s awesome!
But I have not done more than what Josh teaches, mainly because one can’t slap all the time, even among the music that I listen to slap is sporadic… so I chose to get better at playing finger style and saved slap for later… every now and then I will slap and pop for a few minutes, just to create a bit of muscle memory and personal enjoyment… but if you have the time and will to tackle slap then have fun!

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I’m a pretty new bass player.
My band really doesn’t call for slap.
But I do bust it out and have fun when songs need extra crazyness.
I’d say, do the slap lessons but know that whoever you play with probably just needs a solid driving bassline.
My slap has no pop, yet. But man it’s fun!

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