Popping D with Index and G with Middle?

Hello!

I recently started the pop section of the Beginner to Badass course and oof, that index finger pain. Slapping is a big reason I wanted to get into bass so I didn’t want to let the finger pain stop me from practicing.

I remember learning that Flea pops with his middle finger so I started experimenting with that and it feels pretty good! But exclusively popping with that finger would quickly lead to the same pain as with the index. I started to play around with spreading the hurt around by popping the D with my index and the G with my middle and it feels pretty good! Slapping thumb up seems to naturally have those fingers hovering over those strings and using two different fingers also seems to help my pop accuracy.

Wanted to get more experienced folks’ thoughts on this technique. Am I developing a bad habit due to impatience or do you think this is a viable approach to popping?

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@JoshFossgreen and/or @Gio usually ask for a video to make it easier to give recommendations. Is this something you could upload?

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Hey @Roy and congrats on getting into the popping section of the course.

So, to answer your question, I’m going to say No, it’s not a problem. I pop with my index, middle, and sometimes ring finger at this point. It’s faster to pull off a sequence of pops with two fingers than one, but you make sure you’ve put the work in to nail the tone first, and not feel obligated to work with other fingers until later.

What you’ll come to find that’s important with slap bass, is this little “swivel” – it’s like a see-saw motion your hand will need to develop if you’re going to slap fast and pop to keep up. Thumb comes down to slap, then when it goes back up as you turn your wrist, the index finger comes down in a position where it could pop a string.

Ask yourself:

  1. Do my popped notes sound right?
  2. Is this still allowing ease of “swivel”?

Check both boxes off and you’re doing fine. My “see-saw” has had several months of practice and I can pretty readily pop a note with multiple fingers on the downswing – others may not find this to be the case and prefer to only work with one finger when popping. Also fine.

And welcome to the right-hand pain portion of bass mastery. If you thought you knew blisters from fretting, just give it a few weeks of popping. Blisters on blisters, my friend. Grab some band-aids now (and a pick, so you can still practice through the sore fingertips)!

Best wishes!

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The B2B slap part is a tiny intro to slap.
If this is something you are really interested in, I’d reco talkingbass.net slap course. It’s really good and much deeper.

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I’m alllll about that technique.

I love this approach as it gets both fingers flexible and capable with popping, has a comfortable string split, and - if you play the same way but gently - lends to some very nice fingerstyle technique as well.

Also, +1 to the check list that @chordsykat listed above.
If it sounds good and your Teeter-Totter forearm movement is happening, you’re in great shape.

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Thanks for all the great insight everyone! I’ll keep on keepin’ on with this technique. Bonus: Popping with your middle finger looks really cool :sunglasses:

Also, I love how you can slap/pop and actually hear yourself without being plugged in!

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When I was doing the slap modules with headphones on my wife would make me stop because it was too loud unamped :slight_smile:

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I actually bought Mark’s slap course during the sale and have been slowly doing it alongside Josh’s lesssons :slight_smile:

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Good idea… eventually I’ll do this :smiley:

Cool, what that course taught me so far is my fretting hand sucks at muting properly, and that is what (along with wanting to play with a pick at times) has pushed me to live lessons with an instructor.

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So funny you mention that. I’ve had the exact same thought several times in the past week

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I agree with @Gio and @chordsykat above! Good to have em both as options.

Although, to add a #bassteachercaveat - it would be cool to be able to use either/both fingers on any string. Like if you ever wanted to do a quick double pop on a G string note, you’d need to be comfy using both fingers on that string. But doing sequential double pops is a slightly different technique you have to learn anyway, so I still don’t think what you’re doing is a “bad habit” you’ll have to fix later.

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