This a good one for @JoshFossgreen or @Gio to look at.


Thanks again for the heads up, @eric.kiser.
Hail @phillyball!

I couldn’t download the vid. Sorry!
If there’s a way you can post it or host it somewhere I can stream it, I think that would do the trick.
I’d love to holler with savvy tips and input.


I think I’m just hung up on the actual sound I’m making in terms of the acoustics of where I live and my equipment etc. Thought it would be more of a melodic twang like Josh, to me it sounds more like a flat pop from the amp with the note sort of under it.


Thanks for going through that trouble!

OK. Now I can dig in.

First - the good stuff.
You’re getting sounds and some sustain! That is more than most of my students get in their early attempts. Enjoy that!

Things to work on -
Just keep going. Everything will get better with time time time. The muscle memory and technique that have to develop happen over time. It’s a positive feedback loop from you playing 1 million slap notes, and every time it’s a good one, your brain and arm and hand log a success, and try to repeat it. This hones and focuses over time and becomes your slap technique.

To work on specifically -
If you notice in Josh’s videos, he has the bass a bit higher so he can approach the strings from below. So his thumb is at a slightly raised angle - pointing sliiiightly up, towards his left arm/shoulder/sometimes chin.
If you can, try and make the adjustment to do this. It may mean raising your bass, raising your elbow, or adjusting your elbow a bit further from your body. Work with it, and see if you can match Josh’s pose a bit more.

Right now you have the thumb pointing down, and there are plenty of people who shred that way. It’s a legit choice, but it does limit a few things, so try the other way. If thumb-down is your jam, then -

Try this:
You have a nice release - you’re generally not holding the string too long/too much. I think you could improve the strike. A bit more oomph, or - if not oomph - quickness. Like a cobra strike. Like the Three Inch Punch (Kill Bill!). It’s quick, and it releases instantly on contact.

That’s a ton of stuff.
Holler if any is helpful, if none is, or if you find cool ways to find your sound that I don’t even get close to here. I love hearing about how people make their way in the world of bass.


@Gio I’ve seen where some slappers hit through the string coming to rest on the string below. Is this just their own style of slapping or is this something else completely?


That’s a style that allows for double-thumbing. Pretty common, trickier IMO. F Chopper Koga uses that style in her slap instruction DVD, and lots of other Japanese bassists seem to use that style here, I think it’s pretty commonly taught.


I figured the answer would come back to double thumb. Just checking to see if I was missing something.


Pretty sure you rest your thumb on the string below to have it in the starting position for the up stroke. Kinda similar to Josh’s see saw thing where bouncing your thumb off the string positions it for the down stroke.

:notes: Get up for the down stroke, everybody get up :musical_note: :notes:


Thumb can be
Ghost note
Double thump

lots of stuff you can use the thumb for after the initial strike, is how I understand it.


If you learned slap from this kick-ass (but tricky) slap bass book originally published in 1981, you would have learned all thumb-down style.
It’s cool what happens over time.
This book has killer grooves, by the way. The original had playalongs with a live drummer, which was an absolute treat since all other books had abysmal drum machine play along bits.


I’m hollering.
This is helpful for me.

The “just keep playing” part a bit frustrating as relatively to my learning progress in other areas this feels slow. Very slow. Slow af. Then again I am very likely not the only one. What was it again Josh said in the B2B course? It can take years to properly learn slap… I’m just used to getting more tangible results in a shorter time span and this makes it hard for me to keep the motivation up - apart from trying to juggle and organize what to focus on particularly. I noticed I keep slap completely out of my training practice by now because I don’t see or feel tangible results and at the same time it’s not what I currently need to practice in order play with others in general.

Any tips to keep my spirits up?
Or would you rather say I am making the right choice in that slap is not that important when I don’t have an immediate reason or motivation to learn it?


I hear your holler!
Yes, I know. It’s terrible to tell people: “just keep going!” as a helpful piece of instructional advice. It’s true, but it is qualified, and it entirely dependent on the student being able to adjust and keep themselves moving in the right direction.

So - I think that for those moments where the videos aren’t helping, and you’re frustrated with progress, and not sure what to do to help/improve - that’s a great point to book a private lesson. You’ve amassed a clear goal, you have tried other options, and you have a clear and focused handful of problems/questions to go over.
That way you can get singular feedback for what YOU are doing, and step away from the - by it’s nature - generic instruction of videos / forums.

But - also, if slap isn’t that important, than it may not be worth it.
Depends on where it sits for you.


Understood. No argument here.

At the same time I currently struggle with work/life balance. It was so much easier to go to 50% work than to go up to 100% again. 1-2 times a week band practice and trying to learn songs more than fills out my time. It got to the point where I sometimes deem it stressful. To add in another scheduled appointment that only makes sense if I put in time outside of the lesson just doesn’t fit into my time schedule at all.

I think I’ll book a private lesson when I reach the point of “man, I’m not really getting better/doing effective practice” in other areas too. Because in those I can see clear and rapid progress. That’s what I meant by “relatively to other areas” - I was talking about playing bass, just not slap.

Have to make up my mind about that I guess.
As Davie504 is the one who introduced me to bass it initially had a high value on my list of things to learn. Then I started learning to play bass and after reaching the slap module it kind of fell off the list of things to immediately work on. Right now my focus is on learning every song of the set list for our gig in November. That’s quite enough and I don’t need slap for it.


as far as the keep going thing goes, i personally have found that my terrible beginning slap technique is especially horrible when i first start to practice it and am concentrating on technique. when i start to get frustrated and say oh the hell with it and just play, it gets better. but at one point i was trying to do too many things all at the same time. i now concentrate on 1 or 2 areas (i am currently doing both talkingbass chord tones course and SBL fretboard accelerator). if i ever get done with both of these before dying of old age, i will do talk’s scales course next. long term i will get to specializing - chords, tap, slap, all that.


This was what I did. After B2B, I was highly motivated to continue, and relentlessly looked for any and every thing that could be helpful in any way.
With the insane amount of YT videos alone, along with publications from Amazon, and Apps galore promising to teach you the fretboard, ear training, rhythm training, etc…

I had a goal, and an idea of what I should learn first, second, concurrent, etc…but every site, every channel, every book…I start from the beginning, to find half if not all of the book was already covered in B2B, or that I need two more prerequisite books before following this one. And every channel on YT that has lessons, I start at beginner, well, how many beginner lessons can I take before I realize I can start 1/4 the way into intermediate, or something.
Can do one of two things. Figure it out on my own, chancing not figuring it out at all, or talk to somebody who knows, who can guide me in a direction that is good for me to get where I want to go.
That choice was easy to make, knowing that I know squat and make lots of bad decisions when left to my own devices.

Lessons are so much more then playing bass alongside somebody better then you for an hour, or 1/2 hour, or half day.
Lessons are where you figure out what you need to learn, what you. need to practice, where you need to focus more of your time learning in order to catch up to what you are doing well, and it is a chance to have honest critique on your progress, and somebody to tell you, “Ok, you got that , start doing this, and if you get thru that, start doing this”.
Books, videos can’t do that, Apps can to some extent, but in a general way that is not alway personal enough to make a big difference in your progress.

So, I can’t say enough good things about taking some private lessons. They don’t have to be 5 days a week, or 3x per week, or even 1x per week, the can be bi weekly, or monthly if time and money dictate. For me, the one thing they can’t be is never, my progress depends on semi regular check ins with my instructor, and I have taken away tons of great things from each and every one I have had.


I just started module 4 of 4 in Marks Scales Essentials. Great course, and I will jump right into the CordTones Essentials as soon as I finish the Scales.
I grabbed the All Access Pass to TalkingBass when it was available for a week about a month ago, so I plan to do his Slap, Walking, Sight Reading, almost everything he has to offer.

Tell me about the Fretboard Accelerator, ANY GOOD? How much and how does it work. I am starting to get more comfortable with the fretboard with the Scales Essentials course, of course, more comfortable is no where near master.


i just started. to be honest, i have been at it for a few weeks, but lesson one was basically memorize the cycle of 4ths on the fretboard. if you know all your notes, you could move on after a day or so. it’s taken me about a month to memorize all the notes. i am also concurrently trying to learn the notes on the fretboard anyways, because it would just make any lessons i take so much easier. it’s not cheap like all of SBL lessons i think, and enrollment for it is closed. pretty sure this is just a marketing gimmick and you will be able to enroll in it at some point again.


btw, you can do all those all access courses, but everybody including mark says you will not be able to do the sight reading course all access because the PDF downloads which you don’t have access to are pretty much the main part of that course.


Hmm, Maybe I can get @PamPurrs to print me off a copy, :pleading_face: :roll_eyes: :sunglasses:

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Mark does this thru Module 1 of the Scales. and we use both circles for practicing each lesson. It is ingrained in me now.

I know the sharps / flats for the notes of the C major scale and some others for the modes, and I can look at the fretboard and figure out where the notes are, but I don’t have it memorized yet.