Teeter Totter technique?

I can’t seem to get the slap teeter totter technique down. I know how to slap through the string, but i have trouble if i try to bounce the string and keep my thumb near the string like josh explained in the slap video. If i try to to bounce my thumb on the string my thumb either stays on the string which makes a ghost note or my entire hand moves away which ruins the position for a natural pop. Wdid?


I think I know what you’re referring to. For me it was just always paying attention to what muscles I was using, how loose I could hold the hand in position for thumping without tensing up etc… Took quite a bit of time for me as I’m usually quite a tense person :joy: But I’d say focus on the technique/feel first and worry about accuracy once you’re more comfortable with getting the right attack


Tbh slapping through the string as you do is something I haven’t really practised at all! Something to add to the list… :grin:

1 Like

If I understood @JoshFossgreen correctly, the bounce that Josh teaches is better for when your doing the slap/pop teeter totter. The slap through got its start for doing dubble thumb style slapping.

Just two different techniques. Both are nice to have in the toolbox.

I do recommend sticking with the bounce style slap for the lessons rather than trying to force the slap through into the mix.

Yeah it’s the bouncing i’m struggeling with… any tips?

1 Like

Nothing I know of other than repitition.

It’s like most other precise physical activities. The more you do it, the more your brain and body learn to work together. Like the feeling when you make contact with a baseball pitch using a bat, throw a spiral with a football, or land a kick flip on a skateboard. When you get the right slap bounce, you’ll feel it and that puts you one step closer to being able to hit it when you want. I hope that makes sence. I dont know a better way to describe it.


Have a look at this explanation: Slap bass - #34 by kristine

Also - I get sooo stuck when I try to slap through. I think you should feel free to start with your own technique.

And, I only tried “Thumb through”+“teeter totter” for like twenty seconds - but to me it seems you need to pay attention to how you lift the hand on the pop. Think of where the back/outside of the hand points after you pop the string up: does it point to the floor, or towards your body? What feels better to you? What’s more movements in total, so after you return to a thumb? Go slow, pick one and see if you can do the exercises.


PS: I’m not a slapologist, so please take this as good natured advice by a fellow beginner. :slight_smile:


The best tips are the ones in the video.
My favorite exercises from Josh are the loose arm shake dealio. It’s really important to remember to stay loose and relaxed.
The problem you’re describing almost always happens when people are really thinking and trying to make their thumb do something.
Your thumb doesn’t do anything. You just bang your hand at the bass and the thumb is the inanimate object that hits the string.

I’ll have some students make a fist and put a pen or pencil in the fist.
Then try and slap the bass with the pen/pencil. Trying to convince them to stop trying to do things with their thumb. Their thumb is the pencil!

Playing on a table top is good too - just a loose hand bouncing off of the wood.
It’s the same mentality and motion.

Another experiment you can do is have on a show/movie that you love, and have your bass (not plugged in) ready to play in your lap. Just practice slapping the open strings with your thumb without paying attention or trying. Keep it in the background of your brain, and see if you can trick your hand into relaxing by focusing on something else.

Holler if any progress gets made!
This teeter-totter move is so damn tricky, and I’ve spent months with students just trying to get a good thumb sound. Don’t think it’s easy, don’t think you should be able to do it right away. But keep trying, try some different approaches and hopefully it will come together.