BASS GUITAR SLAP

Techniques of playing the bass guitar.Slap.

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One of the techniques of playing the bass guitar is a “Slap”. The name of this technique quite specifically characterizes this modality of playing a bass line.

Iíve heard a story about the origin of this technique (not sure if it’s true): once, in one famous jazz band, the drummer did not come to the rehearsal, then the contrabass player began to play his part by extracting sounds from hitting with the fingers of the right hand on fretboard. The result was a simulated percussion instrument with simultaneous sounding bass line.

The technique of playing by slapping became widely spread with the advent of the bass guitar. In the seventies a brilliant jazz trumpeter Miles Davis in search of new sounds experimented with his new band. As a result of these experiments, a new direction in pop music was appeared- jazz-rock. Davis invited to his band young, talented bass guitarist Marcus Miller, a virtuosic bass player which used the slap technique. The rigid, funky bass line, organically blended into the new concept of music by Miles Davis.

Now there are many subtleties in the SLAP playing techniques. Itís better to start with a simple things. Right hand located as a continuation of fretboard , fingers slightly bent, like you are holding an apple in your hand. The hand movement is similar to the movement of the hands working with a screwdriver. Right, left. Playing an octave.


Phalanx of the thumb hits the lower note, by the forefinger (the finger tip) we pinch off the top note (like reset), step by step, exactly and methodically. Preferably in a duet with a metronome. Playing exactly, quarter, eighth, sixteenth. Then two notes at the bottom, two at the top. Further for three, for four.

Pay attention: playing at the top few notes should “pinch off” in turn by the index and middle finger. There are musicians who use a ring finger. Sometimes use the thumb to both sides, according to the principle of the mediator.

There are no strict rules in the new intake of playing, remains scope for invention of something new, original. In the left hand there are notes that sound, and there are “deaf”. In music notation on paper are denoted by a cross. Such notes imitate the beat of percussion instruments. The virtuosic alternation of such notes in an intricate rhythmic pattern gives the uniqueness of the sound of “slap” techniques on bass guitar.

There are many video, audio and music schools dedicated to the “slap” techniques. I advise you to watch, listen and play as much as possible. Every bass player interprets this technique in his own way. To get your own unique sound you have to process huge amounts of musical material. Many hours of individual lessons, preferably in an ensemble with a drummer. Patience and work. Good luck on the waves of modern music!

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