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What have you got against slap bass?

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I know there are lot of BCers who say they hate slap bass  but don't say why. For my money at the highest level it's the most challenging technique to master. Is it because haters don't like funk and so have a thing against slap n' pop or have they only heard it in rock songs where it might be inappropriate? Is it because they've heard it  (badly) overplayed in guitar stores? Thing is most well known players (within the bass world) have different approaches e.g. Marcus Miller's style differs from Louis Johnson's so it's understandable if people like one player's approach over another's.

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Again, nothing.

I won't speak for all bass players but it's the way slapping is used to 'test' a bass in a shop or at a guitar show. The whole look at me, I can slap really fast. It's not an accurate demonstration of what the bass can really do. 

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To my ear, slapping is not a pleasant sound; that's it. I've got nothing against funk.

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I love a good bit of slap. It sounds like you are better than you are.

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I don't hate it. What I do find, personally, is that I recognise it is an 'important tool' and should be explored but, when I will have spent a million hours perfecting it, I will be left with the ability to impress other bass players and play music I dislike. Like most bass players, I am impressed with the 'juggling' aspect of the technique but, unlike some of you, I have no real use for it. I respect players who can do it but see no need to spend time with it myself. 

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Nothing, though I can only stand so much of Mark King at one time. Don't think I've ever managed to listen to a whole Level 42 album right through in one sitting. 

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I think it is nice as an accent, or in a song, but it is harsh and tiring to listen to when used all the time. Pretty much like talking in capitals would be!

I would also say it isn't the hardest technique to master, it is just another techniqie.

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2 minutes ago, Woodinblack said:

I think it is nice as an accent, or in a song, but it is harsh and tiring to listen to when used all the time. Pretty much like talking in capitals would be!

This!

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Nothing wish I could do it Correctly . Just think it gets over used which ruins it's impact when it's  required. Hats off to them that can.

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The 'sound in my head' is the sound of bass as played while I was growing up, which encompasses everything from Elvis to Yes and incorporates LOTS of Beatles and Stones, Motown and glam.

So that's double bass, Hofner Violin and Rickenbacker, and loads of Fender. Keyboard bass doesn't work for me, synth bass is an abomination, and slap bass is pretty much a joke, a party trick that got out of hand.

To my ears, slap isn't bass playing and never will be. It's part of the rhythm section, yes, but it's a part that I try to avoid. It's in the same category as too much cowbell or obsessive use of claves.

Hey ... you asked me, OK? :D

If I'd been borm in 1966 rather than 1956 then who knows, maybe I'd see (and hear) things differently.

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It’s impressive in a solo context but if your doing all that in a band then the actual function of a bass instrument (bottom end - tying everything together) isn’t there, so either another instrument has to do it (in which case I’d rather be playing that instrument), or its missing and the music sounds like your listening to it on a phone speaker...

I exclusively played slap bass for the first 5 years or so of my bass playing career until I became too old for it to make up for my looks when trying to impress girls at parties.

 

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Used tastefully it’s fine and can be musical.

Dont mind the slap, don’t mind the compensatory fret hand muting and slap, it’s the non note muted pop which just sounds like a fly getting fried in a coil constantly ringing out. I know it’s suppose to represent a snare type sound, but it does not have the depth to it.

If the song needs it - cool like Infectious grooves Punk it Up, RATM take the power back, or for a fill it’s fine like Car wash as everyone looks for it, Level 42 lessons in love is fine.

Horses

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37 minutes ago, Steve Browning said:

I can't do it.

I doubt that I can either, but I haven't tried, it doesn't feature in any of the music I play.

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14 minutes ago, CamdenRob said:

It’s impressive in a solo context but if your doing all that in a band then the actual function of a bass instrument (bottom end - tying everything together) isn’t there, so either another instrument has to do it (in which case I’d rather be playing that instrument), or its missing and the music sounds like your listening to it on a phone speaker...

Wasn't that Level 42's dirty little secret - Mark King's slap basslines often had to be doubled up using a synth or suchlike in order to bring back the missing bottom end?

Personally, quite like slap in the right place, but can't play slap to save my life - slow synapses or something. And get fed up with it being over-used in every single bass demo video ever...

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There are places where slap is just right, but in the music I enjoy most they're quite infrequent. The funk styles that I feel most strongly are largely fingerstyle. So I guess I just think of it as a strong flavour that some people badly overuse; sometimes nothing else will do, but more often I hear people cramming it in where it didn't need to be.

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Fair enough people, that's what I wanted to know. Funk is a fave genre of mine though there are many songs I think could've been improved if slap had been used instead of fingerstyle, to give them some welly. E.g  Hollywood Swinging by Kool and the Gang and Get Down Tonight by KC and the Sunshine Band.  Of course there are other tunes where fingerstyle is the best method such as on Tower of Power's What Is Hip. Slap wouldn't work there at all.

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Slap fits just right in some songs. Red Hot Chilli's for example. Aeroplane just sounds right with that slap passage.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, ClassicVibes said:

Again, nothing.

I won't speak for all bass players but it's the way slapping is used to 'test' a bass in a shop or at a guitar show. The whole look at me, I can slap really fast. It's not an accurate demonstration of what the bass can really do. 

This pretty much sums it for me - Slap bass makes up a tiny percentage of actual bass use in music, yet it's almost  always the first thing I hear/see when I see someone demoing a bass and that tinny, percussive sound isn't something that sits well with my ears. Fair enough it's a tough technique to master and respect to those putting the hours in, but it's not something I choose to listen to music wise much at all, I actually want to hear some bass frequencies!

A lot of the time for me it's the bass equivalent of some technique obsessed guitar player showing off their licks and saying look how much faster I can play than you, rather than serving the song.

Edited by Bassybert
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Love the slap and always did. Still tend to use it a bit for effect - it's just another sound.

This forum gets itself tied in knots over it in exactly the same way as "who needs more than 12 frets", "the fender precision is the only bass I will ever need" and Jaco was just tuneless noodling.

Also, if your bass doesn't supply enough bottom end when you slap it, you're not doing it right, you're using the wrong bass or you've not set up your sound properly.

Forgive me basschat - I'm just in that sort of a mood today! :)

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If it fits the song, great, it works exceptionally well -  imo - in Ashes to Ashes by Bowie, and This is Not a Love Song by PIL, two artists where slap-bass may not be expected.

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Aside from Guitar shops, the one place where I rarely hear slap played will is during the inevitable bass solo. Sure, you can see the guy's hands moving up and down the neck but the notes never seem to change - it's just a mish-mash of thumps and pops with no musicality. (granted there are a handful of well played and musical slap solos BUT not enough to make up for the Dross)

Outside of soloing and shops I have no issue with slap played well so long as it supports the song. 

n.b. I have dozens of albums by Stanley, Victor, Marcus et al but they rarely get played nowadays as I've gradually lost interest in bass soloing. 

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2 minutes ago, jacko said:

Aside from Guitar shops, the one place where I rarely hear slap played will is during the inevitable bass solo. Sure, you can see the guy's hands moving up and down the neck but the notes never seem to change - it's just a mish-mash of thumps and pops with no musicality. (granted there are a handful of well played and musical slap solos BUT not enough to make up for the Dross)

Outside of soloing and shops I have no issue with slap played well so long as it supports the song. 

n.b. I have dozens of albums by Stanley, Victor, Marcus et al but they rarely get played nowadays as I've gradually lost interest in bass soloing. 

IMO the best example of how to play a tasteful slap bass solo is by Louis Johnson on the Brother's Johnson's Stomp. It's to the point, it's not excessive and it's played with skill and taste.

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Good slap is a valid and effective technique. Bad slap is "circus bass", just pointless tricks and noises. So good slap works in the context of the song. Bad slap is usually someone showing how clever they are in a solo.

My first attempt at slap came when I first heard Thank You by Sly and the Family Stone. I have to admit,  my efforts since have been pretty half hearted. I haven't had much incentive, I've never been asked to slap in any band and none of the bass players in the other bands I see use slap. One singer even thanked me for not slapping! Slap (tapping, chords and harmonics) are totally missing in the musical world I inhabit.

Two months ago I had such high hope for my technical improvement during lock down, and all I've done is play stuff I know. Maybe I should get the Jazz out and start learning "good" slap.

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