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SteveXFR

I don't like slap

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4 minutes ago, Barking Spiders said:

I'm surprised to find such antipathy among BCers towards slap.

Slap requires a degree of skill and dexterity, but it also needs like any 'lead' technique to be used to serve the song and to be done well.

Unfortunately it's become the bassist equivalent of the flashy guitar solo - often delivered with little regard for accompaniment and with more concern for speed and display than musicality.

This can lead to it becoming as hollow and soulless as rote jazz solos, meaning many people (only partly motivated by jealousy that they can't do it at all) conclude it's a waste of talent.

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Just now, Bassybert said:

Have just taken a look at a couple of Davie 504's videos on YouTube. Safe to say that will be the last time.

People like Davie 504, Charles Berthoud and Canadian guitarist Steve Terreberry are great players but unfortunately their attempts at wacky humour grate

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Is the issue here about actually disliking slap bass, or is it really about disliking slap bass YouTube demos? 

You never really see anyone say that songs like Forget Me Nots, or Peg, or Never Too Much suck because of the bass technique. 

Mark King and Victor Wooten always unfairly get named in these threads. Both these guys have done plenty of work where they just sit back and play without all the flash, but you won't find it on the 1st page on a YouTube search.

The suggestions that slap can't be melodic or creative is just laughable.

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Posted (edited)

Surely no one could object to this, with Marcus M changing from fingerstyle to slap n pop around 2.27. Restrained and tasteful I'd say

 

Edited by Barking Spiders

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15 minutes ago, Stub Mandrel said:

Slap requires a degree of skill and dexterity, but it also needs like any 'lead' technique to be used to serve the song and to be done well.

Unfortunately it's become the bassist equivalent of the flashy guitar solo - often delivered with little regard for accompaniment and with more concern for speed and display than musicality.

This can lead to it becoming as hollow and soulless as rote jazz solos, meaning many people (only partly motivated by jealousy that they can't do it at all) conclude it's a waste of talent.

I've never considered myself a complete bass player until I can slap to a competent degree. I still can't (currently attempting to learn Love Games and struggling). Probably an issue with being in thrall to it in the 80's.

 

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45 minutes ago, Barking Spiders said:

...I'm surprised to find such antipathy among BCers towards slap. I'm all for trying different ways a bass can be played rather than just sticking to pick or standard fingerstyle.  By writing off slap 'n pop as a method  aren't people limiting themselves?

It doesn't necessarily follow that 'new' or 'inventive' ways of playing a bass are good, although they can, all, be tried at least. It may produce some kind of music when attacked with a blow-torch, or dragged across the stage by the jack lead, but I doubt that these extremes would catch on and become mainstream. I'm not suggesting that there's no merit whatever in 'slap'n'tickle' or whatever, but I certainly don't rate novelty over standard playing styles. I saw a TV spot once, quite a while back, whereby two reggae top knobs were being 'showcased'. The drummer (maybe Sly Dunbar..? I forget...) started tapping on the bass strings with his sticks. Very novel, and both had wide smiles, but it was an awful racket, for nothing. Original (at the time...), but of no further interest.
Just sayin'. :friends:

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2 hours ago, Barking Spiders said:

As a fan of 70s/early 80s funk I'm a big fan of slap in funk but tone is everything. Slap with a clanky tone and it sounds shyte. My fave slap players are Larry Graham, Louis Johnson and Marcus Miller and no one's done it better than them IMO. I've no time for these professional YT fretwinkers like Davie 504 and Charles Berthoud however technically proficient they are. Slap in rock generally sounds bollix unless done like Bill Gould or Tim C. I've heard it on played on several metal songs and it sounds just plain bad though that's probably more because 99% of metal sucks.

My idea.   I love some good  slapping, but as jou mentioned, the sound is so important. I have just written a new bandsong with only slap bass. Rolled back the treble, engaged the discumbobulator and it sounds great. It really fits the song. The YT bass-acrobatics from Davie at al is not very musical. And you don't have to try to slap your strings through your bass. A gentle slap with a subtle pop can sound great and it sounds a little bit more percussive than fingerstyle. 

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50 minutes ago, Barking Spiders said:

People like Davie 504, Charles Berthoud and Canadian guitarist Steve Terreberry are great players but unfortunately their attempts at wacky humour grate

It's not their humour at all that puts me off, although the guy is definitely trying hard to find a niche and be cool, and that's fine if that floats your boat.

For me it's the whole thwackety, thwackety, thwackety (I tried to describe it as best I can!) slap thing at a million miles an hour that for me personally has no real musicality, it's almost an ego thing. I've always been drawn to players like John McVie, James Jamerson, Duck Dunn, Paul McCartney where serving the song is their mantra and the tone is wholesome.

I totally get a lot of slap players are technically proficient players, but seems like way more style over substance to me.

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1 hour ago, Bassybert said:

Have just taken a look at a couple of Davie 504's videos on YouTube. Safe to say that will be the last time.

You didn't slap like? 

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Funny, my immediate reaction to the thread was."nah, me neither" but that's not strictly true. Most slap you hear these days does tend to be the frenetic clattering & boinkety-boinking of the Youtube bedroom obsessives - but I have to remind myself that was pretty much me in 1985.

I spent months making my thumb bleed trying to work out what Mark King, Nick Beggs etc were doing, and got to the point I could ham my way through Mr Pink well enough to impress people who'd never actually listened to it. I've always played in rock/metal/prog bands so my attempts to shoehorn in a bit (at times a lot, to be fair) of sloppily executed clunking & pinging were misguided, at best. In the fullness of time (and possibly a smattering of musical maturity) I got bored & wandered off.

Like a few others here I'm partial to a bit of RATM, FNM, RHCP, have seen & been suitably jawdropped by Vic Wooten (spent an hour or ten trying to get my head around his double thumbing techique) and still own a copy of A Physical Presence - but slap is 99.9% off my musical radar & I don't expect I'll need to revisit it as a playing technique or a compositional element at any time soon.

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1 hour ago, Dad3353 said:

 The drummer (maybe Sly Dunbar..? I forget...) started tapping on the bass strings with his sticks. Very novel, and both had wide smiles, but it was an awful racket, for nothing. Original (at the time...), but of no further interest.
 

Even that's not original. Bob Haggart and Ray Bauduc did that back in the '30s with Big Noise From Winnetka

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9 minutes ago, Bassassin said:

Funny, my immediate reaction to the thread was."nah, me neither" but that's not strictly true. Most slap you hear these days does tend to be the frenetic clattering & boinkety-boinking of the Youtube bedroom obsessives - but I have to remind myself that was pretty much me in 1985.

I spent months making my thumb bleed trying to work out what Mark King, Nick Beggs etc were doing, and got to the point I could ham my way through Mr Pink well enough to impress people who'd never actually listened to it. I've always played in rock/metal/prog bands so my attempts to shoehorn in a bit (at times a lot, to be fair) of sloppily executed clunking & pinging were misguided, at best. In the fullness of time (and possibly a smattering of musical maturity) I got bored & wandered off.

Like a few others here I'm partial to a bit of RATM, FNM, RHCP, have seen & been suitably jawdropped by Vic Wooten (spent an hour or ten trying to get my head around his double thumbing techique) and still own a copy of A Physical Presence - but slap is 99.9% off my musical radar & I don't expect I'll need to revisit it as a playing technique or a compositional element at any time soon.

I used to play in a covers band and had a dep stand in now and again 

The guitarist said he used to do all kind of fancy slap stuff whilst tuning up but it didn’t blend very well when the band started playing their rock covers stuff

I think he’d of liked a slap bass solo in the middle of boys are back in town 😂😂😂😂

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To paraphrase/miss-quote Reggaebass from another thead.

Can I have all the JD Supernaturals that folks don't want!!!

 

 

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It has its place, there are certainly lots of songs where it works really well. But I think there are a lot of players who seem to see it as the ultimate measure of your ability as a bass player and focus on it entirely, neglecting and dismissing those that don't do it.

Also, to get that sound and do the insanely fast machine gun thing you have to lower your action to the point where nothing else sounds good (to my ears at least).

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20 hours ago, SteveXFR said:

Am I the only person who plays bass and generally hates slap?

No.

I don't slap. Sadly, iIt's a technique I've never got to grips with. The bucket of spanners falling down the stairs that is modern slap just leaves me cold, but I love the old "thumping and popping" that Larry Graham invented.

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Posted (edited)

Seen a few youtube videos of zoom effects and bass demo stuff by Patrick Hunter.... there is feeling the groove etc. then there's... whats that all about? - Oops... i hope he's not on here...

Edited by PaulThePlug

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, chris_b said:

The bucket of spanners falling down the stairs that is modern slap

That's an aptly visual quote 👍.

The thing that gets me about modern slap is that I don't see how the players can possibly believe that their intention in those intense slap solos is more about making music than merely showing off.

I have no doubt that slap requires talent in the same way as doing a hand stand while shaking maracas in ones mouth, but whether the listener believes it's musical is another matter. At some point in its history, slap crossed over from musical art to performance art.

Edited by TheLowDown
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I like slap bass but am not a slave to it.  Can't do it very well but that is neither here nor there. 

Here is one of many reasons why I like slap bass.  Can't imagine it would sound anything like as powerful without it.

 

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Posted (edited)

I started playing bass when slap was the technique to learn in the 1980's, and as rubbish as I am at it (and playing with a pick), I think it's still a valid playing style for bass guitar (although I'm aware that a different slap style exists for the upright). It either floats the listener's boat or it doesn't. Guys like Mark King, Marcus Miller, Flea, Larry Graham (of course), Alain Caron and a myriad of session players use it as and when required in the right setting. That's when it's at its most effective (yeah I know Mark King does it a lot, but people overlook how good his fingerstyle playing is - "True Believers", "Living it Up", "The Chinese Way" - all numbers that don't feature him slapping a lot).

100% agree that it's overdone when someone on YouTube uses it to demo gear - 99% of the time it's either going to be pick or fingers on a gig, so I wish these people would do that. I think I might have seen a couple of minutes of a Charles Berthoud video, and have never watched a Davie 504 one either (as soon as I see the thumbnail, I avoid). Sadly it turned into a "party piece", but with the lack of any great electric bass playing on most commercial records nowadays, the sound of a slapped bass (within the context of a song) would be most welcome...

Edited by louisthebass
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12 hours ago, Hutton said:

If a vid starts with slapping I immediately move on to the next video

Sometimes you don't need to play the vid at all.... it's all there in the still picture (my circles):2094597261_Thumbandface.PNG.431714e5bc0b046a89426dd1d1648acc.PNG

 

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23 hours ago, Stub Mandrel said:

Fine when it serves the song.

Embarrassing when it's an angst-fueled pop-tastic slap-fest...

STOP ATTACKING ME!

 

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I genuinely don’t get why someone would hate slap. It’s like saying you hate drums with toms or you hate the violin played without a bow, or even just like saying “I hate the sound of a picked bass“.  It’s all about the musical context.

Bass is part of the rhythm section & playing a good slap part that fits nicely with the drums is a thing of beauty. 
Yes, there’s many YouTube videos that sound like someone playing bedsprings with chopsticks, but there’s a lot of great stuff out there too.

All I can say is stop being a musical snob & open your mind. 

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, Stub Mandrel said:

Slap requires a degree of skill and dexterity, but it also needs like any 'lead' technique to be used to serve the song and to be done well.

Unfortunately it's become the bassist equivalent of the flashy guitar solo - often delivered with little regard for accompaniment and with more concern for speed and display than musicality.

This can lead to it becoming as hollow and soulless as rote jazz solos, meaning many people (only partly motivated by jealousy that they can't do it at all) conclude it's a waste of talent.

Hallelujah brothers and sisters. So with that in mind let's all please be upstanding and worship the true meaning of the words slap bass

Amen xxx

Edited by P-Belly Evans
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I think Davie 504 gets treated a bit unfairly around here - he's a great player with a very good ear, and some of his videos are quite creative - the bass with no strings one is great. If he's getting young kids into knowing what a bass is and how cool it can sound I think that can only be a good thing, and will hopefully lead to some of them picking up the bass. Yes, it's clickbaity, but that is the way of Youtube unfortunately, Scott Devine is a very serious educator, and even he has to make clickbaity sounding videos to maximise exposure. It's not like he's claiming to be a serious educator or forcing anyone to play machine gun percussive triplet slap over Mustang Sally, it's just a bit of fun. 

Perhaps we could encourage Davie to make videos that might go down better over here....

99.88% CAN'T tell what WOOD my bass is made of!!!!!

I change my FLATWOUNDS for the FIRST TIME EVER!!!!!

He says his WHITE pickguard has more MOJO than my TORT pickguard???????????

TRACE ELLIOT watts are 1000% HEFTIER than class D watts!!!!

 

 

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