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Idiot Proof Beginner Slap Bass

Can’t slap? Do these 7 drills and you’ll have a solid slap bass sound in 20 minutes.

Drill #1: Slap the Table
Drill #2: Notice the Thumb
Positioning: Thumb Down vs. Thumb Up
How to Position for Thumb Down
How to Position for Thumb Up
Drill #3: Slap the Bass
Drill #4: Relax the Thumb
Drill #5: Nail the Accuracy
Drill #6: Cross the Strings
Drill #7: Mute the Notes

Kick-Ass Slap Takes Time

Us bass teachers LOOVVEEE teaching slap bass… but we get wayyyyy too excited and cover too much stuff at once. (including my dumb ass)

So in this slap bass lesson we’re cutting out all the fancy frills, and doing 7 basic drills that cover EVERY F**KING DETAIL that’s causing you problems with your slapping.

The first thing you need to know about slapping - it looks like it’s all about the thumb, but it’s really all about rotating the forearm. I’ll walk you through this in detail with lots of close-ups of my dumb banana tattoo.

Thumb-up versus thumb-down: the age-old style showdown of slap bass. Lots of famous bass players use thumb down (Flea, Fieldy, P-nut, Kiyoshi) and thumb up (Marcus Miller, Rhonda Smith, Louis Johnson, Mark King), so there’s not really one right answer. In the video I’ll talk you through two reasons why I prefer the thumb-up technique.

So what makes a good slap bass sound anyway? I’ll break down the two elements of a good slap sound - note and percussion - and show you how be your own slap bass doctor, so you can diagnose what kind of issues you’re having. (and how to fix them)

Once you’ve got your basic technique dialed, I’ll walk you through drills to get good accuracy and tone on all four strings, and get some practice string crossing. We’ll also play along with Faith No More (We Care A Lot), Deep Purple (Smoke on the Water), Nirvana (Smells Like Teen Spirit), and Sly and the Family Stone (Everyday People).

Slap bass is a complex technique that takes time to master. So be patient, go as slow as you need to go to not f**k up your technique, and in time you’ll be slapping along with the pros.

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Thanks for watching my weekly lesson here at Musicians Unite, check back next week for another lesson.

-Josh Fossgreen



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