#1
I am having trouble with popping the bass strings. I can slap them fine but when I try to pop them I can't. Any Help would be appreciated greatly.
#2
Slap and pop are a hand coordination skill, like almost every other playing technique. Experts make them look easy, but they are not. Without seeing your present technique, it is rather difficult to tell you where you need to apply your training efforts.

Full disclosure here: slap and pop are not my strong suit. I was never into it very much, and I think it is the single most over-used technique in electric bass. Go to a wedding someday and you'll probably see some idiot bassist slapping and popping like Bootsy Collins in full funk mode during the bride and groom's slow dance. You'll see what I mean.

Now that we've gotten that out of the way, what you probably need to work on is the coordination between the slap and the pop. The pop should be an extension of the slap; that is to say, a slap and pop should be one continuous and fluid movement. How so? Well; it's like this: when you slap a string, you have to pull your hand away from the strings in order to get some distance to slap the next one. That motion where you move your had back away from the strings is your pop "window." By "window," I mean that is your window of opportunity to get off a good pop without sounding choppy. As you naturally pull your hand back, you want to hook the "pop" string with one of your fingers. Most people use their index finger.

Try practicing a simple "slap" strike and "pop" on the "G" string. Just use open strings so that you can concentrate on technique. See if you can slowly slap a string and then without massively repositioning your hand, catch that "G" string on the way back with your index finger. It will seem choopy for a while, as you develop fluidity. You'll also want to work on not "popping" so hard that you practically tear the "G" string from the bass. Remember: the pop is going to be a lot louder than the slap, so a subtle, gentle pop technique is essential or else you are going to sound hopelessly off-balance.

There are plenty of free videos on YouTube that will show you the proper technique and provide you with some simple exercises to build up coordination, speed and fluidity. It will be as frustrating as hell in the beginning, but if you stick with it and PRACTICE SLOWLY, you'll nail it in no time. Then you can take it to Larry Graham-like levels if you wish.

Just don't become that asshole bassist at the wedding who doesn't know when to put the slap and pop away, OK?

Good luck! You'll nail it.
"Maybe this world is another planet's hell?" - Aldous Huxley
Last edited by FatalGear41 at Mar 19, 2013,