Slapping On Bass Guitar. Part 3 - Muting

First, let's talk some more about muting. (Did I mention that muting is about the most important thing in the slap and pop style? ) Last time, we did an octave slap and pop and let the notes ring. Let's clean up the sound now, by lifting the fretting finger after the slap or pop.

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Slapping on Bass Guitar Lesson #3 ================================ OK, you guys should be real good with the octave slap and pop, the pop and mute, and the slap, hammer, slap mute, so we'll get into some combinations today. First, let's talk some more about muting. (Did I mention that muting is about the most important thing in the slap and pop style? ) Last time, we did an octave slap and pop and let the notes ring. Let's clean up the sound now, by lifting the fretting finger after the slap or pop. You can either wait until just before playing the next note, thus holding the notes and making a long tone (legato) or you can stop the note quickly, making a short tone (staccato). Both sounds have their uses, but let's have you work on the staccato now. Play the same octave pattern we discussed last time (fifth fret of A string, seventh fret of G string), but instead of letting the notes ring, let up on the pressure almost immediately after you slap or pop, making each note a short tone. Just let up enough to stop the note from ringing. Don't actually take your finger off of the string. Again, set your metronome for a slow tempo, and make this sound good and clean.
     S = short tone                          O     O     O     O
                                            ---   ---   ---   ---
   S S S S S S S S              __
|----7---7---7---7----|     |--/--\------------------------------
|.-------------------.|     |  \   | .
|.-5---5---5---5-----.|     |------|-----------------------------
|---------------------|     |      / .
   S P S P S P S P          |-----/-------O-----O-----O-----O----
                            |    /
     S = Slap               |---/--------------------------------
     P = Pop                |
                            |------------------------------------
Once you feel comfortable with that, let's add in that slap, hammer, slap and mute pattern we learned in lesson one. Stay at the same position. Slap two octave patterns starting at the fifth fret on the A string then slap the A string and hammer on to the seventh fret. Slap the open E string, then mute. Start up your metronome again and play this pattern, with all slaps occurring on the beat, and the pops, hammers and mutes occurring in between. Remember, we're still using quiet mutes. We'll get into slap-mutes in the next lesson.

                 O     O
                ---   ---
    __
|--/--\------------------------------------------|
|  \   | .                                       |
|------|-----------------------------------------|
|      / .                   O                   |
|-----/-------O-----O-----O----------------------|
|    /                                           |
|---/--------------------------------------------|
|                                                |
|------------------------------------------------|
|                                                |
|                              -O-               |
|                                                |
|             S  S  S  S  L  L  L M              |  S = Short tone
|----------------7-----7-------------------------|  L = Long tone
|------------------------------------------------|  M = Mute
|-------------5-----5-----5--7-------------------|
|-------------------------------0----------------|
              S  P  S  P  S  H  S  M

              S = Slap
              P = Pop
              H = Hammer on
              M = Mute
Now, let's add a little movement to this line. Start the pattern on the fourth fret of the A string. Slap and pop one octave pattern, move up to the fifth fret of the A string, slap and pop an octave and then slap and hammer on the A string and slap and mute on the E string. Start slow and keep it clean!

                bO     O
                ---   ---
    __
|--/--\------------------------------------------|
|  \   | .                                       |
|------|-----------------------------------------|
|      / .                   O                   |
|-----/------bO------O-----O---------------------|
|    /                                           |
|---/--------------------------------------------|
|                                                |
|------------------------------------------------|
|                                                |
|                              -O-               |
|                                                |
|             S  S  S  S  L  L  L  M             |  S = Short tone
|----------------6-----7-------------------------|  L = Long tone
|------------------------------------------------|  M = Mute
|-------------4-----5-----5--7-------------------|
|-------------------------------0----------------|
              S  P  S  P  S  H  S  M

              S = Slap
              P = Pop
              H = Hammer on
              M = Mute
Once you feel comfortable with that, try holding the slapped and popped octave notes for the whole duration (eighth notes) and see how this legato style changes the "feel". The legato notes should almost seem to drag. Playing staccato keeps things moving. Then, try playing the slaps as long tones and the pops as short tones. (I think this sounds best of all. ) Also, try letting the last slap on the open E string ring. This sounds good at the end of a phrase or song. Experiment, and have fun. Lastly, here's a simple pattern for you to play. See if you recognize it. HINT: it's part of a theme for a TV comedy show
Staccato:
|------5---------|---------------------|
|----------------|---------------------|
|---3------------|----1--2--3--3--3----|
|----------------|---------------------|

35 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    zaadsoldaat
    hi im from holland :d i play bas since a month and got a blister problem but you really helped me out thank great job
    lovett1991
    another great lesson...atfirst i got a bit bored with the oters now this is tunrning into a funky tune copmletely changed the way i used to play slap if you play it fast and mutethe notes really quickly it sounds really sweet!!! and i must agree flea is an amzing player and i hope to be able to play some of his slap stuff one day!!!
    NoDeadHeroes
    This really helped me out alot. Able to become more versatile, and soon become a very fast player
    gm jack
    When is part 4 coming out (or where can I find it if it is already out)? I can see this was in 2003, so little chance of a new one however.
    jimmy, the one
    best bassist slapper is victor wooten. He's been voted it three years in a row. He learned the bass when he was 2 by his brother. 2!!!!!
    luganbass32
    thanks man i kinda already taught myself to slap and pop but my dad who is also a bass player kept sayin that my pop sound was annoying and stuff this just helped clarify that my slap was fine but i was pullin up too hard so i got a crappy sound so thnx man pretty easy slap and pop song is cant stop by rhcp
    Ugene
    Flea is an awesome slap bass player. Once you get his style, you can play most of the slap on any of the songs, because its mainly just a few notes, but with a lot of dead once and a lightning speed pace.
    makata
    Another great slap bassist you should dig is les claypool from primus...try to listen to his piece entitled "the awakening".....=)
    cooltapes09
    Great job! I was learning "can't stop"(RHCP) b/c my band was gunna cover it, but I sounded like crap. After reading through this, I'm beginning to improve. thanks
    Table Salt
    "Can't Stop" isn't AS easy as everybody thinks when they start to include all of the mutes.
    megadeth45
    i already was a good slapper b4 this but i checked it out 2 see if there was nething i was missing and u totallt helped me out with that
    chad120
    hey thanks for the lessons they really help! and the night court theme at the end was great haha
    pattybuns
    if you play it all together sort of swing style above 100 bpm it sounds really sweet
    Sharpfluffy
    It seems that I got the slapping and popping down relatively well, but my strings continually hit the frets and make a metallic dead noise. Please help me. I just started bass, and this might be a dumb question, but why does it do that? I really want to learn this slapping and pooping after watching Flea (RHCP) so PLEASE HELP!
    SocietyZer0
    thank you for clarifying who flea is, or i wouldve never guessed hes from red hot chili peppers!
    DohntA
    You need to practice for ages to perfect the technique, and with that comes the blisters, but hey, play on and youll get tougher...
    BarryAngel
    lol where is tt secret tune from?? which sitcom?? i cant figure it out any1 out there can tell me?? y dun u put the enire tune there so we can show off haha like friends for example...
    MoshkI
    quit the pick..start slapping! btw...alex katunich of incubus is a good slapper...listen to their album SCIENCE... whew i guess practice make you slap n bleed...
    tetsuma
    jesus crist i tought myself slap without really knowing how and i never bled and i can slap and pop almost as fast as dirk lance (alex kantuinch) from incubus could
    basspunk1823
    when i was starting out i played bass with a pick because lots of my favorite bassists did (mike dirnt of green day, hunter of afi, etc.), but once i started listining to red hot chili peppers i wanted to be able to play fingerstyle and slapstyle too, and this lesson series helped alot. THANX!!!