Slip or Slap: part 1

I know there are a lot of people who visit my blog Best Of Bass from around the world. These posts in English are for you, hope you appreciate them!


In this post I’d like to give some tips about my way of working with the SLAP. I’ve been practising and teaching the slap technique for many years now, and this has enabled me to develop a clear and proven method to use and teach it.

I have received (and still receive) countless requests of information by students, professional musicians or just “normal” people who are interested in tips and tricks, for this reason over the years I have used the slap technique extensively (see for example my solo bass album Gestire lo spazio, Echoes 2008).

An important point to take into account when using the slap technique, is that the electric bass should be considered mainly as a rhythmic instrument and look like a drum rather than a harmonic instrument. In fact, I find it very helpful to imagine that I’m playing drums where the thumb (T) corresponds to the bass drum, the popping (PП e PV) corresponds to the snare drum and the ghost notes of the two hands (X) create the hi-hat sound.

In this regard I suggest that you watch my introductory slap video (Bass pills: video 1 Slap) in my bass school Youtube channel and the other related videos in my own Youtube channel.

In this post and in the next two ones, I’d like to analyse one of my most popular videos, its title is “Slip or Slap” and I recorded it a couple of summers ago. It is quite a complex analysis, therefore I have divided it into 3 posts with lots of exercises.

Let’s get started. First of all, watch the video!

Click here (Slip or slap) to open the PDF transcription of the main parts of this piece. Download and print it!! It shows the most relevant sections or points by means of numbers within boxes, while it skips other parts because somehow less interesting. For each point I have created a set of exercises to help prepare and develop the material that you find in the PDF.

A short note: this song was born as a solo bass dorian E improvisation to exploit the 6-string bass possibilities using specific grooves and mechanisms (by mechanisms I mean hand behaviour patterns).

Point 1

Figure 1

This is the main fragment of the whole impro: it is introduced at the beginning and reappears more and more times throughout the whole piece. The first feature of this fragment is the alternated use of the T (thumb), the cut X indicating a ghost note played by the left hand hitting all the strings without producing a specific note and the standard X symbol indicating the left hand thumb hitting a ghost note and the middle finger (V) popping the open G.

Here is a useful exercise to practise this mechanism.

Figure 2

Point 2

Figure 3

In this section I hammer on an open string where, after hitting the open string with the T, the left hand plays a note on the same string that was hit by the right hand. The result is a slur that can be used even on far apart notes.

This is an exercise to develop this mechanism.

Figure 4



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