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Back when I was taking lessons, I had an instructor who did a great job teaching me how to work tapping into my bass lines, but when we tried to expand it into developing slap bass I ended up getting hung on the mechanics, and couldn't work it in fluently. Are there any exercises I can use to get accustomed to proper form when slapping?

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3 Answers 3

This may sound silly, but it really worked for me: Whenever I was sitting down, I practiced bouncing my right thumb off of my right kneecap. I was going for a real bounce, not a whack (that hurt). At school, on the bus, watching TV---I practiced my slap technique all the time, even when I wasn't anywhere near my bass. Goofy, sure, but totally effective.

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i learned a similar way. the most effective "stand in" i found was a closed Coke can. I'd slap the top of the can; if you hit it right you get a nice slap sound - if you don't & hit the edges it hurts. –  Anonymous Jan 22 '11 at 6:18
    
I've used the top of my chair - if hit not accurate, it hurts –  VMAtm Jun 3 '11 at 5:41
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The trick to this, and any technique when starting is: practice slow.

Not the answer people like hearing, but there are studies that show that the way we learn is not dependent on speed, the pathways in our brain are linked up (which is what "learning" is on a chemical level) even if we repeat something slowly over and over. Read about how one of the most famous classical music camp shows kids how to practice slow here - http://thetalentcode.com/2009/03/30/meadowmount/

Also the trick to slap is the note that doesnt make a pitch, but is just a click or a percussive note. So there are three components:

  1. The thumb "slap"
  2. The pluck "pop"
  3. The dead/rhytmic/percussive/click/ghost note (people call it many different things but they are all the same)

You have to get all three happening to get slap going.

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What you could do is to get a book. Slap it by Tony Oppenheim is really good book and it starts you off from the very basics of slapping, so you can start with that book.

The new version of the book includes a Audio CD that has the exercises recorded. So, what I would suggest was that you practice the exercise,then record it (with some simple recording machine, not anything fancy), listen to it and then listen to the recorded example from the CD to see what you did wrong.

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