During live performances of Those Damned Blue Collar Tweekers, Les does something with his hand when playing the bass during the refrain that I don't understand.

You can pretty clearly see it right about at the 2:16 mark on this Youtube recording of a show at Woodstock 94. Cross referencing this with online bass tabs, they claim each strum of his hand is only hitting the top two D and G strings on the instrument.

I'm new to bass, and I can't figure out what exactly he's doing. Is he doing a kind of open hand strum where he just hits the top two strings? Or is he doing some kind of glancing slap on the strings? Or is this just a showy way to pluck the two strings like most other bassists do it?

1 Answer 1


He is strumming the strings with the tops of his fingernails, similarly to how a flamenco guitar player would strum.

Here is a clip of a flamenco guitar player demonstrating this technique on an acoustic guitar.

This is mechanically similar to an aggressive strum with a pick, and might sound like a slap if the strings hit the fretboard hard enough.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.