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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?

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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.

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