The other important part of slap bass is popping, or pulling on the string fairly hard. Please read my slap bass lesson before proceeding.
Put your index finger under the thinnest string (G) and pull it away from the bass. When you release you should hear a snapping sound along with the note.
That’s pretty much everything you need to know about basic popping. Combine it with slapping and you’ve got yourself some funky bass!
Example 1 (S is for slap, P is for pop)
Example 2, a slightly more advanced tab that will help you coordinate your left and right hand.
And finally, another example, with a slightly harder rhythm.
Keep trying different tabs and focus on writing your own material. A lot of slap bass has to do with using octaves on the bass guitar, start there.
Once you become a little more familiar with popping, try using you middle finger as a substitute on faster songs.
Practice until you’ve got it down, then take on more advanced songs like “Higher Ground” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Leave a comment below if you need help or guidance for bass guitar popping.
A less popular method of playing bass is to use three fingers, most often the index, middle, and ring finger. There are a few reasons why you would want to do this-
1. Play faster
2. Access to more strings at all times
3. The galloping technique
4. If you injure a finger, you can just switch to 2 finger technique
It’s exactly the same style as an earlier post, how to play bass with your fingers. Just add the third finger into the mix, starting slowly and building up speed.
Play the tab below to practice:
Next, try the galloping technique. It’s difficult to describe, you can listen for the technique in this video. Rhythmically play three notes quickly, take a tiny break, and repeat. Try out this tab:
Keep practicing and try to work it into any fast songs you are learning. Don’t get frustrated! Leave any questions or technique tips below.
Alternate picking is the first basic technique of picking you learn. It’s a combination of upstrokes and downstrokes, and made for ultimate speed.
A downstroke is when you push away from you, down onto the string. An upstroke is when you take the pick and brush it up against the string. Hold the pick firmly, but not so tight, otherwise your picking will be very uncontrollable.
Start by playing a downstroke on open E (the thickest string) and then pull the pick back up across the string with an upstroke. It’s really that simple.
Here is a tab taken from my how to play bass guitar with a pick article.
Now try on this riff- and focus on technique before speed!
Also look at some tabs or videos of your favorite band- I’m sure they use alternative picking some way.
If you have any questions, comments, or tips for other bass players to benefit from, leave that below!
Understanding and utilizing hammer-on’s and pull-off’s is critical for expanding your skills as a bass player.
Hammer-on: Where you have start by playing a note “lower” on the fretboard and then pressing down firmly with your left hand on a higher fret, without playing the second note with your hand.
The tab below is an example of a hammer-on. Notes that follow a “h” are hammered-on, notes with no preceding “h” are played by the right hand. Same goes for “p” and pull-offs.
Pull-off: The opposite of a hammer-on, where you are fretting a higher note and then “pull-off” the fret while holding a lower fret (or an open string.)
Hammer-on’s and pull-off’s are often found in bass guitar tabs and can help you play the riff with the exact same technique that the original player used.
Try out these tabs to practice hammer-on’s and pull-off’s.
This technique becomes easier the more you practice it. Don’t get discouraged and take some breaks if your want to or your hand is sore.
Any questions or comments should be left below!
Check this out first: How To Play Slap Bass: Part 1. So now that you know what slapping is, how do you do it?
Use the side of your thumb to strike the thickest string (E). Your thumb should make contact on the side of the knuckle and it should make a thumping noise. This takes lots of practice, just getting it to sound right.
Once you are comfortable with the E string, move up to the second-thickest string (A). I remember this part being very hard when I was initially learning slap bass. Don’t get discouraged, and continue practicing. After you can slap the E and A string, try the D and the G (G is the thinnest string).
Now, it’s time to build up your technique. Play the tab below and let the strings ring out. When you slap one string, it shouldn’t “mute” the others! It is important to establish dexterity and accuracy. No sloppy playing allowed.
Next, try this tab out. It uses octaves, like many popular slap bass riffs.
Awesome. Now, continue practicing and try learning some different songs that have slapping in them, or write your own material. You’re well on your way to becoming a well-rounded bass player. Keep practicing.
Any questions? Comments? Let me know below!