The Thumb Slap

Welcome to lesson one of my Slap Bass Lessons.

Today, we're going to cover the Thumb Slap.

First, I want you to try to slap your bass using only your thumb. Make sure to hit the string so that the note rings out clearly and so that the first thing that you hear is a hard, crisp percussive slap.

Could you do it?

If you could, that's great!

However, not everyone can get a crisp sound right away. I know that I couldn't get a crisp sound at first until I figured out a few things about slapping the bass.

The main thing to know about playing slap bass is that you have to snap your wrist, not swing your arm. There are a lot of players out there who move their arms a lot, but most of them had to learn to play with less movement first.

As well, the vast majority of fast slap players out there don't move their arm as much as they move their wrists. To get an idea of this in action, you should check out both Victor Wooten and Alain Caron. Both of those guys are monster slap players!

If you want to get a good sound:

1. Make your hand into a loose fist like you're giving someone a thumbs up.

In order to get the best thumb slap sound, try to keep your thumb straight. This is to ensure that you get a crisp, snappy sound without as much of a risk of hitting other strings.

2. Try to keep your thumb parallel to the strings.

This makes sure that you get a better bounce off of the individual strings and a more percussive sound.

3. When you slap the string, use the joint of your thumb as a target of where to hit the string.

The joint is harder and will give a better sound than the tip of your thumb will.

4. Make sure to snap your wrist as soon as you hit the string.

You want to provide enough force with your thumb that the string will bounce off of your thumb and hit the frets or fingerboard of your bass and rebound.

Imagine as though you are bouncing a basketball. When you dribble, do you grab and hold the ball against the ground, or do you push a bit and then release the ball so that it rebounds off of the floor? You want to make it so that the string naturally bounces off of the frets and comes back to where your thumb was.

If you leave your thumb against the string too long, it may dampen the string to the point where it doesn't ring out at all. Try to hit the string and then bring your thumb back as quickly as possible.

Since I'm just covering the thumb slap today, try to get that down as solid as you possibly can first. When you feel as though you are ready to move on, you can move on to my page on Popping the strings.

Hey. You're halfway done learning how to Slap and Pop simple riffs. It isn't that hard now, huh?

If you still have any questions after this lesson, send me a message through my Contact Us page.

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