Canadian Musician


Jason Raso

Slap that bass?

The “slap & pop” technique can be a real hot button topic for bassists. Some players hate it. Some players love it. Some players secretly love it. Some players are trapped by it. Some players think that if it’s slapped it must be funky, and some players think if it’s slapped it couldn’t possibly be funky.

Like it or not, the technique is here to stay. It’s been around for over 40 years now!

I’ve always thought that success with the technique really comes down to the player. I’ve always been drawn to players with a variety of techniques. (fingerstyle, slap, tap, palm mute etc.) For me the more options the better. Even Marcus Miller doesn’t slap ALL the time! Technique is really the means of expression. Hopefully, you have something of value to say with your music. Larry Graham isn’t funky because he slaps. He’s funky because he’s Larry Graham. I love his fingerstyle lines as much as his slap lines.

This debate often leads to another question. What is funky?

It’s really a matter of personal taste. If I filled a room with 10 bass players and for them what I believed to be a bad-ass funk track, I guarantee that more than one will disagree with me! The “bottom line” is that if slap speaks to you, go for it! If you feel something is funky – it is!

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