Ah the art of slap and pop. For years you have eluded me. Actually, in my younger days the technique never really appealed to me. I thought it was a whole lot of show with little substance. Over the years I have grown to truly admire those who have mastered this art, yet never really tried to learn how to do it. Well, with lesson 9, all that is about to change.
Clocking in at just over an hour, Lesson 9 of Teach Me Bass Guitar is jam packed with everything you need to learn to “slappa da bass”. Roy starts out by showing us proper thumb technique returning us once again to the 4 x 4 exercise, except this time we slap the strings with our thumb instead of plucking or picking them. I must admit, this was pretty difficult for me at first. My string accuracy was very poor and everything just sounded sloppy. I spent many a night sitting on the couch just slapping through the 4 x 4 exercise just to get a basic proficiency before I even attempted to move on in the lesson. Once I was comfortable with slapping the thumb I moved on to the “Pop” portion of the lesson. We start out by slapping notes on the E string and popping their octave on the D string and then do the same with the A and G strings. Fortunately for me, I found it much easier to pop than to slap. Roy also shows us some techniques to mute strings that you don’t want to ring out when playing slap and pop, very important if you don’t want to sound sloppy. When I was somewhat comfortable playing slap and pop I moved on to the exercises which Roy plays at 3 different tempos to get you started and give you something to work for.
In lesson 9 Roy brings in another one of his “Students”, Michelle, and demonstrates some drumming techniques using the left and right hands on the bass and how this relates to slap and pop. I must admit I do enjoy the segments with the students as that they truly seem to be genuine, struggling with the new concepts just as I am here at home. From this segment we move on to Hammer On’s and Pull Off’s. We work on these on two strings at a time, E&A, A&D, and D&G working once again at the three different tempos. There is a lot of information in this lesson, and a lot to absorb, especially for someone like me who has never played this style before. I found my left hand cramping up quite a bit and realized that it was due to the fact that I was pressing down to hard on the back of the neck with my thumb. I still find myself cramping up here and there but now I just shake it out and try to relax and not hold on so tightly.
The two songs for this lesson are Funk Patrol and Shuffle Funk. All I can say is ouch! These are going to take me a while to master. Funk Patrol has a groovy lick that I am dying to pull off, but have thus far been unsuccessful. Shuffle Funk is a nice shuffle groove using the thumb instead of finger style, which is a rough one for me as well. Essentially this has been the most difficult lesson for me. I have watched this lesson more times than any in the past. It took me almost a month to get through the entire lesson and I foresee spending another month trying to master it before moving on to lesson 10. I will say one thing, I will be very proud when I can plan these songs with the band. Learning how to play slap bass has been a long time coming for me and I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. Now I need to invest the time and energy necessary to master this amazing style of playing. As always, wish me luck! A little encouragement goes a long ways.
To read about my journey with Teach Me Bass Guitar from the beginning start here: http://wp.me/pRvjK-h