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Re: 5-string slappers

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Posted by Olivier Laroche on September 20, 2000 at 16:23:35:

In Reply to: 5-string slappers posted by fusionman on September 19, 2000 at 01:32:07:

: I'm buying a new bass and I would want a 5-string but does this make the slapping style a lot more difficult? I've been playing a 4-string and I think I'm rather advanced in this style so I would want to spoil it. Tell me what you think. Thanks.

Hi fusion man,

I read both of your questions and I can relate to them cause I've been through the whole thing before.

Fisrt of all, the book you bought is one of the best slapping method I've ever seen.

Second, Fender Jazz 4 strings are fabulous slapping instruments. I love the on I have. The thin neck makes it an intrument that is easier to control when slapping.

Regarding the sore thumb, take it easy, you will get used to it...

Now for the A string problem, you'll get get it the same way you get to Carnegie Hall: Practice man, Practice... But seriously, you can also try taking the E string off your bass to concentrate on the bounce you should be expecting from the A string. Once you get the feeling right, put the E string back on an practice shifting from E to A. Always keep in mind the type of bounce you are looking for. You can actually do the same for every string.

About shifting from E to A, try Herbie Hancock's Chameleon or Kameleon (or however it's spelled) (you might find English mistakes for I'm French-Canadian)That song has a strong slow repetitive groove that is perfect for begining slappers.

Finally, about the 5-string, I usually slap a lot less on my 5 than my 4. 5-string basses are harder to slap on because of the width of the neck and the extra string. It is a challenge for the hands and I have a hard time getting as a cool a punchy tone as with a 4-string. You will notice the attack is not as bright on a 5. Plus if shifting E to A on a 4-string is a challenge, imagine shifting from B to E. As a matter of fact, on most 5-strings I've had or tried the B string was way too loose to get a good slap attack.I usually keep my 5-string for fat grooves.

I hope these advices will help you out and good luck.

Olivier Laroche

p.s. Don't do like most new slappers, use this technique with taste, mix it with fingerstyle grooves. Lock'em well with the drummer. You don't want to sound like a pop-corn machine plugged into a 300 watts amp, do you ?

About the sore thumb, take it easy, you will get used to the technique.

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