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Slap Bass Lesson – Beginner & Intermediate (L#74)

Can you believe it? A SLAP bass lesson, finally! I've had sooo many e-mails over the last few months asking me to put together a lesson covering slap bass... I've finally given in!

Some of you were even wondering if I had anything against slap bass! I don't, really, and I do have fun with it, occasionally. The only reason I've stayed away from uploading bass lessons on this style, is that I know that bass students can easily get stuck in what I call the "slap bass void": it's fun, it can sound great, you can impress your friends relatively easily... ;)

The risk is that you forget about the rudiments of music, i.e. chord tones, scales, arpeggios, harmony, etc. and never become a well-rounded bass player, able to play with other musicians in a variety of styles --or in any style of music.

And do you think a great slap bass player like, say... Victor Wooten, knows all the stuff I mentioned above? You bet he does!

Now, after these words of caution and wisdom ;), let's slap it!

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  • J.Sparkes

    Masterful job Scott. That opening run, was that an arpeggiated run?

  • Martin S

    Nice one Scott. Really enjoyed that. As always you explain everything so well. Excellent


    Thanks a lot Scott. I’m 47 and I play bass since I’m 18 (oh my ghosh!) and I really learn a lot whith your lessons. I’ve discovered the use of the left hand in slap technique! More! I improve my english, I understand almost all you say ( not all the jokes…). Merci beaucoup Scott

  • Darren

    I was gonna give the four-string a rest today after a tough day yesterday but got the notification for this vid this morning. Great video man, thanks very much. Finally someone has explained the left hand slap well enough that I can understand how much work I was trying to do with my right hand!

    Cheers again for the great vids!

  • Wow Scott, you are a GIFTED musician and instructor.

    Thanks for sharing your skills!

  • Paul Bromhead

    Poptastic pop pickers :-)

  • Robert

    Great lesson. Thanks Mate.

  • Rob Zahn

    The triplet-16ths are great, man! I’d be curious to know your approach to those…I feel like mine are always sounding a bit anaemic. Good video as always, thanks.


  • SteveW

    HI Scott
    Nice one…
    I wondered about you and slap for a while, but actually I enjoy your lessons mainly because of the lack of slap and lots of the other stuff. There is a lot of slap stuff about elsewhere.

  • bryan

    thank you scott, : )

  • Louis

    Mmm….very informative. Not really a fan of slap (probably because every where you go on the internet…most bass players are doing it. This is such a mid to late seventies thing, I thought it would disappear like disco). Since your instruction is VERY clear now I understand it. NOWHERE has anyone ever tried to show the technique in such detail (especially the right ARM)….Thanks…now maybe I will give it a shot!

  • OMG… Scott… amazing my friend! Love it!…. But, I’m putting this one in a folder for a bit… back to the basics for me for now… lol.

  • Frederic U.

    Hello Scott

    Thanks for this great lesson…I like your step-by-step approach.

    Maybe I will not be the first one who asks you this question : could you please tell us how you slap the A string (or even the D or G string) with your thumb without having a bad, dampened sound ?

    Thanks again


  • simeon woodburn

    hi scott your lesson bens great . i have aproblem in my self slow i all thinging all over the place. thanks for all of your great lesson soon get back to you.

  • Jack Siegel

    Thanks for the lessons, I just stared playing the bass, I purchased a Squire Jaguar about 3 months back. Did I mention I will be 73 in December, never to late to learn,


    • scott

      Great stuff Jack! And you’re right… it’s NEVER to late to learn! Scott ;)

  • Dave

    Hey Scott,thanks for another brilliant lesson.
    Thats all there is to it then lol!!
    Cheers mate.

  • Igor

    Hello Scott, can u tell what settings to use the amp to get that sound?

    • scott

      Hey man, I’m going to be doing a lesson on eq very soon! S ;)

  • pablo

    Fantastic lesson maestro!, by the way, I found quite interesting the introduction of the slap groove, I think are triplets on it? right?, I believe that will be a great idea for the next slap lesson.

  • Martin d

    Exelent like always scott keep it up :)

  • Paul

    Hi Scott,

    Fantastic lesson. I have two questions. I am using a 24 fret bass and when I slap near the end of the fret board I often got a unwanted harmonic sound at the 24 fret. Also when I slap on the G strings it sounds very weak. How can I deal with these problems?


    • scott

      Hi Paul, I’m not sure really because I generally slap on basses that don’t have 24 frets… I think they tend to sound very different because of where the strings are hitting the frets as one slaps the strings. maybe try some more 24 fret basses and see if you’re having the same problems… then try a bass with less and see if the problems go away. Hope that helps Paul. Scott.

      • Paul

        Thanks Scott, one more question is about slapping on D or G strings. It sounds much weaker comparing to E/A strings in general. Is that I just slap harder on it to get a louder sound or use some different skills?


  • Vince

    You know, that whole “slap bass void” concept that you are talking about is the main reason why I don’t slap, or at least, why I USUALLY don’t slap. That’s really cool in my vision, it’s nice to see other people having the same opinion as me on slapping.



  • Uros

    Actually I have same problems as Paul and Frederic

    1) using a 24 fret bass get the weird harmonics tone

    2) slaping on A, D and G strings also gets strange dumped sound.

    Any clues?


  • Lionel Morrell

    Great fun….thanks, awesome stuff.

  • Rostislav

    Scott, you are an amazing player and teacher. Thank you for your work!

  • nae

    Hello Scott,
    I discovered your site just today and I must say it blew me away. I fell off the wagon a while ago with the bass but recently I decided to re-learn it from scratch. I knew this site was a keeper after watching this video thanks to not so great prior experience. When I was first learning to slap a poor instructor did not correct me on the arm movement, nor did they tell me to slap closer to the frets. I ended up learning the right method from watching a bassist perform live ><.

    Long story short, you are an amazing bassist, and I am looking forward to learning much more from you.

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge, it is very, very, very much appreciated :)

  • John



  • Robert

    This is very helpful as ever Scott, especially the left hand slapping and the dead notes which I hadn’t a Scooby about before! You really do show me how to ‘slip the handbrake’ and improve faster.

  • GC

    One thing I like to practice on occasion when I’m working on my slap technique is… drum rudiments! They really get that thumb earning its keep!

  • nir

    you are the beeeeeest!!!!!!!!!!

  • Ronald

    Was about to give up playing bass after 45 years of going no where fast. Thanks for the cool lessons. Who says you can’t teach a old dog tricks. Thanks Scott.

  • Kamran

    in future there will be lots of good bass players saying, their teacher was scott. great musician and teacher… thx

  • Dirk

    hey, i love this video and this exercise and i would really love it more (maybe like my brother :DDD), if you (scott) could add more slapping technique stuff, yeah, maybe some intermetiate/professional or just professional in a tm stevens style.But all in all i really love your videos and you are such a good and educated teacher! and i just wanna say thanks!

  • @tiagomooca

    cara, sensacional! valeu, de verdade, vc é um grande professor. talvez o melhor. abração aqui do brasil!

    hey dude, wonderful! really thanks, you’re a great teatcher. maybe, the best! hugs from brasil!

  • Charlie

    some of this is review but being a self taught bass player, these videos help me fill in all these gaps I have in my knowledge and technique. Connecting the dots to the big picture of my bass playing. Thanks!

  • Ghandimaster

    Hello Scott, thanks for all of your bass lessons, like it. I have question: I dont understand music so well so I dont get how can I play by slap technique in diferent chords like C, G etc? I thought that first note of every bar should be root note but is is all the time E string in slap? Is slap technique just if band play E chord?

  • Rey

    I finally find the way to play slap technique in every notes of the diapason of my bass, thank to you Scott I really enjoy it

  • Tim Maher II

    You teach very well! During the slap lesson you talk of the low E but you fret at the bA. Am I not seeing or hearing something right? Dig the lessons, just found you and subscribed to your web site. I’ll be giving a donation asap for anything you can send my way!!!

    Tim II
    San Francisco Bay Area

  • Tim Maher II

    Are you muting the notes (ghost notes) or should we let them sound the note? It’s these little things that have been keeping me from progressing.
    Tim II
    Bass Rules!!!

  • daniel

    Finally a basic slap lesson that doesn’t assume I already know what I’m doing. I really needed basic rhythmic exercises to repeat over and over to loosen up my forearm. (Seriously Slap-Challenged here) This lesson provides exactly that AND a path forward. So, where there was once only a dark room, a candle now burns. Thanks!

  • Bert

    Hi Scott – this is an eye-opener! Thank you…I’ve never realized that the left hand is also “slapping” somehow.

    One question: it seams that you only use the G-String for your index finger for this basic lesson. I guess for slapping one of the “rules” is to use the thumb for the E and A-String and the index (and middle) finger for the D- and G-String, right? So don’t use the D- and G-String with your thumb?


  • Kenneth Harris

    Hi Scott,

    I am having difficulty slapping the fretboard with my left hand without getting a tone instead of that dead note sound… What am I doing wrong?!?!?

    • David Sutkin

      Try hitting the fretboard with your left hand at a strict 90 degree angle. I’ve found that if your hand is rounded in shape you get slightly dampened notes or subtle harmonics …. but if you hit that baby head on at 90 degrees with straight, flat fingers (all at the same time of course) you should find your getting the desired effect. I hope that helps.

  • Emanuele Ambrosio

    Hi Scott, I understood the whole lick, but I have big problem to understand how to practic scales like the B flat, thanks Scott and who can help me, great lesson

  • Hi Scott, very nice explanation … very useful for many bassplayers that start with slapping.


  • Marc Polo

    hi Scott..
    Great lesson but i’m an left handed player… So i cant slap !!! or i dont know how to slap like a right handed player…. feeling disappointed !!!!

  • liberalMidfinger

    Great Lesson! I hope you continue this exploration of slapping further.
    I’m fairly good with music theory etc., but slapping has always eluded me because it’s more of a conceptual problem, and it’s really hard for me to figure it out simply by listening to a recording, which is not that much of an issue with “normal” plucking styles.
    So more lessons building up further from this one would be awesome, great approach!

  • Steven Scott

    Great lesson. I agree and I spent a lot of time on scales, its different modes, chord changes and all the other fundamentals that go with being a well rounded bass player. Slap bass is a lot of fun but I try not to limit myself there, the other stuff is great too.

  • waw…

  • 40yrs of playing bass in various bands and I’ve never sat down and learned slap bass, picked up the odd groove here and there. I noticed through the years players getting stuck in slap similar to getting stuck in a style ala Jaco. I’m looking forward to going through this lesson. Does the set up on the bass need to be different for slap compared to finger style? I find it harder to mix both and achieve an even volume, especially without compression.