This week I’m answering a request for the slap riff from the song Can’t Stop by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. This riff by Flea is fairly straightforward as long as you’ve got a good grasp of playing ghost notes.

The ‘Can’t Stop’ Riff

Can’t Stop by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers is a great riff for getting some basic slap/pop technique practice.

It’s fairly slow so take extra special care with the time feel. Use the ‘home’ position I mention in the lesson for nailing those ghost notes and everything should be fine:

The sequence follows a chord change of E minor, D, B minor and C and I recommend you play the root notes along with the song first just so you get used to where the changes come before you start looking at the intricacies of the slap pattern itself.

When you get around to the main riff, the opening E is a simple slap/pop figure – with an E slapped on the 7th fret of the A string, followed by a D to E pop at the 7th/9th fret of the G string.

For the D, simply follow the same pattern but starting from (you guess it!) the D – the 5th fret of the A string.

For the B minor and C chords, we simply move to the E string and play an octave figure – first from the 5th fret, then from the 6th.

When you have the basic notes under your fingers, you’re really almost there – and if you played it like that it is recognisable. However, to get the full feel of the riff, you need to add in the ghost notes to add the distinctive rhythmic feel.

As with all ghost notes on bass, I find it best simply to rest my hand across all the strings to deaden them without creating a note, but play them as slaps and pops to make sure they hit really clean and fit the feel of the line.

It’s also worth noting that throughout the song as recorded Flea improvises and embellishes the line – so this is great starting point, but if you want to play the whole song note for note as per the record you’ll have to dig in and work your way through bar by bar.

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