How To Play Slap Bass – Getting Started

2019-02-10T21:06:44+00:00September 2nd, 2013|Categories: Slap Bass|15 Comments

This is a lesson for bass players who want to get into slapping for the first time. I go over the basics of thumb technique and popping and also a little on how to get a slap tone.

For a complete method to learning Slap Bass Click Here for the Talkingbass Simple Steps To Slap Bass Method!

Exercise 1: Different Note Durations

Practice a single open E string and experiment with different note durations. This will help with using the thumb and your choking technique.

Exercise 2: Different Note Durations On G

Apply the same choking practice to a fretted note, in this case we’re using a G.

Exercise 3: G-B-C-D Progression (first finger of fretting hand)

Practice moving around the neck a little more by using this simple progression of G-B-C-D. In this exercise we use only one finger of the fretting hand to play each note.

Exercise 4: G-B-C-D Progression (one position)

We can also bring our other fretting hand fingers into play while working through our progression (G-B-C-D)

Exercise 5: G Major Scale

Major scales are a simple way of practicing a technique across strings on the bass. Slap every note of this G Major scale using the fretting hand fingering shown.

Exercise 6: Staccato G Major Scale

For more note control we can practice the same G Major scale but with staccato notes.

Exercise 7: C Octave (different durations)

The pop is an important part of the slap bass technique. Octaves are probably the most common application of pops. The following exercises are good practice in developing that snappy pop technique.

Exercise 8: G Octave (different durations)

E to D string octaves can be tougher to play than A to G string octaves. This required the finger to quickly fall between the D and G string. Practice this technique until you can play it cleanly.

Exercise 9: Disco Riff On D

This popular disco riff is good practice at applying octaves in context

Play the riff with multiple durations:

  • All Full Duration
  • All Cut Short (staccato)
  • All Very Short (staccatisimo)
  • Only Pop Short

Exercise 10: Disco Riff On A

Once you’ve mastered the disco riff with root notes on the A string, you can then try with root notes on the E string. This is a little tougher.

Play the riff with multiple durations:

  • All Full Duration
  • All Cut Short (staccato)
  • All Very Short (staccatisimo)
  • Only Pop Short

Want To Learn How To Play Slap Bass?

Check out the Simple Steps To Slap Bass course here at Talkingbass!

It’s Easy When You Take Simple Steps!

Learn To Slap Today!

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  1. rukshan April 18, 2014 at 2:11 am - Reply

    i need to learn for you bass slap thanks for video

  2. MARK June 14, 2014 at 12:48 am - Reply

    Thanks for the tabs and for the starter’s first slap video.

    • Mark June 25, 2014 at 11:00 am - Reply

      Thanks very much

  3. Jim July 5, 2014 at 3:31 pm - Reply

    Thanks Mark used to be a little overwhelmed by slap bass but after seeing your lesson I am keen to learn it. You put it across in a nice and straight forward manner.

  4. Scott Adcock March 14, 2015 at 8:27 am - Reply

    Seriously, the guy is the best instructor I have ever seen. I know that is a bit extreme, but in my mind and how I tend to learn things, he is the best. More specifically, his Lesson Page (from is laid out simple and straight-forward, and in each video he starts slow and increases in complexity. Its not rocket science, but for some reason he seems to be the only one that understands this. Thanks Mark (from a random guy in a 13th floor studio apartment in edowntown Louisville, Kentucky!)

  5. George Daniel August 9, 2015 at 8:47 pm - Reply

    Best Instructor ever thanks dude, I’m so glad I found this website

  6. Samuel Tandoh September 16, 2015 at 5:04 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the video lesson. Why can’t we download the video????

  7. Carl Chambers December 17, 2015 at 3:40 am - Reply

    Hi Mark, In this lesson, you make the comment that new strings might help to learn this technique. Do you recommend any particular brand/series of strings for the beginning slapper? Thank you for all your hard work. This is an awesome website.

  8. Rohan nishanthaa February 23, 2016 at 12:15 pm - Reply

    Hi Mark, great lesson..I have been playing bass for over 10+ years and rubbish with slapping techniques and in need of some lessons in real time with a teacher to get going,. anyway your lessons are very inspiring. thanks Rohan

  9. Mark Mahoney February 27, 2016 at 1:53 pm - Reply

    Hi Mark,

    As always, thanks for another fantastic instructional video.
    I’m brand new to slapping. In the video you suggest using finger 1 or 2 for popping. I instinctively pop with the 4th (pinkie) finger. I find it easier to reach with and get in between the strings.
    It may be because my main instrument is (are) drum-set and mallets. I’m used to controlling a drumstick and manipulating a mallet with the pinkie.
    However, I’m wondering if by popping with the fourth finger, I might be setting myself up for technical problems later.



  10. rene August 1, 2016 at 4:34 pm - Reply

    When I choke the strings i get the sound of the choked fret, doesnt matter how light i choke it,

  11. Scott Mc Carthy February 3, 2017 at 8:14 pm - Reply

    Hey Mark this is a really great lesson and I hope I get the slap technique right. But I always have a problem with slapping the A D and G string. When I hit A, my thumb seems to hit off the string above A, like the E string. Do I have to tilt my thumb sideways if I want to hit any of the lower strings? If you have the solution to that, that will be great.

    Thank you so much Mark.

  12. Anaekwe solumtochukwu May 29, 2018 at 9:21 am - Reply

    Mr Mark God bless you.You’ve made things easier for us amateurs on the bass[slap bass].I can’t thank you enough.

  13. Rab McKirdy November 21, 2018 at 8:52 am - Reply

    So glad I found your website Mark, I am a 1st year student and have found your website an excellent resource for explaining and learning all the various stuff so well done…

  14. Rubel Ahmed December 4, 2018 at 7:25 pm - Reply

    Thanks Mark,we r grateful to u,ur lessons for slap bass is very effective.

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