This week I’m going to work through the slap bass classic POW! by Graham Central Station played by the amazing slap innovator Larry Graham!
POW! – A Slap Classic
Pow! can be a tricky riff to get under your fingers so take it nice and slow to begin with and slowly build up speed while focusing on accuracy and good muting.
The riff as recorded is extremely fast, with lots of intricacy in there. It’s also worth nothing that Larry Graham plays around with the riff a lot – both in the song and live performance, so this is by no means a guide to the whole song. But! If you can master this riff, you’ll have learned a great deal of cool techniques you can deploy in your own lines.
As always with these more difficult tracks, I’ve provided backing tracks ranging from 110 bpm to 130 bpm so you can practice at a lower tempo before moving up to full speed :) I’ve also broken the riff down into segments to make it easier to learn.
The opening section is actually fairly standard. In E minor, it starts with a hammer on from D to E. Note the ‘flappy’ open palm muting technique I use to create the rhythmic percussive feel. The line itself when you slow it down is actually fairly standard moves – but it’s all in the detail of the ghost notes and muted notes. Also pay attention for the fingering position shift at the end of the line.
I play this a little differently to some of the tabs you’ve seen. I pop the first D to E – mainly because when you watch Larry Graham play this live, I think this is what he’s doing. Watch his hands closely! To make the move cleanly can be quite tricky, so definitely practice this a fair bit at a lower tempo.
There are also a couple of muted palm slaps and a nice little slide which makes the whole line sound really fluid.
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You know what? You are really amazing. You are very talented. I have been watching your videos for a while and you are a very good teacher. I appreciate what you do. I would like to play on your level one day.
good one keep it up
Mark – your teaching is absolutely fabulous. Thanks
This is indeed a POWerful bass line. I remain in awe of people such as yourself, Marcus, Mark King, Victor, Stanley and all those who make slapping look so easy. As i write I can get by on tunes such as Bowie’s “Ashes to Ashes”, “let’s Dance” or “Just the two of us” by Grover Washington. These are tunes where the slapping is relatively slow and intermittent. It’s perfectly clear to me that to slap as well as yourself and those mentioned above takes literally years of practice and a lot of frustration thrown into the mix. I guess like in all aspects of music to get “good” there are no shortcuts to practice. It seems this is particularly the case where slapping is concerned.