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.

Intro Riff

Practice Tracks:

110bpm 

120bpm

130bpm

Section 1

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.

Section 2

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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