This week I’m looking at what I call the Rest Stroke slap technique which has been made really popular by Victor Wooten.
The lesson looks at differences between the bounce and the rest stroke and the pros and cons of both.

Bounce Vs Rest

When we play slap bass, our thumb action can be either a bounce (a la Mark King) or rest stroke (a la Marcus Miller).

When we bounce, the thumb returns to its starting point. We ‘bounce’ off the string. When we play Rest Stroke, we follow through with the thumb and come to rest on the next string.

The bounce is better for quick flurries but lacks a little body and fundamental. The rest stroke is less suited to the quick flurries by itself but has much more fundamental.

On the face of it, the bounce seems a better option for many slap lines. However, rest stroke has one huge advantage in that it facilitates the use of double thumb technique. Double thumbing allows for much faster slap lines than we can achieve with the bounce.

Neither technique is ‘better’. They are just different and more suited to different lines.

Comparison Exercise

The following E blues scale, played in this high position around the 12th fret is great for comparing the two techniques. Try playing with the bounce and then with the rest stroke. You will hear a much more consistent tone and stronger fundamental on the D and G string when playing with the rest stroke:

Rest Stroke Exercise

The following riff is a great exercise for getting started with the rest stroke:

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