What’s the Funkiest Slap Bass Riff EVER in your opinion? Is it by Marcus Miller? Flea? Louis Johnson? Mark King? Les Claypool? Victor Wooten? What do you think?
Well, in my opinion there can be only one winner: Hair by the Godfather of Slap Bass – Larry Graham. This bass riff is probably the most famous slap line from Graham Central Station and can be more tricky to play than you might think.
Hair – Graham Central Station
Hair is one of those riffs that can seem fairly simple on first hearing but can be a little tricky to learn for one of two main reasons:
- Problem #1 – The Surprise Half Time Feel
- Problem #2 – The Disguised Beat 1
The riff is played solo at the start of the song and it’s easy to feel the tempo at twice it’s actual speed. There is a half time feel in the drumbeat that can change the feel of the riff (or at least the feel you expected!)
As you start learning the riff, many players expect to make a return to the opening of the line. But in Hair, this doesn’t happen and the end of each phrase takes place as two 16th notes on beat 1 of the next bar.
So listen to the tips in the video, learn the riff slowly and then try playing along to the drum track below.
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