This week we’re looking at what I consider the 5 MUST KNOW slap bass riffs. We’ve got some Flea in there, a little Larry Graham, a splash of Mark King and more. So buckle up and get ready for some awesome slap bass action!

Slap Bass Riff Timings:

1) Higher Ground – Red Hot Chilli Peppers (Flea) – 1:48
2) Thankyou Falletinme Be Mice Elf Agin – Sly & The Family Stone (Larry Graham) – 10:14
3) Love Games – Level 42 (Mark King) – 18:26
4) Take The Power Back – Rage Against The Machine (Tim Commerford) – 29:53
5) Forget Me Nots – Patrice Rushden (Freddy Washington) – 35:23

Learning songs is your key to success!

Much of the previous Slap lessons dealt with the mechanics and technique of playing the style. But that is such a small part of learning to slap. The best progress can be made once you have those basics nailed so you can just dive into learning some tunes.

In this lesson I’ve covered 5 of the most popular bass riffs out there that should be within the reach of anyone with a basic grasp of the playing style. If you find any of these riffs too difficult just be sure to check out the Simple Steps To Slap Bass course here at Talkingbass. I work through every area of the slap technique from the absolute basics, all the way through to advanced double thumbing and machine gun bass fills!

Slap Bass Riff #1 – Higher Ground

Higher Ground is a Red Hot Chilli Peppers cover of the Stevie Wonder classic featuring a slap bass interpretation from Flea.

The riff is a great introduction to slap pop octaves on the E and D strings and is deceptively tricky when getting started so take it slow!

Practice Tracks:





Slap Bass Riff #2 – Thankyou Falletinme Be Mice Elf Agin

This funk classic from Sly & The Family Stone was one of the first popular recorded examples of the slap technique on electric bass, courtesy of the bass legend Larry Graham.

This is a fairly simple line but the space and articulations require special focus on the time feel.

Practice Tracks:





Slap Bass Riff #3 – Love Games

Love Games by Level 42 is the perfect introduction to the Mark King style of 16th note slap!

We have left hand palm slaps alternating with open strings to create an incessant percussive line. Look out for the hammer ons and pops in there too.

Practice Tracks:





Slap Bass Riff #4 –  Take The Power Back

Slap bass is often seen as a funk/disco style of bass playing but slap is also popular in heavier metal styles.

Take The Power Back by Rage Against The Machine is the perfect example of a catchy groove in a hard and heavy context. Tim Commerford uses a drop tuning of the E string down to D for added brutality!

Practice Tracks:




Slap Bass Riff #5 – Forget Me Nots

Forget Me Nots by Patrice Rushen features Freddie Washington playing one of the most famous slap riffs in pop history. Some of you will also know this riff from the Will Smith song ‘Men In Black’

This riff is deceptively difficult, especially the 16th notes in the final bar. Freddie actually slaps every note but we’re going to use pull offs in this lesson.

Practice Tracks:





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