After our last newsletter on slapping, I got an email from a cherished reader…
I will call him “T” here. He announced his unequivocal displeasure with slapping as a concept: “Sorry, Ari”, “T” began, and went on to describe Slapping as a “ghastly sound” that is “unmusical, repetitive and self-indulgent”. He opined “it’s for the player and not for the listener” and even went on to talk about potential wrist issues.
First of all, I am always thrilled to hear from my readers and this is not a knock on T who is entitled to his view (and definitely not alone with it!).
Here’s how I responded
“No apology needed. It’s a view you are not alone with. However, people with professional aspirations will need to learn it, as these days it is simply part of the expected skill set for studio recordings and live situations. Hence they’d be remiss to not offer it.”
Thumbs up or down for slapping or thumping?
In addition, I would also add, it’s a sound that – if used in the right musical context and with the right taste – can add so much to a song. I just cannot imagine thinking of Marcus Miller, Larry Graham, Victor Wooten or Mark King producing anything even close to sounding ghastly! Beauty is famously in the eye of the beholder, of course, but I do know that I am not alone with that view either! Many bassists are happy to follow in the footsteps of Larry Graham, who is generally considered to be the father of Slapping.
Lastly, it will not create wrist issues if done right. As always, minimizing motion, using gravity to your favor, and not working against yourself is the ticket. Placement, explosive, short movement, relaxed and good technique… and you will be golden!
What do you think?
I always love hearing from our readers (even if we disagree on a topic), so thank you, T, for your note! Slapping is not for everyone… and that’s cool too!