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Slapping Some Chords

Yeah, I agree. It’s kind of a weird title. But I guess it’s better than getting slapped with a chord; now, that would hurt!

This month, I want to talk about a short little technique that I get asked about a lot: I’m going to explain and show you how I slap/arpeggiate chords.

Simply stated, chords to me are small or sometimes large “families” of feelings, i.e. notes, grouped together to make one collectively beautiful sound in the air. Personally, I think they sound especially pretty on the bass guitar – with all those lower registers and all.

The title of this column does include the word “slap” in it, so I’d like to demonstrate the technique of slapping chords. First let me say (Yes, another Disclaimer) that by no means is the way I do it the definitive way!! In fact, I’m always looking for new ways to apply slap bass to chords. Consider this demo more as your starting point, and contact me with your ideas.

I think the way I slap a chord – albeit not the most efficient way – was developed like virtually all the techniques I have: On the gig, jamming with the drummer and emulating the drums through bass guitar. Again, as I always stress, my connection to the drums is crucial.

The gist of this rhythm utilizes the thumb and ring and pinkie fingers. Please check out the video, as I cannot explain it as well and as efficiently here “on paper.”

As in all music – and I mean ALL music – The key here is the rhythm! This is ALWAYS the case. These techniques I’m using on these chords won’t work without an underlying rhythm – that’s the key to the groove!

It’s not so much the exact notes of the chords we’re concentrating on here; it’s the rhythms we’re trying to get out of our souls, into our hands, through the bass and out into the air. So slap those chords around. I know I will!

Keep Jammin’
Doug

 

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