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Opening the Slap Style Vocabulary : Slap Basics With Doug Johns

It’s the Things In Between….

Things in between? What the hell is he talking about? A sandwich? No, I’m talking about the things in between that make the groove.

I know everybody knows what I’m talking about – and I think this connects well with my last column, Developing a Better Pulse with a Drum Kit. The bass, being a percussive instrument by its very nature – strings hitting, or hands hitting, against something (wood). The bass can make many funky sounds without playing what is defined as a “note.” The things in between those notes are what give your sound that groove, that oomph!

Slap bass is just an extension of drum rhythms beat out on your bass, and again shows the primordial connection of the bass and drums relationship.

Video is really saving my butt here, cause I don’t really know any other way to describe the “ghost notes” I stick in my playing.

Approaching your instrument – bass, guitar, oboe – whatever it may be in a percussive way is what takes an ordinary line to one that just POPS and makes you move. James Brown comes to mind here (without a doubt one of the funkiest cats ever); his grooving music all has that percussive pulse slathered with the Things In Between.

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