In this Lesson I will show you some videos of slap guitar. You can see how guitar greats use this technique and you can imitate them. Most music is learned by repeating what others before you have done so here are some tutorial videos and performance videos that include slapping.
These 3 videos sum up the basics of slap guitar. Watch these videos and understand what is going on and get the sound into your head. It is a fun technique to play with and to practice. It also sounds very cool! Happy Slapping!
So we just talked about slapping guitar in a triplet feel. If you add 1 extra note you can get a 16th note feel going and this is where things get cool. A 16th note feel is going to be faster and sound more complex, but it’s really not that much harder to execute. In this lesson you will learn the basics of plucking strings, why you should pluck your strings and plucking patterns.
Plucking guitar strings is pretty self-explanatory. You take your index (first) finger, middle finger and ring finger and you pluck the string to get that harsh pluck sound. To make this technique easier for you while you are using your thumb to slap I suggest you keep your fingers curled under your hand a little bit. Keep them loose because a tense hand is hard to work with.
Plucking strings are an ornamentation to slap guitar. The note choices are not hugely important. You should pick notes that are part of the key, but the specific notes are not really a big deal. It is just to add flavor to your playing. I suggest when you first start plucking you worry about 1 note. The root would work well in the beginning. That way you won’t get bogged down thinking about notes you should pluck and you can concentrate on proper slapping technique.
I am going to show you a simple plucking pattern you can use that uses slapping and plucking. Before I had you doing the triplet slap pattern where you hit the open E on each beat and you slapped your left hand on the string then slapped a muted thumb on the strings again in a triplet feel. You will do this again except after the muted thumb slap you will add a pluck with your fingers. You will need to play this as 16th notes or else you won’t be able to get all the hits in and slap the next beat on time. Practice this slowly and work up speed gradually.
You have now learned all the basics of slap guitar. There are more things you can do to add more interest to your guitar slapping, but you now know what you need to know to slap guitar like a real slapper. You can add plucking to your slap guitar to add flavor to your playing. The notes you choose are not extremely important as long as they are in the key. Make sure you practice with proper technique and you will see great improvement over time.
By now you know what it takes to create a nice slap sound. If you need to review the fundamentals of slapping the guitar please review lesson 1. Slap guitar can be taken much farther than just slapping 1 string. You can become more adventurous and add more technique and more interesting ideas to your slap guitar playing. In this lesson you will learn how you can start improving your technique by adding more to what you already know.
A Slapped Note Does Not Hang Around.
We just covered an exercise where you play quarter notes at 60 beats per minute with a metronome. In this exercise you were slapping the low E string. The next step to slap is to stop the note when you play it. So do this exercise again and each time you hit a note let it ring for a moment, but stop it with your left hand before you slap again. You can stop the sound by placing your fingers over the strings. This will make your slap sound cleaner and make it more focused.
Guitarists can be drummers too!
Slap guitar is very rhythmic. Slap would be boring if it was not. So to make your slap more rhythmic you can use your left hand to make a noise. Do this exercise: Slap the low E string on the beat at 60 beats per minute. On the & of each beat slap your left hand fingers down on the strings. The left hand is a rhythmic tool for your slapping. A very small percentage of slap guitar is actual played notes. These percussion sounds are what makes guitarists similar to drummers.
A Guitarist and a Drummer Had Triplets
A lot of slapping can be done with a triplet feel. Before you attempt doing this exercise make sure you have worked on the 8th note exercise above. This time you are going to play an 8th note triplet. You hit the low E string every beat. You will then make the left hand percussive sound and then you leave your left hand fingers down to mute while you slap your thumb again. The third hit is a muted thumb slap. No pitches should be played; it is just a percussive sound. Once you are comfortable with this you can start to speed up your slapping. Speed it up slowly to ensure proper technique.
Slapping guitar will sound more refined if you stop the note from ringing every once in a while. You can use this opportunity to be rhythmic by stopping the note with a rhythmic noise by slapping your left hand down. If you mute the strings with your left hand you can still use your right hand thumb to slap again and make a percussive sound without a note ringing out. A lot of slap guitar is done with a triplet feel so you can practice slapping with triplets. Enjoy!
Welcome! Have you ever come across a guitarist who was slapping his guitar? Typically this technique is done on bass, but it can be done on guitar as well. It is a fun technique to learn and can sound very cool. Slap is primarily used in the funk style and sounds best with a funk sound. After reading this lesson you should be able to know how to slap the guitar, and the challenges of slapping. This lesson will focus primarily on the thumb. Later on we will talk about adding finger plucking to your slap to make it even more fun!
Slap Guitar Is Like a Bounce House
Pretend you are in a bounce house for a minute. When you jump you go down, then bounce right back up. The same principle applied in slap. When you slap your guitar strings you should bounce back up. If you don’t bounce up it won’t work well. Another illustration of slapping the guitar is being on the moon. Have you ever seen movies on people on the moon? They float down and back up. This does not mean that you constantly have to be going back down to slap the string over and over, but when you slap the string you should bounce up quickly.
Slapping Is Not Hard, But The Part Of Your Thumb You Use Should Be.
Think about it. Slapping has a pretty bumpy harsh sound to it. Do you think you can get that sound better by dropping cotton on the strings or dropping a hard bouncy ball on the strings? Of course the bouncy ball is going to make the sound better. Same concept goes with your thumb. When you play slap guitar you should use the side of your thumb at the knuckle. This is the hardest part of your thumb. This will make that pop slap sound better.
Low Strings Make the Best Slappers
When you are using this guitar technique you will find that the 2 lowest strings make the best strings to slap on. Once you get higher than the A string you are better off using other fingers to pluck them. Typically the easiest string to slap on is the low E. It may take some practice to get the A string to sound good slapping, but it will get easier.
Practice Simple To Perfect Your Happy Slappy Technique
To start practicing this technique I suggest you put on a metronome at around 60 beats per minute and hit the low E string each beat. You can use our metronome at GitGuitar here. Concentrate on hitting the string with the correct part of the thumb. You should also concentrate on bouncing off the string. For an extra little note: You will find some areas of the guitar string are easier to slap on. So you may want to experiment to find the hot spot on your guitar. Once you can play quarter notes at 60 slapping with perfect technique you can move on to more advanced techniques using slap.
Slap guitar is a fun technique you can use to sound more funky. Typically this technique is a funky bass technique, but guitarists can use it also. To get the perfect sound in this technique you need to bounce your hand quickly off the strings. You should also use the hard part of your thumb. Practice quarter notes at 60 beats per minute and you will improve dramatically. Enjoy!