Skip to main content

How to Have Proper Slap Bass Thumb Technique

Learn proper thumb technique from musician Sam Lipman in this Howcast slap bass lesson.


Hi, my name is Sam Lipman. I'm a multi-instrumentalist. I make records and I will be releasing my first solo debut record here in the fall called 'A' for Aphorisms. Check it out We are gonna be playing some slap bass. Hey, thumb technique. All right, this is what we’re going to talk about, thumb technique. Slap bass begins with this guy, the thumb, so what we’re going to do is kind of curl our fingers a little this. Stick your thumb out like you’re going to hitchhike, and you want to keep this thumb relaxed, and you’re going to turn it. It’s just like picking on a guitar. Normally on bass, we think pulling upwards, but thumb is down. The big mistake that most beginners make is they want to slap really hard, doesn’t sound that good and it ends up hurting your thumb. We’re thinking downwards motion, across the string, instead of up like fingering, we’re thinking down. We want to thumb fairly softly so we want to relax that hand, let it fall, turn our wrist into the instrument, and we want to get off that string. We don’t want to sit like that, so what we want to do is go down through the string and stop on the next string like this. By going down, we get a nice tone out of it. Now we want to hit it right here at the end of the neck, so what we’re going to do is play f our notes on each string and then four notes on the third fret and I’ll show you, watch this. Four notes, now I’m going to move up to the next string, next string, four of these, three, four, and then up on that third fret, back down four. Now we’re going to try that on the next string, the D string, third fret and back down, and now let’s try that on the low E string, and that covers basic thumb technique.

Popular Categories