Bass Lick of the Week #18

This week’s exercise is a slap and pop groove. Although the first three bars of this exercise are relatively simple, there is a complex fill in the fourth bar, based on Victor Wooten’s ‘open-hammer-pluck’ technique.

For the first three bars of this exercise you will be playing basic slap and pop octave figures, using conventional slap technique. When learning this line, be aware that I have written the ghost notes on the string most logical to play them on, but it doesn’t really matter where they are played - a ghost note is a ghost note.

The complex fill in bar four is played as follows: slap an open A-string, then hammer-on to the E at the seventh fret. This note is immediately followed by a popped ghost note on the G-string. We now repeat this idea in a similar way: slap the open D-string, hammer-on to the B at the ninth fret of the same string, then pop the E at the ninth fret of the G-string. As you’ll probably notice, this fill is based on the notes from a basic power chord: root, fifth and octave. The open strings are merely ‘jumping off points’ and are not considered part of the chord. Note that Victor often plays this lick as two semiquaver triplets, but in this case we are playing it as straight semiquavers.

This idea is now repeated up a minor third, using a G power chord shape. After playing this, you’ll need to move up two further frets, to A. This time we don’t play the complete riff, just the open A-string, a hammer-on to the A at the twelfth fret, then a popped A at the fourteenth fret of the G-string.

This line was recorded on a Zon Sonus bass. I favoured the neck pickup slightly and had both tone controls in the centre position.

To download the backing track and PDF worksheet for this exercise, please visit the Free Stuff section of the website.