Bass Lick of the Week #29

This week’s exercise is a slap and pop groove written in the style of Marcus Miller. The main idea behind this lick is sliding root and octave figures around the fingerboard, which is something that Marcus often does during his basslines and solos.

After slapping the E in the first bar, pop the octave and allow both notes to ring together. These notes should then be slid downwards to D. Then, slap the D and slide downwards to the C#, then pop the octave C#. As you perform all of this, keep fretting the root and octave of each note - this will create a much thicker sound. If you can master this short phrase, you will be well-placed to play the rest of the exercise. After playing this figure, slap a dead note on the A-string and pop a dead note on the G-string - this completes the second beat. On the third beat, slap the C#, slide into the D, pop the octave D, then slap the open E-string. On the fourth beat, there is a semiquaver rest, followed by three ghost notes: slap-pop-slap. Practice this bar slowly and in isolation before moving on. Once you can play this bar you should find that the remainder of the exercise falls into place.

In the fourth bar of the sequence there are some chord changes from C^9 to Dadd9. Beneath these, the bass plays simple root-octave slap figures.

This line was performed on a Fender Marcus Miller Signature Jazz Bass. All controls were turned up full and a heavy dose of compression was added digitally once recorded.

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