Bass Lick of the Week #32

This week’s exercise is a slap and pop groove that incorporates some strummed chords and is played over a shuffle feel.

This track features strummed power chords in the first two bars. To play these, strum downwards with the fingers of your picking hand, allowing the nails to strike the strings. This will give your strums a hard attack, which is what we need for this line. Try to use upstrokes as well as downstrokes: for each beat, aim to play the first note (the crotchet) with a downstroke, and the second note (the quaver) with an upstroke. Note that at the end of the second beat the power chord changes to become a minor sixth interval (E and C). This is done by moving the finger that is fretting the B up by one fret. This allows us to imply a C major chord, before moving to the D power chord that follows.

The second half of the exercise is a simple slap and pop figure that features some sliding figures. Be sure to continue to play with an even triplet feel when playing these beats. The ghost note slap and pop figures on the second and fourth beats of each bar are there for rhythmic interest only, but you’ll probably agree that they add to the groove of these bars quite significantly.

This line was recorded on my 1966 Fender Jazz bass. I used both pickups and had the tone control turned up most of the way. I digitally compressed the sound a little once the line was recorded.

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