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Slap Arpeggio Techniques


By Ray Riendeau

I am often asked by students to demonstrate how I slap arpeggio-based lines. In this lesson, I will illustrate how you can use slapping and plucking techniques to play the 4 primary triads (major, minor, diminished, augmented) which are the fundamental building blocks of bass grooves and solos.

All of the notated examples are comprised of major, minor, diminished, and augmented triads that are based off the root note "C." There are two different shapes for each of the triad types, and these shapes consist of two distinct articulation sequences: S-H-H-S-P1-P2 or S-H-P-S-H-P.

Each individual exercise is to be played as a 6-note shape using 8th-note triplets. You can consider all of these shapes moveable, and any note on the fingerboard can be the root. The first note of each shape, regardless of the key or triad type, is always an open string. The open string functions as an approach or pickup note.

Once you feel comfortable playing these triad shapes starting on the root note "C" as notated, transpose all of the exercises over one set of strings so that all of the triads are constructed using "G" as the root note, and then move them across the entire range of the fingerboard. Always keep in mind that any note on the fingerboard can be utilized as a root note, and each root will be preceded by an open string pickup note. After you can play each of these triads using all 12 notes of the musical alphabet as root notes, try to incorporate these triads into your slap bass vocabulary of grooves and solos.

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© 2006 Ray Riendeau/The IIB