Slap Bass Triplet Exercises

Although these exercises can be set to different rhythms, I'm focusing on just triplets as the slap, index, middle pattern works nicely as you have three different strikes (motions) which creates a single beat.

For those of you that don't know a triplet rhythm is basically three equal notes (equal in rhythm/timing) in a single beat. In 4/4, you would have three notes for each beat. I will try to demonstrate this below by using a simple grid formation.

Beat - 1 2 3 4

Triplet rhythm - 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3

Strikes - S I M S I M S I M S I M

Each exercise uses the same striking pattern - slap, index, middle which is abbreviated to S, I, M.

S = Slap with thumb

I = Index pluck

M = Middle pluck

Exercise 1 - Playing on each string individually

Ideally, you want to practice each one of these separately and then back to back. Once you can ascend and descend across all four strings (5 or 6 if you have a 5 or 6 string bass), you can move on to the next exercise.

E string only

G --------------------------|
D --------------------------|
A --------------------------|
E --0-x-x-0-x-x-0-x-x-0-x-x-|

A string only

G--------------------------|
D--------------------------|
A--0-x-x-0-x-x-0-x-x-0-x-x-|
E--------------------------|

D string only

G--------------------------|
D--0-x-x-0-x-x-0-x-x-0-x-x-|
A--------------------------|
E--------------------------|

G string only

G--0-x-x-0-x-x-0-x-x-0-x-x-|
D--------------------------|
A--------------------------|
E--------------------------|

Exercise 2 - Playing one triplet rhythm on each string ascending

We're just speeding the process up for this exercise, by playing one beat/triplet rhythm for each string starting from E and working our way up to G.

G-----------------------0-x-x--|
D----------------0-x-x---------|
A---------0-x-x----------------|
E--0-x-x-----------------------|

Exercise 3 - Playing one triplet rhythm on each string descending

We're reversing the previous exercise. This means playing one beat/triplet rhythm for each string starting from G and working our way down to E.

G--0-x-x--------------------------|
D---------0-x-x-------------------|
A-----------------0-x-x-----------|
E-------------------------0-x-x---|

Exercise 4 - String skipping

You'll need to learn to skip/jump strings to gain full control of the technique, which is why our next exercise jumps back and forth missing a string out each time. The string pattern is E, D, A, G.

G--------------------------0-x-x---|
D----------0-x-x-------------------|
A------------------0-x-x-----------|
E---0-x-x--------------------------|

Exercise 5 - String skipping in reverse

You'll need to be able to descend while missing strings out so this exercise is the reverse of the previous exercise. The string pattern is G, A, D, E.

G--0-x-x--------------------------|
D------------------0-x-x----------|
A----------0-x-x------------------|
E--------------------------0-x-x--|

Exercise 6 - Pivot note - E string

A pivot note is usually a term used when discussing key changes or chord modulation but pivot note in this exercise means to keep one string grounded while changing the rest. It'll make sure when you see the exercise. The string pattern is E, A, E, D, E, G.

G------------------------------------------0-x-x--|
D--------------------------0-x-x------------------|
A----------0-x-x----------------------------------|
E--0-x-x----------0-x-x----------0-x-x------------|

Exercise 7 - Pivot note - A string

Although most people would keep the E string as the grounded string, it is possible to use any string on your bass. This exercise keeps the A string as the pivot point. The string pattern is A, D, A, G, A, E.

G--------------------------0-x-x------------------|
D----------0-x-x----------------------------------|
A--0-x-x----------0-x-x----------0-x-x------------|
E------------------------------------------0-x-x--|

Exercise 8 - Pivot note - D string

This is the same exercise but having the D string as the pivot point. The string pattern is D, G, D, A, D, E.

G----------0-x-x----------------------------------|
D--0-x-x----------0-x-x----------0-x-x------------|
A--------------------------0-x-x------------------|
E------------------------------------------0-x-x--|

Exercise 9 - Pivot note - G string

This is the final pivot note exercise and we're using the G string. The string pattern is G, D, G, A, G, E.

G--0-x-x----------0-x-x----------0-x-x------------|
D----------0-x-x----------------------------------|
A--------------------------0-x-x------------------|
E------------------------------------------0-x-x--|

Exercise 10 - Power chords

A power chord is something most guitarists will be familiar with and maybe most bass players as well but a power chord is a three string chord which uses the root, fifth and octave. It's famously used in rock and metal styles. We're going to use this three string formation to build our last exercise.

The only rules you need to follow are

Each strike - slap, index, middle occurs on a different strings.
If you start on the E string, you'll play E, A, D.
If you start on the A string, you'll play A, D, G.

If you have a 5 or 6 string bass, you can extend this exercise.

G---------------------x------x---|
D------x------x----x------x------|
A----x------x----0------0--------|
E--0------0----------------------|

About the Author:
Steven Swift - Director of Absolute Music Limited, International touring musician, Rockschool approved music tutor and Roland/Boss academy demonstrator. www.stevenswiftmusic.weebly.com.


Ashutosh Pande
Ashutosh Pande

Author



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