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The latest book in the Bass Gym 101 series.
The latest book in the Bass Gym 101 series.
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Bass Gym: 101 Essential Slap Bass Grooves

Author and professional bass player Marek Bero just released his eighth instructional book for bass guitarists under the umbrella "Bass Gym 101" covering highly practical and inspirational topics for your healthy daily practice routines. This time it is all about the essential slap bass grooves. We know. . . there's already a trillion slap bass instructional books and material in the world. However, most of it either covers very basic techniques and exercises (the boring stuff) or then suddenly becomes very technical with double thumb stuff and such. . . usually, not much middle ground is covered with examples for different music styles. It is time to change that all with the new Bass Gym: 101 Essential Slap Bass Grooves book.

You’ll learn how to apply five essential slap techniques: thumb, pluck/pop, percussive tones, hammer-ons, and pull-offs using the fingers of the left hand. In order for all five of these elements to be of proper quality, it is also necessary to make extensive use of the inner surface of the fingers and palms for immaculate muting technique. The aim of the book is to guide you through the practical and professional musical application of the 101 exercises that follow.  

However, in the book you’ll not find any virtuoso techniques such as double-thumb, double-pluck, strumming, double-stops, tapping, etc. The goal is to lay down a solid foundation of slap technique, without the above mentioned "icing on the cake," so popular in the virtual world of viral. Coming from a background of professional touring and being gigging musicians, we believe that slap technique needs a more down-to-earth approach which is suitable for practical musical applications in songs of different genres.

Slap makes you stand out in the band mix, so you want to make sure that it is catchy, groovy, and melodic in the same manner as your other bass lines that you play with your fingers or a pick.

Emphasis is placed on understanding the principles of slap as a technique that can enrich your means of expression and be a valid musical element for practical use in compositions of various musical styles. A tasteful slap bass line can elevate an ordinary sequence of chords to a potential hit—just as much as inappropriately used slap technique can ruin a solidly written song and wear out the patience of your band mates.

In addition to the standard notation, all exercises are also provided with tablature and for each note you will find the recommended fingering. The intention was also to practice playing in all twelve keys and in the widest possible range of positions on the fingerboard.

Each exercise has a modular structure—you can loop any of the bars and practice the details at slower tempos. Looping and dividing exercises into small, playable sections is a great method of managing even technically demanding passages which seem overwhelming at the first experience. The author of the book, professional bass player Marek Bero, made sure that every exercise is not only playable and fun to execute but that it also offers a specific new challenge. You can use any of the exercises in the real musical world and sound fantastic. The author has sought out melodic and rhythmic phrases that are used in everyday musical practice and can be applied to songs in different genres of music.

During your daily practice routine, pay close attention to the quality of your tone, articulation, precise rhythmic phrasing and coordination of different slap techniques so that the result is a high quality musical phrase. It will bring joy not only to you, but also to your bandmates and your audience.

You’ll find mp3s with loops of live drum patterns at different tempos to liven up your exercise process. And of course, all exercises are available to download as mp3 so you can listen or play along.

Bass Gym: Essential Slap Bass Grooves examples. Bass Gym: Essential Slap Bass Grooves examples. Bass Gym: Essential Slap Bass Grooves examples.
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Marek Bero
Bass Gym 101 books, touring & session bass player, football tactics aficionado.