Every so often, when you hear a very fast, very percussive slap line, you’ll be likely to hear a very quick succession of muted notes get snuck into their line. Often times, it flies by so quickly that it can get missed. But when it is heard, it’s really one of those techniques that tickles the ear and gets you to sit up and wonder how to get that quick popping sound (listen around the 22 second mark). I’m talking about double popping on bass.:
Double Pops Are The Answer
From a strictly technical standpoint, the double pop is simply to pop 2 strings one after the other very quickly using the middle and index finger.
This video gives a good tutorial of how to make it happen:
Don’t Pop Out – Pop In Circles
While working this technique out for myself, I that by simply double popping using my fingers and moving my fingers and wrist in a lateral direction, it wasn’t as easy as it could have been to bring my hand back to the strings and reset my position.
To remedy this, I began using circular motion to fix this problem.
Rather than popping and pulling slightly away, what can be done instead is to start plucking with the index finger, then the middle while making a sweeping, rotational motion with the wrist. The result is a natural return to the strings with one clean, flowing motion.
Work This Concept On Your Own!
1. If you’re brand new to double popping and have never tried it on bass, take some time, 15-20 minutes and listen to some notable slap performances and keep an ear out for
2. Experiment with this concept, and this concept only for right now. This is the time where we’re going to get your brain focused on this skill specifically. Work at a comfortable speed, experimenting with how deep you should or should not have your plucking fingers in the strings, how far you end up going away from the fret board when you pluck and if going middle to index or index to middle feels more comfortable.
3. Experiment with the concept we talked about: lateral versus circular motion for the double pluck and see how it works.
4. Once you feel like you have a rudimentary idea of the double pop down, incorporate it in small bits into your normal playing. These don’t need to be massive integration. Just see if you can work in 1 playing pattern that uses the double pop.
Double popping slap lines, from a technical standpoint, is not terribly difficult. Where it gets interesting and creativity can take over is how you work and play with this technique.