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more... IntermediateLessonsTechniqueSeptember 2009

Cool Techniques: Volume Swells

Slap and Pop
A popular technique among funk bassists, the slap and pop technique can be applied to guitar as well. Slap and pop is basically a variation of fingerstyle guitar, but instead of plucking bass strings with your thumb, you “slap” the string against the fretboard with the side of your thumb. For the remaining fingers, the plucking is altered by first pulling up on the string so that when it’s released, it slams against the fingerboard causing a “popping” sound.


The technique isn’t as eclectic as it may appear. Country and funk guitar players have long used the popping technique as a defining element in the classic twang and funk sound. A Tele- or Strat-style guitar is recommended for emulating this sound, with the pickup selector set out-of-phase between the middle and neck pickups. Try the “funky music” lick below and be sure to get those pops a-poppin’.

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