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Slap It!: Funk Studies for the Electric Bass by Tony Oppenheim. Published 1981 by Theodore Presser. 48 pages. CD (or cassette in the old edition) included.

In 1981, Slap It! was released, and was the first comprehensive look at the then emerging style of slap bass. The book is straight forward, and offers good explanations on the technique. Each of the techniques are introduced singly (slap, pop, slap with hammer on, pop with hammer on, slap with pull-off, pop with pull-off), and has an exercise devoted to its mastery. The basic moves are then combined to allow the student mastery of the combination of techniques.

Then the fun begins. The rest of the book is a set of examples, written out in standard notation (no TAB here!), with most of the examples included on the accompanying CD. The approach of learning by example in this book is absolutely essential to developing slapping as part of a player's total style. Too often, slap methods concentrate on technique at the expensive incorporating that technique into actual music. In Slap It!, the examples are very musical, and the student automatically has a sense applying the different techniques over changes, thereby creating melody, in addition to rhythmic riffing. It's the musicality of the examples that sets this book above the host of books that came after it.

The companion CD can serve as a role model for all other companion CDs. Each example has a four count count-in, followed by the example played two times by Tony, and then followed by two times without Tony, allowing the student to continue the groove. There are too many examples of method books' CDs that don't follow the rules of "allow the student to start with the example" and "allow the student to try it by himself."

Slap It! helped a generation of players become familiar with slap bass. It's still the book to guide the next generation.

Rating: 5 out of 5.starstarstarstarstar

Bottom Line:   The first slap method book and still the one to beat.