Méthode de Slap pour contrebasse
par Nicolas Dubouchet
There are very few instructional DVDs about slap technique on the double bass available on the market. The latest of those that are available is Slapology – méthode de Slap pour contrebasse by the French bassist Nicolas Dubouchet (for more information about Dubouchet check out his interview here). It’s 45 minutes long and it was released by Pirate Adventure Productions from France in February 2008.
The video begins with a Dubouchet piece played by a swing trio featuring Anthony Stelmaszack on guitar and Yann Vicaire on drums (Vicaire plays with Dubouchet in the Rockabilly band Charlaz and their old style jazz band Sweet Dixie). In this song Dubouchet plays a solo using riffs to be explained later on in the video. After the song he talks a little bit about the history of slap bass and about the setup that is necessary for playing this technique.
In the next chapter “La grille de blues et sa variante” Dubouchet explains the basic 12 bar blues form and the swing style turn around variation. The video continues with “Le Slap simple” (single slap) and “Le Double Slap – Binaire et Ternaire” (double slap in straight and shuffle rhythm). In the next chapter, “Le Triple Slap binaire et ternaire,” Dubouchet discusses triple slap. In music history slap pattern names are not consistent (read more about it here), so when Dubouchet explains “Le triple slap binaire” he’s speaking about a galloping triple (he also calls it “Rockabilly train”). When he explains “Le triple slap ternaire”, he’s speaking about a regular triplet slap.
In the chapter “Recapitulatif des Slaps Binaires et Ternaires”, Dubouchet explains how to combine the aforementioned basic techniques. The following chapters are “Drag Slap”, “Quadruple Slap” (where he explains Willie Dixon’s quadruple), “Pull Slap” (drag slap combined with a pull-off) and “Conclusion” (in which he gives some advise on how to practice).
The video concludes with the old jazz standard “Avalon” played by Dubouchet accompanied by Cyril Dubilé, the trombonist from Dubouchet’s old style jazz band Sweet Dixie.
Slapology was filmed with two cameras and the picture quality is great. The music (solo bass and the entire band) was recorded with just one Rode tube microphone which gives it an extra vintage feel. The menu is very simple, each section containing a different slap bass solo. Dubouchet’s version of Big Noise from Winnetka, which plays during the title menu, is truly exceptional.
Some potential viewers may be deterred due to the language – first edition of the video is in French. This shouldn’t be a problem, because Dubouchet’s playing speaks for itself and it’s very easy to follow. Newer versions have the option to play the video in English (dubbed, not subtitled) as well. The DVD is available only in PAL, so be sure that your DVD player can play zone2 discs.
Nicolas Dubouchet is a wonderful Swing/Rockabilly player and this video is highly recommended to beginners and advanced players alike!
You can purchase the DVD here.