Slaps tented or flat - or maybe a misunderstanding

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Slaps tented or flat - or maybe a misunderstanding

Postby burke » Mon Dec 05, 2016 12:56 am

My little epiphany re: slaps was when I started doing them with a flat hand.

A lot of slap explanation talks about using a tented hand or a cupped hand.

Mine didn't work well until I read about using a flat hand and visualizing playing
though the skin [ie: as if you were trying to hit with your finger tips below the skin] and grabbing it

I was watching a guy on youtube tonight who was espousing the tented version, but when I watched closer he was actually

playing with a flat hand ... the tenting part was really the result after the fact not the technique from the outset

So you go in with a flat hand ... smack through the skin ... and grab ... the result is a 'tented hand'

It's the result of the technique and not the actual technique itself.

When I try to 'tent/cup' my hand before playing a slap it hurts! When I play flat handed and the tent

comes after ... its effortless, loud, crisp and painless
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Re: Slaps tented or flat - or maybe a misunderstanding

Postby jorge » Mon Dec 05, 2016 2:01 am

Much of learning the slap comes from sitting there, hitting the drum in different ways and studying the sound and how it feels. Sounds like you are making much progress. Play for the sound, but also pay attention to how your hands feel, you want to develop a technique that avoids injuring your hands over the many years you will be playing. A good teacher who really plays well and has excellent technique can help a lot, as can watching great players like Pedrito Martinez on YouTube and live, but it is mainly you that develops your technique.
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Re: Slaps tented or flat - or maybe a misunderstanding

Postby rhythmrhyme » Thu Dec 08, 2016 4:50 pm

I'm with you Burke -- tented hand = injury!

A closed slap that involves the grabbing action you describe is a good approach to getting a crisp, clear sound. It's how my first teacher, a cuban rumbero, taught me. After a while I didn't need to work at 'grabbing' the head, the sound was just there.

Keeping your hand flat will also allow you to transition that closed slap to an open slap -- IMHO both sound best when approached with a flat hand. With the open slaps I keep the djembefola advice in mind i.e. 'open' fingers/hand, which I've come to understand actually means relaxed hand so my fingers can flex a tiny amount after my palm hits the drum and so they then bounce immediately off the head.
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Re: Slaps tented or flat - or maybe a misunderstanding

Postby jorge » Fri Dec 09, 2016 4:30 pm

Both flat and "tented" can work and sound good (or bad) without hurting or injuring your hand. They sound a bit different, which you can use to expand your vocabulary on the conga. It is all about practicing critically and intelligently with just you and the drum. These are subtle but important things no one can teach you, although a good teacher who has good technique can correct obvious errors.
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Re: Slaps tented or flat - or maybe a misunderstanding

Postby burke » Fri Dec 09, 2016 8:49 pm

Many ways up da mountain :wink:
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