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“Stu Hamm: Slap, Pop & Tap for the Bass” was originally
released on VHS tape in 1987. I recently watched the 2008
DVD rerelease by the Music Sales Corporation. Once again,
Woody Mann provided the introduction for this instructional
disc, which was directed by Mark Kaplan.

Stuart or “Stu” Hamm (1960 – ) rose to fame playing with
guitarists such as Steve Vai and Joe Satriani, and later
released his own solo projects. “Slap, Pop & Tap for the Bass”
is an apt title for this 55-minute DVD, because Hamm clearly
illustrates these performance techniques at varying speeds,
while demonstrating right and left-handed methods separately
and jointly. Like his fellow bass guitarist, Stanley Jordan
(1959 – ), Hamm achieves amazing feats, including renditions
of the first movement of Ludwig Van Beethoven’s
“Moonlight Sonata” and the “C Major Prelude” from Book One
of Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Well-Tempered Clavier.” He also
has a background as a pianist, and used piano music for these
bass guitar demonstrations, effectively executing his
arrangements.

As is customary with the Hot Licks DVD series, Hamm’s
examples are accompanied by printed notes at the bottom of
the screen, as well as a bonus feature with indexes of all of the
exercises and a tuning menu. Triplets, major and minor arpeggios,
contrapuntal techniques using both hands, and other methods
are explored in-depth. This DVD concludes with Hamm giving
a 1987 performance of one of his own compositions. Hamm is
a fine teacher, and I highly recommend this disc to bassists
who wish to advance their playing to a level beyond
conventional methods.

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