Bonin’ In The Boneyard Riff Lesson – A Thrash Funk Slap Bass Extravaganza!

♪ [music] ♪ Hi, again.
Mark here from TalkingBass. This week, we’re going to be
looking at a super-cool slap line from the band Fishbone,
that features ghost notes, fast octaves, and is
just pure thrash funk. It’s “Bonin’ in the Boneyard,”
played by John Norwood Fisher. So, let’s first have a listen to
the riff, it’s about 130 beats per minute, and it sounds
something like this. ♪ [music] ♪ Okay. Remember the tab and practice
track can be found over at So, just click on the link in
the info below. And while you’re there,
check out the Lesson Map where you’ll find hundreds of more
lessons on every bass topic imaginable. And you can also now download
the totally free Ultimate Top 10 Tips For Slap Bass Beginners
that should help all you budding slappers out there get over all
the common hurdles that we all face when getting started with
the technique. Again, I’ll link
in the info below. So, let’s work
through this riff. So, we’re in F minor,
and we begin with an F, first fret of the E string. Then we have a pop at the third
fret of the D string, okay? So, we’ve just got that
octave pattern there. So, the first F is on beat one,
and then the pop is on the and of two.
So, one, two, and… Okay?
So, that’s the first part. For the next part, we’ve got
this little lick. Okay? So, we start on a B flat,
the first fret of the A string, and hammer on to the C at the
third fret, okay? Then we have a ghost note.
Okay? So, it’s that little dead note. So, I’m just lining the hand
lightly across the strings there. But I will come back to this in
a minute, I’ve got a little technical tip for you.
So… Then… Pop at the E flat first fret of
the E string. Another ghost note
on the A string. Then pop at the F on the D
string, so the third fret. Okay? So, we’re just going back
to a ghost note each time. ♪ [music] ♪ Finally, we have
those two ghost notes. So, I’m just laying the hand
there, slapping on the A-string, bopping on the D-string. ♪ [music] ♪ Okay?
And that’s it. ♪ [music] ♪ So, let’s just put those two
parts together. So, three, and four, and… ♪ [music] ♪ So, you can see there that when
you get to that second part, it’s quite quick. ♪ [music] ♪ Okay? So, you just have to practice it
slowly until you get that action down. Next, we have another cool
little hammer on ghost note lick that sounds like this.
Okay? So, we’re playing the B flat,
first fret of the A string, hammering on to the C again,
third fret of the A string, and then we have slap, pop,
ghost note. So, there’s two ways
of doing this. I’m actually playing A string,
G string there, okay? But you can also play A string,
D string, okay? So… ♪ [music] ♪ So, that’s with the D string. And then, with the G string… So, whichever one is the most
[comfiest], but they’re both ghost notes.
So… ♪ [music] ♪ So, with this lick, you want to
start out really slow. So, just start out with that
hammer on, and then, just lay that hand lightly
across to get those two ghost notes. And just practice doing that
round and round. And take it as slow
as you need to go. I mean, you know, you don’t have
to be embarrassed about having to play really, really slow,
however slow you have to go to begin with, get it down to
that, and then gradually build up. And then, you know, before you
know it, you’ll be up to speed. So… ♪ [music] ♪ Just go round and round on that. ♪ [music] ♪ Okay? So, now let’s just put all of
that together. So, three, and four, and… ♪ [music] ♪ Okay?
So, that’s the line. So, just play that in isolation
to begin with. ♪ [music] ♪ And don’t worry about getting it
all in time at the start, just get those notes
under your fingers. You know, you want to get the
rhythm right to some extent, but don’t worry about it going
out of time because you’re playing it wrong. Just get it really slow and then
just get those notes under your fingers. For the second half of this
riff, we have a repeat pretty much of the first. So, we start on that low F,
pop that high F, and then we have… Just as we did
in the first part. But instead of playing the two
ghost notes then, we just play a single ghost note, and then hit
the B flat at the third fret of the G string.
Okay? ♪ [music] ♪ Then we have two ghost notes. So, slap, pop, and I’m doing
that on the A string and G string.
So… ♪ [music] ♪ Then we have a repeat of the
first part of that lick. So… Okay? So, that’s just how
we played it in the first half. ♪ [music] ♪ Okay? So, that’s that lick.
So… ♪ [music] ♪ Finally, we have a set of octave
patterns running down from the A flat back to the F,
which sounds like this. Okay? So, we start on the A flat,
fourth fret, E string, the sixth fret, D string,
then we just move down a half step or a fret at a time. So, then, G, then F sharp or G
flat, and then back to the F. So, fourth fret, third fret,
the second fret, and back to the F, okay? So, you want to try practicing
that in isolation, too. Just get used
to playing the octaves. Just get used to playing those
at high speed because it’s pretty quick when you’re,
you know, when you’re coming back. So, start out slow and just make
sure to get those slaps in there. Because it’s easy to generally
to get the pops, but sometimes when you’re doing that,
you can kind of mess up the slaps, okay?
So… Okay? So, now, all we have to do is
add those octaves to that second half of the riff, which sounds
like this. ♪ [music] ♪ Okay?
And we come back to that F. So, now let’s… So, finally, we just have to put
those two halves together to create the whole riff,
which sounds like this. Three, and four, and… ♪ [music] ♪ And that’s the whole thing,
okay? So, you just then
cycle it round. And like I said, start out
really, really slow, as slow as you need to go to
keep it clean, and then just gradually build up speed, okay? Now, before I play along with
the backing track again, I’ll just work through the tip
that I mentioned when it comes to the ghost notes. Now, any of you that have seen
any of my slap videos on YouTube or watched through the “Simple
Steps To Slap Bass” course over at Talkingbass will know
what I’m talking about when I mention the Home Position. And the Home Position, you know,
I’ve kind of named it that, but, you know, I’ve not invented it,
it’s just a way that most people play. But it’s a really, really good
way of getting used to playing these ghost notes and
controlling your note duration, okay? So, all we have to do for this
Home Position is to just basically lie the hands across
the strings and mute them. So, what we’re going to do is
take the first finger there and we’ll do this over the third
fret, let’s say. So, lay that first finger down
over the A, D, and G strings lightly. And when you do that,
you’ll probably get some harmonics, okay? So, I’m not pushing down,
I’m just laying it dead weight on there. Then we take the second, third,
and fourth fingers, and we just bring them down like this. So, you can see that second
finger is kind of extending a little past the edge
of the neck. And you should have all those
fingers laid lightly across the strings. So, then, as we slap and pop,
we just get the ghost notes. So, you can see that, you know,
that position gives us ghost notes. But we’re not really just seeing
it in terms of ghost notes, this is the position that you
want to go to whenever you pick up your bass. Because when you, you know,
plug in, you got a loud amp, if you’re in that position to
begin with you, with your volume up, you’re not going to
have any accidents, you know, everything is taken care of. You know, you’re not going to
have any of this kind of thing going on, it’s all taken care
of, okay? So, we start in that position,
and from that position, we have silence, okay? So then, if I was to, let’s say,
play a C, third fret of the A string because the hand’s
in that position, all I then do is simultaneously perform
three actions. I press down the C obviously
with the first finger there, I raise the second, third,
and fourth fingers, and slap all at the same time.
Okay? Now that might seem really
obvious, right, but it is a slightly different perspective
to just thinking, “Oh, I’m going to hold down that
note, you know, and then play.” We’re starting from the silence,
and then allowing the notes to come through. Then, when we want to choke the
note, we just returned to the Home Position. I don’t think about bringing the
fingers down and releasing the pressure, even though that
is what we’re doing, I’m just thinking back to our
original position. So, we get a good muscle memory
for what that feels like, and then, play the note back,
okay? Okay? So, we’re cutting down on the
processes that we have to think of. We’re not having to think press
that down, release that, slap, we’re just thinking that and
back, okay? And that gives us
good note control. Now, as well as giving us good
note control, it’s also perfect for playing ghost notes,
because when we’re in that position,
we get the ghost notes. So, if we go back to the “Bonin’
in the Boneyard” riff, when we start, I’m actually in
the Home Position there. When I play that first F, I then
choke the note on beat two, let’s say. One.
Two. I’m just returning to
Home Position, okay? One.
Two. And then, when I played that
popped F there, you can see I’m still pretty much in
Home Position. I’m just stabbing at it while
keeping all these other strings held down with
these other fingers. You know, if you get used to
this Home Position, you know, and just isolating certain
fingers and stopping with them, it makes everything
a lot cleaner. So… Then… You can see there, the hand is
very clean. I’m hardly moving.
I’m still in Home Position. And when I’m playing the ghost
notes, it’s easy because I’m in that Home Position. Again, when I get to the little
lick, I’m in the Home Position. I play those first two notes and
then just return to the Home Position. So, that lick is really,
really good practice at the Home Position. Because, you can see there,
I’m starting in the Home Position, I play the
notes, I have the hammer on, and then I simply return to
Home Position. Okay? So, you just get used
to going between the two. ♪ [music] ♪ Just round and round.
Okay? So, now bearing that Home
Position in mind, you can work through the riff again and see
if it helps. So, when we start there,
I’m starting with the Home Position and… ♪ [music] ♪ You can see that it keeps
everything nice and clean rather than having other fingers,
you know, spider fingers all over the place, and then trying
to get back for the ghost notes and stuff like that. You don’t have to worry about
any of that because you’re already in this nice clean
position of silence. So, you want to start out
really, really slowly, just build up speed until you
get to 130 beats per minute, and then you can try with the
practice track. ♪ [music] ♪ Okay? So, that’s
“Bonin’ in the Boneyard.” So, remember to like this video,
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info below. And I’ll see you next week. ♪ [music] ♪