Larry Graham – Hair bass lesson: unlock the funk legend's slap bass secrets

Larry Graham performs on stage during Dave Koz & Friends At Sea 2013 on September 29, 2013 in Rome, Italy.
(Image credit: Photo by Jun Sato/WireImage)

When we asked Intervals bassist Jacob Umansky to pick his favorite of the 40 best basslines of all time, he chose Hair by Larry Graham and Graham Central Station, which ranked number 37 in our list and featured on the group’s self-titled debut album from 1974. “Larry Graham literally invented slap bass,” says Umansky. “Without him, bassists like me simply wouldn’t exist."

As the style's originator, Graham once said that he was simply trying to create a drum-like sound to flesh out the rhythm section, but his newfangled technique would later pave the way for slap bass playing the world over.

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Nick Wells

Nick Wells was the Editor of Bass Guitar magazine from 2009 to 2011, before making strides into the world of Artist Relations with Sheldon Dingwall and Dingwall Guitars. He's also the producer of bass-centric documentaries, Walking the Changes and Beneath the Bassline, as well as Production Manager and Artist Liaison for ScottsBassLessons. In his free time, you'll find him jumping around his bedroom to Kool & The Gang while hammering the life out of his P-Bass.