Larry Graham

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Larry Graham, Jr. (born August 14, 1946 in Beaumont, Texas) is an American baritone singer, musician, songwriter, and record producer. He is best known as both the bass guitar player in the popular and influential psychedelic soul/funk band Sly & the Family Stone, and as the founder and frontman of Graham Central Station. He is credited with the invention of the slapping technique, which radically expanded the tonal palette of the bass, although he himself refers to the technique as "Thumpin' and Pluckin'." [1]

Larry Graham is ranked #3 on Digital Dreamdoor's list of "100 Greatest Rock Bass Guitarists of All Time."[2]



Graham, who is African American,[3] played bass in the highly successful and influential funk band Sly & the Family Stone from 1967 to 1972. It is said that he pioneered the art of slap-pop playing on the electric bass, in part to provide percussive and rhythmic elements in addition to the notes of the bass line when his mother's band lacked a drummer; the slap of the thumb being used to emulate a bass drum and the pop of the index or middle finger as a snare drum.[1] This style has become archetypal of modern funk. Slap-pop playing couples a percussive thumb-slapping technique of the lower strings with an aggressive finger-snap of the higher strings, often in rhythmic alternation. The slap and pop technique incorporates a large ratio of muted or "dead" notes to normal notes, which adds to the rhythmic effect.

This "Slap" bass style was later used by such artists as Les Claypool, Bootsy Collins, Louis Johnson, Mark King, Flea, Peter Hook, Victor Wooten, Jonas Hellborg, Kim A. Clarke (Defunkt), Marcus Miller, Stanley Clarke, John Norwood Fisher, P-Nut, Danny McCormack, Matt Noveskey, Dirk Lance, Pino Palladino and Kenny Franklin (of San Mateo).

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