How to get Louis Johnson Slap Sound

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Bluemoon4655, Apr 8, 2014.


  1. Bluemoon4655

    Bluemoon4655

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    Ive played bass solidly for about a year and a half, so Im in no way up to speed with everyone else on this forum on bass terms and stuff, so please excuse my sophomoric approach to trying to describe this.


    -So I bought a pretty nice Fender Deluxe active Jazz Bass as my second bass guitar(which I love) when I found out I was pretty good with my Squier. I get a nice slap sound when I turn the preamp up. I have a fender rumble amp. Anyways, I've always wanted to get the Louis Johnson slap bass sound out of my fender, but havent and I went to guitar center to finally try a Sterling Stingray to see if that would just somehow magically make that nice poppy slap sound Louis Johnson gets. I literally plugged the thing right in and starting slapping after I turned what I think was the tone knob all the way up. Needless to say I was utterly blown away at how I was hearing the Louis Johnson sound I've been trying to achieve at home, and the bass itself played like butter. I was playing on a really nice big amp (dont remember what kind), but it had an amp head and stuff.

    My question is, can I get that sound with my Fender if get a nicer amp, or does Sterling make that specifically to be able to achieve that sound because its similar?

    Any tips or anything would be great, thanks.
     
  2. raal

    raal

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    a stingray will get you there for the most part but if you really want the thump the sabre is the way to go. i'm not so familiar with the current ernie ball or sterling offerings but i would guess a HH gives a little more flexiblity over a H.
     
  3. Muziekschuur

    Muziekschuur

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    Slap it really hard....... Mr Johnson destroyed his thumb multiple times.... Now he uses the hand too.... Because there were concerts he had to play but his thumb was broken.... Go figure...
     
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  4. Funkmabassup

    Funkmabassup

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    too actually answer the TS question: no you wont get the exact louis johnson slap sound on a fender, you will need a stingray or similar musicman, but with the right eq you can probably come closer, but still the stingray sound is pretty unique
     
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  6. Maxdusty

    Maxdusty Supporting Member

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    no kidding...Louis Johnson was a childhood hero of mine, along with Marcus Miller and Stanley Clarke. I used to play some of his bass lines but nowhere near the intensity he plays with- he's really thumping hard, not surprised he would have hurt himself a few times.
    To the op, the Fender Jazz along with the Stingray are the two best slapping basses around (the P-bass I would say is also in there somewhere but it's not as punchy as these two.). I use the Stingray and Jazz pretty equally if I play funk- actually my preference is with the Jazz in terms of playability. The punchy sound from a Jazz has more treble/mid than the Ray which due the pickup provides is capable of a deeper punchy sound. That's the difference you're hearing. An amp with adequate EQ should help make the Jazz sound a little bit more like the latter.

    @Funkmabassup beat me to the punch regarding the Eq.
     
  7. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass ****

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    I find I can get closer with a P than with a J.

    As far as slapping the bass as hard as you can: I probably avoid that approach, especially as a beginning/intermediate player. Control and consistency is probably more beneficial in this stage.
     
  8. Maxdusty

    Maxdusty Supporting Member

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    You don't really need to hit it that hard too :) a lot of it is really all for show. (also, I think he got a kickback on bass string sales as I recollect breaking a lot of D and G strings thanks to trying to play like him when I was young. Hard for a teenager on a budget. I don't think I broke any strings playing Rush or the other kinds of music I was into at that time.
    Louis Johnson also used to play the P Bass as well as an Alembic. Leo gave him the Stingray to promote when the bass first came out.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2014
  9. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Supporting Member

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    You simply cannot sound like Louis Johnson on a Jazz Bass. LJ on a Precision is a very different sound. Listen to the first Brothers Johnson album, "Look Out for Number 1," for his Precision sound. "I'll be Good to You," and "Get the Funk Out Ma Face," are good examples of that tone.
     
  10. chilliwilli

    chilliwilli

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    I thought he just used a pbass to pose on the album cover......,.,
     
  11. Buffalo ill

    Buffalo ill Supporting Member

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    Whatever he used with George Duke at the Tokyo show is the best (imo) slap tone ever! Youtube his solos from that show.
     
  12. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player

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    How to get Louis Johnson Slap Sound?

    Hire Mr. Johnson, and pay him handsomely.
     
  13. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Supporting Member

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    Listen to I'll be Good to You (P-bass) and Stomp (Sabre), and you will hear the difference.
     
  14. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Supporting Member

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    This is one of my favorite Louis Johnson P-bass cuts.
     
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  15. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Supporting Member

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    That was so funky, I had to post another! All you young folks who say you can't slap a P-bass did not grow up when I did!
     
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  16. Maxdusty

    Maxdusty Supporting Member

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    Dr. Cheese is right. A lot of the slapping was indeed on that Musicman and there's no mistaking that sound. My most played song by the Brothers Johnson was "Ain't we funkin now". Louis Johnson is a heck of bass player - really helped get me interested in the instrument and that yes, it was indeed possible for the bass player to steal the show. lol!
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2014
  17. kodiakblair

    kodiakblair

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    Woke up with " Stomp " playing in my head yesterday. Not a bad start to the day and as a man who grew up with 70s and 80s British Punk it says
    a lot for LJ. Man's a genius.
     
  18. chilliwilli

    chilliwilli

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    Your right I think I was confusing him with Bernard Edwards who posed with a bass that he actually didnt play on an album. Some crazy bc rich or something
     
  19. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Supporting Member

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    Bernard Edwards did play a BC Rich in concert. I know I saw him play one live in 1980.
     
  20. chilliwilli

    chilliwilli

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    I give up then bah!!!
     
  21. Maxdusty

    Maxdusty Supporting Member

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    There's a video somewhere in YouTube of Louis Johnson playing a Kramer. So he did play or try some other basses on stage- much like all of us, a little variety is nice to have.
     

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