Anyone made a "slap plate" to protect their fretless board?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by junglebike, Apr 2, 2003.

  1. junglebike

    junglebike Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2003
    San Diego, CA
    So my de-fretted Tune bass's rosewood fingerboard is getting all torn up at the heel from slapping. Has anyone figured out a good way to protect against this?

    I saw that F-basses have a "slap plate" available as an option. It's basically a 1/4" long brass fingerboard extension -- the strings hit it instead of the soft fingerboard. Seems like it would give me a better slap tone and keep my bass from deteriorating.

    Any suggestions on how to go about making this? It has to be radiused to match the fingerboard, which is a non-trivial task... at least the body is flat.
  2. Coating the board with epoxy should make it durable enough to withstand slapping. I've never done this, but it's supposed to make the board far durable so that roundwounds don't damage the rosewood.
  3. Phat Ham

    Phat Ham

    Feb 13, 2000
    Of course that would also change the tone of the bass.
  4. I have a Pedulla Rapture and a Carvin B4 kit that I installed a "slap frets" on. Even though the carvin board is ebony, I was still hammering it. The Pedulla has a softer board, looks like rosewood, but it has the coating on it. This was starting to get a little chewed also.
    I used some old frets from a de-fret project I had done. I mounted them on a nice piece of hardwood, and attached that to the basses with double sided tape. The hardest part about it was figuring out the exact height to make the block, what with the tape, and fret itself. They both turned out pretty much like I wanted. I was hoping for a little more 'zing' from the fret. It doesn't add much of any zing at all, but it has stopped the hammering at the end of the fingerboard. It has not however stopped or prevented damage to the board along the upper octave, as the string still vibrates along it's length when slapping. But it's an improvement.
  5. bassiclybass


    Mar 1, 2003
    okay i'm feeling generous so here's a little known secret;instead of spending $200. on an epoxy coating or doing any mods,go to the plastic store and get a strip of 2 mm self adhesive clear mylar,enough to do the whole fretboard.take the strings off,put it on,trim the exess w/a razor blade,and you just saved $195.sounds great,lasts a long time.i had a piece on my fender for ten years.gonna save your board too.try it you wont be sorry dg:bassist:
  6. junglebike

    junglebike Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2003
    San Diego, CA
    mylar? Wow, sounds interesting. How easy is it to remove in the event of less-than-satisfactory results?

    I might try it on HeavyDuty's cheap-o fretless Steinberger that I just got in the mail...

    what "plastic store" do you have in mind? Not exactly sure where I would get this
  7. Does this mylar stuff change the sound at all?
  8. junglebike

    junglebike Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2003
    San Diego, CA
    One other thing -- 2mm is pretty thick -- enough to require a new nut, I'd guess. Do you mean 2 mils? (.002")

  9. bassiclybass


    Mar 1, 2003
    sorry,dont know metrics, 2 millemeter i guess is .002? shouldnt have to do anything to the nut.soundwise (subjective)to me it gives it move sizzle and snap like resin coating(jaco used boat resin i think)i love what it did to my take it off unpeel and use adhesive remover.oh yeah did i tell you to get self-adhesive calif i go to Tap Plastics.if you dont have one i guess call around.
  10. junglebike

    junglebike Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2003
    San Diego, CA
    Allrighty... just phone ordered some of the stuff from TAP plastics. Thanks for the tip -- I'll try it out on the Steinberger and let y'all know how it goes...

    I'm all about the sizzle and snap:D
  11. Sweet, I'd love to hear how that turns out. It sounds like a much easier, cheaper and cleaner option than epoxying. I hope it's really strong because I plan to do quite a bit of slapping.
  12. Slapping on a fretless? You just ruined my day......
  13. 2 mm is about 0.080". That's a decent change in height. But sounds like it might work okay. Would probably totally change the tone though? Or is that desired?
  14. Bard2dbone


    Aug 4, 2002
    Arlington TX
    Slapping on a fretless isn't necessarily a bad thing. The only time I use a lot of effect is when I kick in the octaver and chorus so I can slap my fretless and do the Pino Palladino thing.

    Maybe it aint pretty. But it makes booties shake.

    And, a new addition. I got the idea from here.

    Stevie Wonders 'I Wish' with the octaver on so I can play it up on the neck. It's a workout but it's worth it.
  15. bassiclybass


    Mar 1, 2003
    i used to do a funk gig 5 nites a week so i slapped the sh*t out of the axe.the mylar allowed me to use fretless on what was obviously a fretted gig.finger style gets more definition too.some technique tricks and a knowledge of eq'ing played a big part also,but very way more bite and spank w/ the will show some scarring,but that will NOT affect anything at all.even w/ the stuff on for ten years,it didnt need to be changed i just felt like it.looks REAL cool too.Let me know how it worked. Dave Grant:bassist:
  16. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    It sounds great.
    Different, but great.
    It's also a wonderful feeling.
  17. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    Polyester film (one brand name is Mylar®) is available from my suppliers in thicknesses of .002' - .010", so bassiclybass's material is almost certainly .002", not 2mm (which would be.079"). So there should be no need to re-cut a nut.
  18. junglebike

    junglebike Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2003
    San Diego, CA
    Man, this sounds like just what I'm after. I just want to do a passable slap tone. Just bought an EBS taurus, which has a built-in octaver, so I'll try it out for sure.

    Will post a full report when the mylar arrives.

    I *thought* they said "two mills..." on the phone... yeah, that's really really thin.

    Bassiclybass -- did you do any prep work on the board before you applied this mylar sheet?
  19. 2 mils = 0.002"

    2 millimeters = 0.080"

    That's 400% different :D

    Make sure it's 2 mils, and you'll be good to go. Got me interested now, just as something to mess with.
  20. bassiclybass


    Mar 1, 2003
    no prep needed,just make sure its clean.when putting on the mylar,stretch it out a little,put on the center of board first,and work to the outside.then come back w/a credit card and take out any wrinkles or bubbles.always work in a straight line from the center to the edge.then get a safety razor to to the close attention that youre not taking any wood off w/ the trim.string it up and go!!