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Are BTB harder to slap on?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by JFT, Aug 31, 2002.


  1. Hi I started bass only 2 months ago and got myself a BTB-400.

    After some course I'm finally improving at slapping with my BTB.

    I haven't played other basses since I got my BTB up to the last week where I tried (and retried) the following:

    2 different MIM Jazz, Dean Edge 4, Spector NS-2002b, G&L 1500, G&L L2000 and a StingRay 5 (WHAT AN AMAZING BASS!!!!).

    I'm was kind of shocked to realize I was WAY better at slap with all of these bass compared to my BTB ?!? Even though some of those had old string?!?

    With my BTB I'm having a really hard time having the note "ring" after the slap. Is it me or it is extremely "sensitive" to thumb contact?

    I'm sure it's not my string as I experimented with several sets during the last month (DR Hi-Beam SS, SR-2000 and I'm currently playing DR Sunbeam)

    Could it be a setup question? Or it's simply the wood? I can understand a StingRay or G&L to have better wood/quality but I'm shocked by the MIM J, the Dean and the "small" Spector...

    Can anybody shed some light?

    Thanks

    P.S. I tried an SR5 tonight and WOAH. I'm totally spellbound. THIS is my dream instrument... Even not plugged-in and with my newbie fingers it slap marvelously and rang more than my BTB amplified...
     
  2. Ian Perge

    Ian Perge Supporting Member

    May 11, 2001
    Evansville, Indiana
    The first thing that comes to my mind is the question "Have you had the bass set up to your standards?"

    A good professional setup can do wonders in improving the playability of any bass you own. IMHO, it's the best $30-$50 you can spend on your instrument. I'd recommend taking in down to a local tech (ask around the local "scene" as to the more skilled ones), chatting with him/her for a little bit about your likes, dislikes and playing style and see what s/he recommends.

    As too some of your other questions, the BTB-400 has a basswood body and fairly thin maple top which isn't the ideal for slapping (I personally prefer a more "focused" sound coming from a heavier wood such as alder or ash). In its favor, however, the BTB does have a fairly wide neck and 35" scale which helps improve the the slap playability (IMHO, of course. Your mileage may vary).

    I'd say continue with the Ibanez for a while still. You're only two months into a long journey, and you've scored a damn nice first instrument. It took me three years to upgrade from my first bass - a "Pro Session." Imagine a P-bass copy constructed by stoned monkeys... ;)

    PS - don't let people give you any guff for playing an Ibanez. I still own my first "real" bass, an SR-800 (which I've converted to a fretless as a decent quality learning tool), and a SR-1206 (a beautiful neck-through flame maple/mahogany bodied bass that's the equal of instruments twice what I paid). Play what brings out the music in you, and not what people say is "better."
     
  3. scarred is very right
    get your bass set up and it should be a lot easier

    ive got a BTB 405
    the only slapping problem i had was that when i got it i was going from a four string.
    But now im over it ;)
    So no i wouldnt say theres anything wrong with a BTB for slapping
     
  4. Thanks for the info (and the pat in the back :) ) it's welcome!

    Could you explain me what will a tech do that I can't?

    I mean there's only 4 things to adjust:

    Truss rod,
    String height,
    Intonation,
    and pickup height

    I'm used to do my own guitar setup which has a floyd wich adds to the usual:
    Trem Height,
    Trem Angle,
    Trem Spring

    So I'm not really scared to do it myself. Altough I must admit I don't like messing with the trussrod.

    The "only" pitfall to bass adjustment I can imagine is each string having a different height adjustment.

    What kind of adjustment should I need to do (ask for)?

    I play fingerstyle and some slap say in a 70/30 proportion. I "loath" buzz but I understand action must be low for slap right?

    Right now I'd say that my slap sound is "thin" on the BTB and dies quickly compared to the previously mentioned basses. I think my pickup are somewhat high... any idea?

    Thanks again!
     
  5. icks

    icks

    Jul 12, 2001
    Charleroi, Belgium
    I got the BTB 405 and i slap without any problem ....
     
  6. Noobai

    Noobai

    Aug 25, 2002
    Stanford, CA
    how much did your 405's cost? Ive been wanting one really bad
     
  7. YOU'RE NOT ALONE IN YOUR SLAPPING WOES.
    I OWNED A BTB1005 FOR A FEW MONTHS. GREAT SOUNDING BASS AND PLAYED WELL FINGERSTYLE, BUT SLAPPING WAS DIFFICULT TO GET ANY KIND OF REAL SOLID ATTACK ON THE STRING. WHAT I NOTICED AS A POSSIBILITY FOR ME WAS THE FACT THAT WHERE THE NECK JOINS THE BODY ON THE BTB, THE FRETBOARD CURVES IN MAKING THE FRET THAT "I" NORMALLY WOULD CONTACT ON A SLAP ABOUT 1/2" FURTHER AWAY! OF COURSE, EVERYONES TECHNIQUE IS DIFFERENT, BUT THIS IS A SMALL PROBLEM I RAN INTO ON THE BTB!
     
  8. JTF
    I have a Stingray 4 that I use almost exclusively for slap/thumb style. The reason (for me) that it is suited to the task is that the radius of the neck at 11 inchs is a bit flatter and I found a flatter board to be easier for slap. Also, regarding set up, mine is set up for slap with the action higher than I'd normally have it which allows my thumb to bounce off the strings a bit better and also to double slapping, using your thumb like a pick almost on the down and the upstroke. The key is to only play the groove or lick as fast as ypou can do it cleanly and with a good tone. Slart very slowly, use a metronome or drum machine and slowly bring it up to speed. Doubling and using the rake (popping with two fingers) will also help you along.

    Have fun!
     
  9. patrickj

    patrickj

    Aug 13, 2001
    Baltimore, MD
    Am I the only TB'r that can't stand the sound of slap/pop?

    :D
     
  10. ldiezman

    ldiezman

    Jul 11, 2001
    Nashville
    YES!!!!! :D

    well.. Jazzbo to.. but he doesn't count ;)
     
  11. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Welcome to Talkbass.:) No need to yell, we can hear you just fine.
     
  12. mostho

    mostho

    Aug 23, 2002
    Italy
    Better you never try a G&L L-2500 for slapping

    otherwise you will fall in love with it....

    BTW your is great bass... but for slapping you cannot reach aan enough strong sound I suppose, cos you don'ìt have that clear woods and not enough room with your pickups I suppose.

    If I'm in worng just tell me!!

    Ciao
    mostho
     
  13. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND
    Nothing wrong with a BTB for slapping. I tried one out at my local music shop yesterday. Nice bass. I slapped Higher Ground over and over and over at a high volume on this really cool amp until they made me leave the store. I was totally rockin, I don't know what their problem was.:confused: :D ;)

    *I hope you all realize the above statement was a JOKE*

    Seriously, though, I did try a couple of them out yesterday. I don't slap/pop at music stores usually, and yesterday was no exception. I would think they should work pretty well for it, with the wider spacing. Not much help, sorry.:)
     
  14. Thanks for all your input.

    gecko: Your explanation (about neck joint) could explain what I experienced. On the other basses I tried I was slapping higher since there was no "partial" fret... I'm going to try slapping the BTB past the last fret around the same spot...

    Count Bass(ie): Thanks for the setup suggestion I'll try raising my action. I'm not sure I understand how to do double slap though, more specifically the thumb position. I slap with the knuckle of my thumb not the tip so I don't see how my tip could go underneath to sound the upstroke :confused: Can you tell me more?

    patrickj: I guess it's because everyone wants to have some tricks to impress ;) In my VERY limited experience slapping is what tend to impress the most non-bassist, a bit like tapping impress the non-guitarist... And add to that the sound is SO cool. It's almost like playing a different instrument!!!

    mostho:
    I did tried one at the same time I tried the L2000 and the 1505 and it was good but it wasn't even close to the SR5 in my taste at least. As a side note there is a larger price different here between my BTB and the GL-2500 (1000$) than between the GL-2500 and the StingRay5 (500$) but I felt the difference in built quality and sound to be bigger between the later... Mind you I don't trash the G&L I really dig their guitar & basses but if I had 2000$ now to put on a bass I would go straight at the SR5.

    Ryan Lunneborg: The spacing is really good for slap it's the sound/tone which is giving me problem...
     
  15. Count Bass(ie): Thanks for the setup suggestion I'll try raising my action. I'm not sure I understand how to do double slap though, more specifically the thumb position. I slap with the knuckle of my thumb not the tip so I don't see how my tip could go underneath to sound the upstroke Can you tell me more?

    JTF,
    sure can B!! Instead of bouncing directly off the strings like we normaly do, you use your wrist a bit more and slap your knuckle (thumb) in a downward motion, hitting the string as you go by and in reverse on the upward motion. I first saw this technique at a Bella Fleck & the Flectones show. I couldn't imagine how Victor Wooten was getting the sounds and notes he was slapping. I watched carefully trying to understand and had one of those "That's how he does that!" moments!!
    It's a v.cool technique and I think that on Cliff Engle's site, Cliff talks about and gives a lesson on just how to do that with a video too!!
    Check it out at http://www.bassically.net/lessons/online_lessons.htm

    Zee
     
  16. Thanks for the explanation and the link I'll check it!

    P.S. It is JFT not JTF :)
     
  17. Lol...I remember watchin ya play "Dig" on that bass. Sounded okay for the whole minute ya played it heh.
     
  18. Hi JFT..


    I own a BTB 405 and I think it's a very good slapper.

    It wasn't so dificult for me to get used to the 5 strings because of the string spacing.. But when I first grabbed it, there where some important factors that wouldn't make slapping very easy and nice sounding.


    FIrst.. My btb came with very high action.. which is definately not good for slapping.. If yours has high action adjust it.. I would recommend you to ask someone how to do it properly or check for instructions in the forums.

    then.. Change those strings man.. If yours came with the same stock strings than mine.. I bet they are too damn heavy.. I'd recomend you to get some light gauge nickel rounds..

    Edit: I read that you already tried different sets of strings.. But If I'm not wrong, the btb400 series come stock with DR Sunbeams, as I read somewhere here in talkbass.. Are the ones you installed lighter than the stock ones?
     
  19. Hi Luis,

    When I got mine it was strung with GHS I think (red phelps) anyway. I'm with Hi-Beam SS and I've grown used to it. But I still slap better with any other bass I try :(

    My action is currently medium-high (I need to take it to a luthier) but I've had it with low action for a while (buzz like crazy). Anyway I have to suffer a NO SLAP period until I moved to a bigger place as my wife gets mad when I practice slap :D
     
  20. Aloha all Talk Bass members / Hello from Hawaii.

    My brother has a BTB (am thinking Ibanez), and I noticed some hardship, though it has
    quite a fat rounded bottom tone, which could
    be great bottom for slap.

    One thing I did notice though is even at it's lowest settings, that the string height was still high in the sky. What I'm saying is that the string height adjustment was 'bottomed' out already, can't go any lower.

    You also need to watch...as these basses
    have a 2 truss rod neck...I may recommend that you take your 'axe' to a luthier and see if
    he can make some settings.

    I didn't fool with my brother's bass, as maybe a luthier may need to add a 'shim' or something, and that may require some shimming etc.

    Sorry I couldn't be of more help...

    Aloha a again

    Vern
    bassplayer60