Bass won't slap?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by MKashlinsky99, Jun 3, 2019.

  1. MKashlinsky99


    Jun 3, 2019
    Hey guys. Beginner bassist here. I started playing bass a few weeks ago, and I'm pretty happy with my progress so far. The thing is, it doesn't make the sound i expect when I slap it. I'm pretty sure my technique is correct, and I can do pops on the G string just fine, but when I try slapping, it makes kind of a pop sound you would hear when the string gets too close to the pickups. Is there something wrong with my bass? Is there some setting I can change so it makes the standard slap sound? (This is the bundle I got BTW, I know it's not the best, but I'm not made of money)
  2. franvarin

    franvarin Supporting Member

    May 30, 2013
    Rhode Island
    Without seeing you play it's not possible le to say for sure. It is likely that your technique is the main part of the issue. There are a couple of other things that can also be a factor. New strings are inherently brighter sounding where old strings can get very dull and thumpy sounding. Also how the bass is eq'd can also affect the sound. Typically you want to boost the low and high end a bit and decrease the mid. That is the typical setting for slap style bass. No worries on the bass you will work just fine.
    mcnach and MKashlinsky99 like this.
  3. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Inactive

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA

    Welcome to TalkBass!!!!!! (Monsters Inc. is one of my kids' favorite movies. OK, I admit I like it too. Cool avatar.)

    You might just need a good setup. Maybe take it to the nearest guitar shop and let them adjust the action. If you are naturally handy, you might be able to watch a few videos on YouTube and do it yourself. But take it slow. Make small adjustments and let them "settle in".

    Lower action may help. ("Action" meaning the distance from the strings to the well as a few other settings like neck relief.)
    MKashlinsky99 likes this.
  4. sikamikanico


    Mar 17, 2004
    If pops sound ok, it’s probably your slap technique. Do pops sound ok on all strings?

    Pickups are probably fine, just make sure you run both pickups on full and tone wide open - that’s the most typical slap sound (though I personally like it better with just the P pickup).

    New strings and good setup should help too, yeah.

    Then practice. Try a variety of slap techniques, there isn’t just one...
    MKashlinsky99 likes this.
  5. MKashlinsky99


    Jun 3, 2019
    Thanks for all the replies, guys. I'll post a video of me popping and then trying to slap later (as it is way early in the morning and I don't wanna wake up my neighbors) I tried messing with the knobs, and I got the same results. I don't think it is the strings, they sound pretty clean when I play normally, and as I stated, I got them only about three weeks ago. If worse comes to worst, I'll go to my local GC and check it out.
    Reedt2000 likes this.
  6. MKashlinsky99


    Jun 3, 2019
    Ok update, I fixed the issue by turning down my first pickup. Thanks for the replies, guys.
    Element Zero and Reedt2000 like this.
  7. Reedt2000

    Reedt2000 Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2017
    Central New Jersey
    Sounds like you might have been putting too much oomph into the slap, causing the string to hit the pickup. Adjusting pickup height can alleviate some of that but you probably need to adjust your technique too. Slap playing is more about finesse then it is hitting hard. When you slap, your thumb needs to only hit the string momentarily then bounce off so the string can ring out. Keep at it, nobody gets new techniques instantly. It can take years to get really good, and no matter how good you are there will always be more to learn.

    Stay the course, all things come in time. Welcome to TB! :thumbsup:
  8. Lesfunk

    Lesfunk Bootlegger guitars : S.I.T. Strings Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2007
    Florida USA
    Are you hitting the string over the pickup?
    You can get a better thump by hitting the string close to end of the FB
    MKashlinsky99 and Reedt2000 like this.
  9. Keger Jupit

    Keger Jupit Inactive

    May 10, 2018
    The Great PNW!!
    Don't know if this will help or not...but here it is.

  10. red_rhino

    red_rhino Currently on Double Secret Probation Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 26, 2001
    Over Macho Grandé
    Slap takes a long time to master. Months/years. If you want to move it along quicker, take some 1-on-1 lessons. All basses can be made to slap effectively, although some are more suited to it than others. It does come down to technique.
    Mili likes this.
  11. Knavery


    Feb 24, 2004
    Westminster, CO
    I was about to say your pickups are too high. :)
  12. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Either slap your thumb on the edge of the fingerboard and stay away from the pickups or lower the P pickup if you still can't control it. And make sure you're getting a good solid hit on the string with your thumb where the note rings out. Takes some practice, but you'll get it. The fingerboard helps you get the solid thumb hit and keeps you from digging it in so far that it hits the pickup.
    Inara likes this.
  13. BassLife77


    Nov 13, 2009
    San Diego
    sounds like the action too close. For slapping the action should be off the frets
  14. TubeDood

    TubeDood Inactive

    May 31, 2019
    Sounds like your bass needs a pro setup.
  15. TubeDood

    TubeDood Inactive

    May 31, 2019
    Once you got that .... spank the plank all the way to the bank ;)
  16. Samatza


    Apr 15, 2019
    I had the same problem with my Affinity J, I dropped the pickup height a bit and it solved the issue. I've since installed an EMG active system and now it has no problem at all.
  17. Yonni


    Oct 31, 2016
    My technique has been driving me mad to the point that I decided slap wasn't for me. I have a bad right (plucking) shoulder injury just now and have had to experiment with changing the height and angle of the bass a lot. Last night I got a really good slap out of the bass by aiming the thumb more downward (as per Scott's technique above). I'd always tried thumb parallel to the string and hitting through rather than bouncing. That was actually the technique my first teacher showed me. It didn't work for me at all. My new teacher recommended trying Ashes to Ashes 4 bar intro as a simple practice piece and I think I've nailed it after 3 years of struggling! This video vindicates by struggle. Thanks for posting.
  18. 4StringTheorist

    4StringTheorist Supporting Member

    I naturally ended up doing the same thing Brian Bromberg describes here, never popping with index, rotating the forearm.