best neck/fretboard setup for slap bass

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by gruffpuppy, Nov 14, 2000.

  1. any views i.e. maple neck, maple fretboard
  2. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I don't think the materials make that much difference - although I personally prefer a rosewood/pau ferro fretboard.

    I think what is more important, is the action of the bass, that you have sufficient spacing to be able to get your fingers between the strings and I also think a bolt-on neck can often sound better for slap - something that is debatable, but has been explained by Michael Tobias as the lack of fundamental making it sound "tighter" - i.e good for slap. Jumbo frets probably help as well, but aren't essential in my experience.

    But a lot of players slap on basses that aren't ideal for this and subsequently get their own sound - like fretless is probably not a good idea for the inexperienced , but can get a unique sound. My own feeling is that some basses lend themselves to slap more than others - but in the end it's probaly over 90% down to the technique of the player. If you're not muting properly for example, then even if you have the ideal, "killer" slap bass, then it's going to sound horrible.

    High action can make slapping harder, but if you are looking for a particular sound you might want this.
  3. Having slapped on both maple, rosewood, phenolic, ebony, bolt-on and neckthru, I can attest to some very large differences in all of them.

    Maple - very bright but with a tempered tone probably from the fact that it is still wood doing the work

    Rosewood - warmer, less bright but it really brings the bottom end out for more rump shakin' bump!

    Phenolic (or Ebonol) - Good hard attack but without the clacky type sound of maple - I don't know why.

    Ebony - quickly becoming my favorite fret/fingerboard material. Good definition and plenty of bottom. String choice will go a long way to tuning the sound.

    Bolt-on Neck - If you're looking for the classic J-bass sound, you can't do without a bolt on. I love it but there are good ones and better ones. I will probably be investing in a fretted Warmoth Jazz neck with ebony fretboard for an upcoming project.

    Neck-thru - If you are looking for the very tight studio slap tone, I think a neck-thru will do very well. Out of my current line up, my neck-thru Kawai has the best slap sound. This one has a light colored rosewood neck. I used to have an Ibanez Artist EQ that was neck-thru with ebony. That was the best I've ever owned.