Can you slap on an acoustic bass guitar?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Ganky, Jan 8, 2009.

  1. Ganky

    Ganky Guest

    Nov 29, 2008
    Cambridge, England
    Thinking of investing in an acoustic bass guitar, though I've never played one and have no idea of their limitations. Currently got a musicman sub and wondering if you can slap and pop on acoustic without ripping the strings apart :p

  2. I have seen it done, probably on YouTube, I can't remember; plus upright players use that as part of their technique although I'm not sure if it's the same hand position that you would use on a bass.
  3. stealyourface

    stealyourface Guest

    Jul 31, 2007
    Towson, MD
    you can, however in my experience it sounds like ****.
  4. I know the bassist from the Violent Femmes uses an acoustic bass as his trademark instrument, and I've heard him slap and pop on a few songs (can't think of the names of the songs at the moment).
  5. rockwarnick

    rockwarnick Guest

    Jul 29, 2006
    Rockville, MD
    you can slap anything. i could slap random people walking down the street if i wanted just might not go over too well.

    in all seriousness. ive never seen/heard anyone do it successfully. <--that includes me.
    and by successfully i mean producing a pleasing sound.
  6. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta (Grant Park!)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    Of course you can.
  7. jgsbass


    May 28, 2003
    Floral Park, NY
    Of course you can slap and pop on it. It just doesn't sound at all like Marcus or Victor. Popping with a piezo pickup is gonna be on the poopy side of tone because it both overloads the preamp and the pickup is sensitive to high frequencies that a normal magnetic pickup can't even read. The setup tends to discourage slapping because light gauge strings don't produce enough sound with an ABG.They usually are strung with some pretty tight strings to maximize their acoustic sound.
  8. lunker

    lunker Guest

    May 27, 2008
    You can, physically, slap and pop an ABG without doing damage. It may (and almost certainly) not sound like generic slap and pop. The most likely sonic result would be slop and poop.
  9. chris.gotfunk


    Mar 21, 2007
    Ashburn, Va
    Yes you can. My friend just recorded his album and he wrote it all on acoustic bass. His site should be up next week and if you get a chance, look into it. He tears up an acoustic bass slapping the crap out of it. Great player. His site is


    Correction. The site is up now!!
  10. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Listen to Jonas Hellborg's "The Silent Life" to hear some serious ABG slapping...

  11. dean owens

    dean owens

    Sep 23, 2008
    pittsboro, nc
    just checked out his site. i dig it. it's kinda... what would the DMB sound like if dave were a bassist and not a guitarist. after "no spend" january is over i might order it off itunes.
  12. I think the OP is asking about mere humans slapping on acoustic basses.
  13. dantheman6690

    dantheman6690 Guest

    Aug 10, 2007
    I learned to slap on my victor bailey acoustic. Personally I love that bass and I don't think it sounds bad at all. It just might hurt a little more if you pop where the hole is because, for me anyway, I found that more of my finger pulls against the string than on an electric and it has more potential to rip you're fingers up, especially when you don't have great calluses yet.
  14. b4nny


    Aug 24, 2008
    Bellevue, WA, USA
    I have no experience with acoustic basses, but that last sentence made me laugh!
  15. bassnug47

    bassnug47 Guest

    Oct 7, 2007
    Birmingham AL
    life is good, Dead is better
    Ive done it before.... it didnt sound very good though.
  16. +10000 to Jonas Hellborg examples. Look him up on youtube, I'm sure you'll find a video of him ripping it up on an acoustic!
  17. Bassflute


    Jun 24, 2006
    Endorsing Artist: MTD basses and strings; Bergantino Amps & Cabs
    hear hear.

    There's a time and a place for everything, and that's not one of them.

  18. Baird6869

    Baird6869 Supporting Member

    Absolutely! Slapping on an ABG with new(er) roundwound strings sounds better IMO than many basses (eg.. my P basses or my old Gibson SG RI).

    It won't be a Jazz or a Stingray, but IMO ABG's have that high end thump and sounds pretty cool.

    I wouldn't gig one and play funk or RHCP, but around the campfire or at an informal jam I definately can get funky on an ABG.
  19. Eminor3rd

    Eminor3rd BLAAAAARRGGHH!! Supporting Member

    Feb 10, 2008
  20. slapping to create a percussive sound is done on acoustic instruments all the time...however, the technique is a bit different than a solid-body electric...

    I don't own an ABG, but I do "slap" on my acoustic guitar...I attack with a lot less velocity and really don't let the notes ring out, I just do it to get a pseudo-snare drum thing happening.