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Couple of questions on slap...

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Lewi_wilko, Dec 20, 2005.

  1. Lewi_wilko


    Mar 24, 2004
    First of all is does anyone else find it impossible to pop on some basses? Would this be due to the gauge level? And is so what is your faveroute gauge level on strings for slap?
    Also my bass at the moment has ernie ball super slinkys and when i first put them on they sounded great but now when i slap on them it just sounds dull and empty, has anyone else had this same problem?
    And finaly ive heard stainless steal strings are good for slap but i have no idea which brand to go for, could anyone point me in the correct direction.

  2. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    You should be able to use the slap technique on any bass with any gauge string... although some basses sound better than others.

    What you are experiencing is the strings getting old.... when this happens, you tend to hear a loss of upper mids and treble response, which is key to many slap tones.

    For me, having a good set-up (i.e., making sure the strings are reasonably close to the neck for a relatively low action) makes a lot of difference.

    And... unfortunately, keeping a relatively new set of strings on your bass.

    Any good roundwoud string should be pretty good for slap. I prefer DR Hi Beams because they seem to hold their treble response longer than most other brands I've used. I prefer steel strings (like the Hi Beams). Some prefer Nickel strings for their smoother feel and less aggressive response.
  3. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    I've always strung my fivers with 045 to 128 and I feel fine with them. Many dedicated slappers use really light strings. Mark King, for instance, uses 030 to 090.

    Roundwound strings lose their tone with use. When you put a fresh set in your instrument, they sound incredibly bright and when you slap the open E, it sounds incredibly clear and powerful, but again, that brightness dies with time and use. So just replace your strings and your slap tone will return. Both nickel and steels work as long as they are roundwounds. Flatwounds don't give you the typical slap tone. Steels and nickels have their own pros and cons:

    - Steels may take a bit more time to get used to them since they have a rougher feel and they are not fretwork's best friend either. More expensive than nickels most of the times. The tone lasts much longer than nickels.

    - Nickels are easier to the fingers and frets and most of the times cheaper than steels, but the tone dies faster.

    As for me, the best roundwound strings I've played are DR Hi-Beams (steels) but they aren't available here and it's a bit expensive to buy them through the Net, so I usually play La Bella Hard Rockin' Steels, which I also like. And they're cheaper than D'Addario XLs (which are nickels - an exception to the norm), the most popular strings where I live. These ones sound incredibly good when new, but not for so long, as expected for most nickel strings IME.