'crisp' slap tone?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by JoeRules00, Apr 17, 2002.

  1. When I hear other slap riffs, they seem to have a crisp quality that my slapping lacks. What's the best way to attain/build up the crisper sound?
  2. ChenNuts44


    Nov 18, 2001
    Davenport, IA
    what gear are you using?
  3. Squier Affinity P-bass and Squier BP-15 amp, but for me, it sounds more like a issue of the way i play, not what i play with.
  4. ChenNuts44


    Nov 18, 2001
    Davenport, IA
    ime, you're not going to get that 'crisp' slap tone from a p-bass. a nicer amp (or cab with a tweeter if that's your taste) wouldn't hurt either, but i know how that goes... being young and having no money killed my tone for a while, and there was nothing i could do about it. anyway, p-basses sound great when played fingerstyle or with a pick, but they just aren't good slapping basses tone-wise. it's definitely an acquired taste i have trouble describing the sound. it's like a gross honk or bark- definitely not crisp. i think you should try out some other types of basses before you start totally blaming your technique. good technique won't hurt a bit, but there's only so much you can do for a p-bass' slap tone... my .02
  5. James S

    James S

    Apr 17, 2002
    New Hampshire
    It is your playing. You simply need cleaner technique. Their are endless books and videos available but this is not what you need. The fact that you notice this problem says that you have ears. I also suspect you know what notes and rhythms to play? If not, just copy the great players.

    You need to have patience and persistence. A LOT of
    S L O W simple technique building exercises is in order.

    Most students "slap like crazy" yet the sound is usually weak or unclear and groove is almost always weak. This is due to a lack of fundamental technique and discipline in practicing.

    I get lots of students concerned about "Am I doing it right"? More practice!!!!

    It will take longer at practicing the "little things" than you want to spend. But the great slappers went through this stage. Can you practice today for a reward in the future?

    One last thing. The more you practice, the more others
    will call you naturally talented.

    Get into it.!

    Jim Stinnett
  6. ryan morris

    ryan morris Supporting Member

    Sep 11, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    My theory is that you have to be RIGHT ON with slap/pop and everything in that area. When you HIT the note it is instant...that means your fretting finger has to be there asap and in the right spot to get the note heard. When you use fingerstyle there is a 'bit of leeway for that to all happen.... Get what I'm saying? So my advice to you is practice whatever you want to slap and practice it SLOW and pay attention to how it sounds trying to make each note as clear as possible. Eventually you'll build up speed.
    later, Ryan
  7. ryan morris

    ryan morris Supporting Member

    Sep 11, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    :) Looks like me and James were typing simultaneously.
  8. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    I find that if you slap over the end of the fretboard it makes the tone a bit crisper and definatly cleaner...as opposed to over the pickup or in the space between pickup and fretboard....of course the pristine studious way to slap(or so I've been told) is with your thumb right at the end of the fretboard...but too me where your hand is position seriously affects the tone you will get....as the others said,P-basses don't generally have the crisp slap tone that you are talking about...my bass has 2 P pickups and Iget a crisp slap tone....but thats due to much practice(and the fact that they are kick ass EMG p-pickups :D

    personally I'm not super fond of the crisp slap tone...it has its place but I kind of like the raw gritty tone a bit more...thats when I play salsa/flamenco music at least.

    also Ive noticed lighter gauge strings will change your slap tone considerably
  9. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002

    A good foundation is sooo important, but thats not to say you can't rebuild your foundation years later. I know I was one of those types, I just jumped in and slapped like hell, I got really really fast, and I COULD hold a beat...but it was in the long run...weak. for the past two years I've been focusing less on trying to impress people with sloppy(but cool looking :) ) thumb flinging and I've been rebuilding my foundation, practicing basic slap rudiments and working on my tone and balance of notes intensely.
  10. ldiezman


    Jul 11, 2001
    Yeah you really have to get the technique down. Alot of people can 'slap' the bass. But to actually use it as a technique is not what they do. I learn something new all the time about slapping so in no way am I an expert.... yet ;). but it takes time. You have to be hitting the right strings and the right time. The muddiness may be from you hitting more than one string at a time. slow it down a good bit, slapping one string at a time, either the e or a string, the build up your speed doing just this. Its not fun but in time it will help alot..

    Also.. It may be your bass. I'm not knocking the squier name. But Generally, P-basses aren't known for their slap tone. You don't really get a clear crisp sound out of precision pickups usually.

    [edit] not that the tone isn't clear, but probably not the sound you are looking for.
  11. pigpen02


    Mar 24, 2002
    someone's gonna yell at me, but i scoop the mids. that brings it out a bit.

    master muting quickly, that tightens things up a lot. i used to wonder about my technique until i learned to mute popped notes very quickly.

    learn to get out of the root-octave slapping convention, explore lines further up the scale/neck.

    being without funding for great gear is a long hard road to travel, but its worth it. get a job and check out ebay.
  12. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    pig - Sure won't be me. That equalization is pretty essential. Compression goes a long way, too.

    JoeRules - Can you try your slap technique on some nice gear, (like at a music store or on a friend's rig)??? That will settle the "gear possibility" very quickly.

    If it is mainly the gear, you can then isolate which components are holding you back from achieving the sound in your head. A more "slappable" bass may be all you need or an amp with "quicker" speakers.

    Unfortunately, it's usually "the driver", not "the car." "The Slap Bass Program" is the best instructional video for slap bass on the market. It ain't cheap but neither is the instructional quality.
  13. The tone does sound slightly better when played through higher end instruments (American P-Bass, Warwick, and a personal favorite of mine, Cort fretless), but not to an extent that fixes everything.