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Does slap-n-pop create extra wear on a bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Flux Jetson, Aug 9, 2012.

  1. I'm not a slapper. I've been learning it a little bit, but it freaks me out a little. I always feel like I'm doing damage (or could be doing damage) to the frets or the fretboard. I watch players that do it well and I can't help but wonder if it creates extra wear and tear.

    Is that technique somewhat ~hard~ on a bass fret board or the frets?

    When I do it, it sounds like I dropped the bass with the volume on, or perhaps two guys fighting with hammers in a pots and pans factory. Or like playing the bass with a set of drumsticks. On a good day it sounds like I kicked a metal trash can down the street. Or playing the bass with an electric fan. Or perhaps playing a harp with a chain.

    I do pretty well with the Entwistle tap, but since I'm left handed/play right my right hand isn't talented enough to do slapping with any kind of pleasentness. At least so far.

    I do this thing where I use a metal slip-on pick (like what pedal steel guitar players use), I put it on my finger upside down and sortof ~tap~ the strings with the metal pick - it doesn't take much to get an enormous ringing, harmonicaly rich sound. The attack is hammer/anvil sharp. It's sortof the same idea as the Tony Levin Funky Fingers thing.

    But with slapping and popping, I just get worried that I'll need fretwork at some point and since my main bass is a neck-through and we have no ~real~ luthiers in my area I would have to ship off the entire bass to have fretwork done. Not an appealing idea.

    Does it put the hurt on things?

  2. I get some wear on my frets but I used to use steel round wound strings. I've switched to nickel and those strings don't seem to chew up my frets as much. Also, for a lefty strung righty, look up keith Horne. He is a monster. There are some good vids of him on YouTube.
  3. Dont worry it wont put any hurt on the bass. The worst thing you can do is break a string from popping. Fret wear is probably still the same, but if you have stainless steel frets you dont have to worry at all.
  4. wideload


    Apr 15, 2004
    Salinas, CA
    Hey. OP, you're stealing my "sound"! Back off! :) Thanks for great descriptions of MY feeble slap attempts!
  5. No no ... I don't play left handed instruments strung right. I am left handed and play right handed guitars/basses strung normally for right handed players.
  6. Stilettoprefer


    Nov 26, 2010
    It'll scratch up the finish under the strings if you're a hack like me :D. I have a bunch of scratches on the pick guard of my P and a dip under the G string of my Schecter.

    I haven't noticed any extra wear on the neck or other components, though.
  7. Haahaa! :) You're welcome. My successes with slapping remind me of the time I tried to learn to use a whammy bar (tremolo equipped) guitar .. Floyd Rose to be exact. Sounded like two cats howling on a fence. After a couple of weeks I gave it up and converted the shredder guitar to a slide guitar (super flat fretboard radius - made for an excellent slide axe!).

  8. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    I would be more worried about a metal pick rubbing off paint, you got a pick guard on that bass?

    Also, slapping won't make your frets any worse, but it will wear some marks in the body. Look at every seriously slapped bass, they all have the same wear marks eventually.
  9. the mojo hobo

    the mojo hobo

    Nov 13, 2005
    I'm also a lefty that plays righty. Thanks for providing the excuse for why I can't slap. My right hand just isn't talented enough.:crying:
    izpak and Old Blastard like this.
  10. I'll get around to adding a Warmoth neck w/stainless frets later. First I need to make sure I even like this Squier Jazz bass. I've only owned one other Jazz and it was a MIM active Jazz with the 3-band EQ. I didn't care for it much. Black with a tort pickguard (yuk!) I'm so NOT into the whole tortoise shell trip.

    I use bare/unfinished padouk Warmoth necks on everything I own, stainless frets rule! (as does unfinished padouk - it has this ~feel~ about it). Especially where I live, I don't have to muck around with refretting for ages with SS frets. And there's NOTHING like stainless for smooth/slick string bends. Once the stainless wears-in string bends are close to effortless.
  11. You're not picturing the metal pick technique properly. I don't "pick" the strings, I tap on them from above with the slip-on picks. It's a sortof hammering technique, exactly the way Funky Fingers are used. The metal slip on pick never even gets anywhere near the body. I tap the string much like the hammers in a piano hammer the piano strings. The sound is VERY piano like.

    No, there's no pickguard on the Cort, which is a huge reason why I am buying a Squier Vintage Modified Jazz. IT's something I can wrench on and play with aggression be it with regular picks, or learning to slap.
  12. Yea, it's a very convenient excuse! Haahaa! :)
  13. Thanks for the answers folks! :) I feel a bit better about molesting - I mean slapping my bass now.
  14. G.Bisson


    Feb 26, 2009
    Aggressive slapping and sloppy technique wore out the frets of my first learner bass. The frets had ribbed wearmarks that matched the size of the outer winding of the roundwounds above it. More a consequence of sloppy playing and beatin the **** out of those strings, than playing slap style.
  15. This is my concern. I can get a little ~high spirited~ when I start feelin' things flowing through me.
  16. Hope the warmoth build goes well! I am building a warmoth bass now myself
  17. yes. It will destroy your bass.
    stop popping and slapping immediately.
    wvbass likes this.
  18. Now wasn't that clever!
    gebass6 likes this.
  19. jay loren

    jay loren Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2011
    I've been to a well-known bass store near Philadelphia. When trying out a new bass the owner asked me not to slap saying that it would diminish the value of the instrument. Maybe he can chime in here.
    I have several basses and slap but have not seen any damage yet.
  20. Perhaps he just says that to everyone to avoid the possibilty of fingernail scratches from digging in under the thin strings?

    I think this is a matter of being a bit careful or being willing to accept a bit of battle damage if the bass doesn't have a pickguard. I suppose fret wear would be relative.

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