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Fairly New To Slap Bass

Discussion in 'Rockabilly [DB]' started by mikejdexter, Jan 25, 2014.

  1. mikejdexter


    Jul 9, 2009
    Hi guys
    I have been playing jazz style upright bass for a number of years and want to get into slap style. Could you answer some questions regarding slap:

    What synthetic strings hold their tuning well?---I believe Weedwackers are good for slap but do not hold their tuning to well--is this so? and your preference on strings? Do you mix & match makes & type of string? Do you use synthetic mixed with steel strings?

    Low or high action?---Height of strings from bottom of FB?

    Is the FB on a bass set up for slap more flatter than a conventional bass?
    Your expertise most welcome.
  2. Most synthetic strings, whackers included, are pretty stable once they stretch in. Whackers can take over a week to stretch enough to be stable.

    I slap on steel and gut and have used whackers and synthetics in the past. You can mix and match as much as you like, but most people seem to prefer balanced tension across all four strings.

    String height is a matter of string type and personal preference. Very low tension strings like whackers are comfortable to play 1/2" or more off the end of the board. Steel can be slapped comfortably with a jazz-friendly setup. You just have to have enough space between the board and the string to get the ball on the pad of your finger underneath the string -- there is no good reason to hook the entire first knuckle of your fingers under the string.

    Blast Cult and other slap-friendly brands set up their basses with flat fingerboards a la Engelhardt. I have no problem slapping on a bass set up with an orchestra curve in the bridge crown.

    The technique is very similar to dribbling a basketball.
  3. mikejdexter


    Jul 9, 2009
    Thanks KUNGfuSHERIFF--good info.
  4. Johnnyacoustic1


    Mar 8, 2013
    Been playing bass for a few years now and really want to get hold of an upright to let rip on rockabilly I hear a ply version is a good investment as a start where can I pick one up ?