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Fretless slapping/tapping???/// =o

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by moopants, Dec 22, 2006.

  1. moopants


    Oct 21, 2006
    Lake Charles, LA
    When I tap and slap on my fretless, I hear yucky overtones all the time. I used a sweatband to mute the strings at the nut while I tapped, and it helped a lot, but I still heard them sometimes. Is it my technique, or just a characteristic of the fretless bass? :bassist:
  2. purduebass

    purduebass \m/ Metal User \m/

    Sep 27, 2006
    West Lafayette, Indiana
    Endorsing Artist: Chaz Farkass Basses
    You shouldn't have problems tapping, at least in the higher registers...Slapping however isn't the best on a fretless unless you have a zero fret or a 24 fret since the slap sound partially comes from the string hitting, slapping, the fret. If it hits the fretboard you can produce harmonics, the overtones you mentioned.
  3. moopants


    Oct 21, 2006
    Lake Charles, LA
    I do have a 24th "fret", but I usually don't try to slap right at that position. It's mainly my popping. I thought it might be the lack of frets. I know some players do slap their fretless basses. Do they use a certain technique for slapping and popping to eliminate the overtones?
  4. ryco


    Apr 24, 2005
    For slap and pop keep your fretboard fingers fairly flat across the board - not so much arching over the other strings. Let the fingers that aren't playing the actual note rest over the other strings, without pressing down, to keep them from ringing. This damping eliminates harmonics, overtones and sympathetic drone from the other open strings.

    When slapping I also tend to play the notes a little farther down on the pad of my fingers (instead of on the fingertips) so the tips rest on the string below; ie if I'm slapping notes on the 'A' string my fingertips are muting the 'E' string. This is a bastard technique - one where you're breaking the rules of the using the usual proper hand position.

    When popping, pop the string and get off of it. Make it staccato as you can and, again, damp it with the other fingers.

    I use these techniques on both fretless and fretted. My fretless doesn't have a zero fret and it works fine. It's a darker sounding slap to be sure because the string is slapping wood instead of metal, of course.

    I don't tap so I can't help you out with that technique. PM Alvaro Martin Gomez A. (members list). He seems to have an excellent understanding of tapping.

    Hope this helps
  5. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Neither 24 frets nor a zero fret are needed to slap on a fretless. The key, as the previous post said, is left hand muting, to keep unwanted ringing from the strings. I've found the same is true on fretted.

    The bass you're slapping on can make a difference. I've gotten my best results from two pickup basses as far as getting a sound like a fretted bass
  6. moopants


    Oct 21, 2006
    Lake Charles, LA
    I've noticed other people keeping their hands flat on the fingerboard of basses, and I never knew why. Sometimes I can do it, but when I start playing faster, I tend to do the normal technique. Which is good, but not for this. :crying:
    I could try muting the strings while tapping, too. I don't do much of syncopated seperate parts, because I can't concentrate on them both! Do the notes on the fingerboard have the be EXACTLY in tune for the overtones not to be harsh? I play very well in tune, but I could be a couple cents off or something.
  7. Bassist4Life


    Dec 17, 2004
    Buffalo, NY
    Do you hear these through your amp, or is it just when you're unplugged?


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