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fretless slapping

Discussion in 'Ask Steve Lawson & Michael Manring' started by Dewees, Jun 6, 2000.

  1. Dewees


    May 4, 2000
    Before I try this, I thought I'd ask to find out why it isn't already being done:

    It seems like part of the sharp attack you get slapping has to do with the string striking the last fret (on a fretted bass, that is?) Why couldn't I put one fret on a fretless fingerboard where the 22nd (or 24th) fret would be in order to (1) retain that sharp attack and (2) maybe protect the fingerboard a bit? I realise the fret would interfere with the highest notes on the neck. I was thinking you could keep it really low and only lose one or two notes up there. You could even make something adjustable. Or maybe there just isn't any reason to do this at all. What do you think? Should I apply for a patent or just go back to bed?


  2. Michael Manring

    Michael Manring TalkBass Pro Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Hi Dewees,
    It seems to me that all great inventions start out as hare-brained ideas, so I'd say give it a try and see what happens! Even if it doesn't do what you expect, it might give you an idea you hadn't thought of. Of course, you probably don't want to carve up an irreplaceable instrument, but creativity is all about taking chances!

    Good luck,
  3. fritzk


    Sep 2, 2000
    I have seen a modification for the fretless bass to allow better slapping. The modification is that a metal plate is placed into the fingerboard at the end of the fretboard, perhaps a 1/4 - 1/2 in wide, spanning the fretboard. This gives the note a brighter attack.

    It's basically the same idea as was stated before, but the action can be lower than with an extra fret added. I don''t recall if the fingerboard was completely removed at the location the plate is placed, or if there was a fingerboard border around the sides of the neck. One thing is for sure: you would have to be sure of this operation, or have a experimental neck to try it on!

    I saw the modification performed by Wayne Kamp, a luthier in Indianapolis, IN. I have kept it in mind, but have not had it done.

    - Fritz

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