frets and slap

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Palomo, Jul 24, 2018.

  1. Palomo


    Jun 16, 2017
    well, i've posted this in here because it is a question about frets.

    i didn't own a fretless bass until i made one for me, its build is posted here if you are interested look for pine neck.

    well my question is: are frets related to the sound of slap? i ask that question because when i slap my fretless it doesn't sound the same specially when i pull off strings.

    i have another question, if i make a soft curve in the fret board in a way that since 12th fret to 22 or 24 is a little bit (just a little bit) slimmer thna the rest of the fretboard it wil be better to avoid fretting after 12th fret?

    thanks a lot.
  2. Gorn


    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    That answers your question doesn't it? I'm not trying to be smarmy but you just demonstrated the difference.
  3. Palomo


    Jun 16, 2017
    maybe, i was thinking i did something bad in my bass.
  4. Part of the "slap sound" is the "clank" of the strings on the frets. I have heard of people inlaying a brass strip at the end of the fingerboard on a fretless to try and get a little of that back when they slap. I've never done it so no details on the actual process.
    Palomo likes this.
  5. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Vancouver Island
    Slap tones change a lot when there are frets/no frets. You can install a single very low fret near the end of the board to get some of that sound back, if you miss it. Needs to be filed very low though, so as not to interfere with fretless intonation in the upper registers...
    Palomo likes this.
  6. Palomo


    Jun 16, 2017
    ok, im not going to try it for the momment but that's really creative.
  7. Palomo


    Jun 16, 2017
    is it natural a little bit of buzz in a frettless? it doesn't get heard if i record the instrument but i feel it when i play,
  8. Will_White


    Jul 1, 2011
    Salem, OR
    Yeah that's normal, It's the string vibrating under your finger since your finger is the "fret"
  9. GMC

    GMC Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2006
    Wiltshire, UK
    You can slap a fretless...but it doesn't sound like a slapped fretted the slap sound we all know. It sounds very different.
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  10. Medicine Man

    Medicine Man

    Apr 10, 2015
    I think Chromes sound pretty good for fretless slap. Not quite as snappy as rounds on a fretted bass, but they have a nice percussive sound.
  11. I'm not sure i get it, but if you have problems with notes dying too fast or buzzing too much in high positions, loosening the truss rod should help. Tune down the string, loose the rod about half a turn, tune up again and try. Repeat if necessary. The fingerboard should be a slight 'U' shape, so that when you fret 1st and last "fret", you get about a 1-2mm string-neck distance in the middle. If your action gets too high when loosening the truss rod, lower the strings on the bridge. This is the same on fretted or fretless, but on fretless it's a bit of alchemy.
  12. Les Claypool slapped a 6 string Carl Thompson fretless but even that didn't sound like a traditional fretless. Pino Palladino did some slap on a Musicman Stingray fretless and it sounded good but more of a subdued tone.
  13. Palomo


    Jun 16, 2017
    yes that could be the solution but i have non adjustable trussrod, i used bars of steel to keep the neck straight.
  14. nilorius

    nilorius Inactive

    Oct 27, 2016
    Riga - Latvia
    You will never get the standart slap tone on fretless.
  15. Altitude

    Altitude An ounce of perception, a pound of obscure. Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2005
    Denver, nee Austin
    Yes, the percussive sound you hear when you slap a note is affected by the contact the string makes with the frets. Slapping a fretless bass is a legitimate effect but will sound different.

    A couple people already mentioned Les Claypool, who used slap on a fretless bass on lots of the Primus albums. That sound is laid out pretty bare in "My Name Is Mud" on Pork Soda, for example. Listen to that and then listen to almost anything by Marcus Miller to hear the difference the frets make.
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