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Getting that soft jazzy slap sound

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Lovebown, Mar 9, 2001.


  1. Lovebown

    Lovebown

    Jan 6, 2001
    Sweden
    I have a problem with my slap sound ...
    I get a "too" percussive slap tone. I think I got the technique down fairly well
    (I slap at the end of the fretboard, slap lightly bounce back etc.) but somehow the
    sound is to hard, even though i slap real gentle it sounds like I'm running a sledgehammer through a
    cliffwall (ok not really, but its too damn HARD! :) ).
    I play an Ibanez ATK 300 through a Carvin 150 W Bass amp, and I use D'addario Roundwounds.
    Anyone got an idea what I can do to get more of a soft sound? Is it my equipment or is it my technique?'
    Both??

    Thnx,
    Lovebown
     
  2. Yvon

    Yvon Supporting Member

    Nov 2, 2000
    Montreal, Canada
    I never tried it so I have no idea if it work but...
    have you try some palm muting at the same time you are slapping?
     
  3. Lovebown

    Lovebown

    Jan 6, 2001
    Sweden
    Hmm.. alright I tried that but to me it sounds kinda like a really numb slapped mute. Maybe I'm doing it wrong though
    :(

    /lovebown
     
  4. Cornbread

    Cornbread

    Jun 20, 2000
    Lawrence, Ma
    Maybe you need fresh strings, or maybe compression would do the trick. What kind of sound are you looking for? Can you give an example of a recording?
     
  5. You might want to try adjusting your action.. I know my sound changes a bit depending on my action. I don't think this will completely get you to where you want though.
     
  6. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    this is pretty good advice. I play a lot of 'smooth' (I prefer 'contemporary') jazz and use a pretty darn low action and I don't slap very hard at all. it would be pretty hard to do this with high action....
     
  7. Lovebown

    Lovebown

    Jan 6, 2001
    Sweden
    I got new strings, and I've tried with compression... and I've tried lowering the action, although its helping I'm long from the sound I want.

    With my equipment I'm pretty sure you CAN'T get a "studio sound" but I guess the sound that I want is
    the kinda tone Les Claypool has when he does a cover off "Silly putty" by Stanley Clarke. Anything by Marcus miller too..

    *sigh* any tips are welcomed!
     
  8. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    there's no magic formula...I've been hunting that Marcus sound for a while now....

    the only thing I can tell you is that your touch will develop and refine. spend some time shedding to find out how softly you can thumb the string and still get it to sound.....

    good luck, I'm on my way out the door to a gig, but I'm here to answer more if you need it.....
     
  9. um, are you sure it's not the amp/ bass eq setting that's causing the "sledgehammer" sound?
    scooping out a bit of the mids (esp. the high mids at 1k) can stop that kind of harsh "bark" to the slap sound.

    just a thought.
     
  10. Lovebown

    Lovebown

    Jan 6, 2001
    Sweden
    On my bass, my volume knob is turned max and the tone control is turned max.

    The AMP is kinda like this:

    BASS: 70% MID: 20% MID SWEEP:30% TREBLE: 70%

    If I boost mids it sounds muddy, and if I take away bass there's no power in the sound.

    Hmmmm
     
  11. is your ATK the active model with a 3band eq? if so I'd suggest making sure that the mid control isn't turned up too- it's probably best turned down a bit.

    also I'd experiment with the mid sweep control on your amp to set which mids you're cutting.
     
  12. Lovebown

    Lovebown

    Jan 6, 2001
    Sweden
    My Ibanez only has two knobs , one for volume .. and one for tone control as far as I know.
    Oh yeah, you can switch mics with a pickup switch thingie, there are two modes, one sounds really weak and even more "metallish" so I got the thing turned to the other switch which gives a bit more bass.

    Man , I'm so stuck.. I've thought about getting a compressor but they don't really help the tone. asdsdmfgsdkjfsdkjfs
     
  13. eric atkinson

    eric atkinson "Is our children learning "Is our teachers teachin

    Feb 4, 2001
    Joplin,Missouri
    Actually to get that soft salp sound there is a trick to it! You arent actually slapping its using your fingers try to play normal finger style and get your fingers under the strings a little more and you might get this sound! It takes along time to do it its hard!
    A good video to watch is dave mathews band listener supported because steffan the bass player is famous for that sound!
     
  14. Try slapping "through" the string instead of bouncing off. Using your thumb more like a guitar pick. It will give you way more control of the tone. The result is a thicker, warmer slap tone. You can also use it in conjunction with some palm muting techniques.
     
  15. Lovebown

    Lovebown

    Jan 6, 2001
    Sweden
    Thing is, I get the same darn tone if I slap through the string than if I bounce off...
    no diffrence really. If I slap over the pickup I get an even more 'metallish' sound so I tend to slap at the end of the fretboard. I'm thinking maybe its not my technique, might be that my equipment just kinda sucks.

    :/

    later,
    Lovebown
     
  16. eric atkinson

    eric atkinson "Is our children learning "Is our teachers teachin

    Feb 4, 2001
    Joplin,Missouri
    Sounds like you might need some treble in that mix! What kinda gear you got?
     
  17. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well nobody else has mentioned the bass so far. I do agree with the tips about concentrating on technique, but I have found that some bases just sound better for slap than others.

    Like when I bought a Fender Roscoe Beck signature 5 -string, it just sounded so good for slap, I had to introduce some slap into our group's set. I hadn't done any slap stuff for years, but this got the "classic" slap sound - like Marcus Miller - so much so that it just made you want to do it. Whereas other basses I have tried or have used, have been more suited to fingerstyle as this is what I play mostly, but didn't get such a good slap tone.

    I think it may be to do with the neck - bolt-ons seem to be better for slap, with jumbo frets and a fairly hefty neck, but on a bass where you can get a reasonably low action. But there is also something undefinable about why some basses "work" for slap and others just sound horrible.
     
  18. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    As I was reading through the posts on this thread I was surprised to see no one had mentioned this until I got to Bruce's. Other than going to flatwounds, (if you haven't already), I agree with Bruce. You can't change the spots on a leopard.

    Plus, if it's a studio sound, that's a whole new ball game. An Avalon into the studio board can make you sound like butter.
     
  19. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    I don't think you can get a satisfactory answer in this thread, since we can't see and hear you play. It's like getting medicinal help on the telephone, a doc has to see you in person to diagnose you too, right? That's when seeing a teacher and getting lessons comes in. Or ask some bass player friend who is more adept at slapping to help you.
     
  20. Lovebown

    Lovebown

    Jan 6, 2001
    Sweden
    I discovered something when I was messing around today. The tone changes somewhat depending on how fast you "bounce back". I used to bounce off kinda fast but now I do it even faster (When I'm slapping I bounce off as fast as I possibly can)

    The tone gets seems to get clearer at least... a baby-step towards the everlasting goal of that classic slap tone :p