Is it possible for a bass to not be able to slap?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Akeno, Jun 21, 2008.

  1. Akeno


    Jun 14, 2008
    My bass doesn't seem to be able to slap no matter what.
    I've been slapping for half a year now, and I'm not sure whether it's my technique or my bass itself.

    I'm sort of doubting my bass because of fact that it's a no-name sort of brand bass, specifically Renegade.

    So it possible for a bass to be able to slap? Or is it totally just my fault?

    I have a nice slap on the 4th string and a nice pop, but I can't slap the other strings, speficially the 3rd string. No matter how hard I slap it, it doesn't have that "slap" sound like the 4th string does.
  2. Lower your strings.
  3. lefty007


    Jan 19, 2004
    Miami, FL
    It sounds like you have heavy gauge strings, action too high, or a combination of both.

    For a decent slap sound. the string need to be relatively close to the board, and fresh strings help as well.

    My recomendation is to take the bass to the local store and ask for a setup and new strings, and tell them you want medium-low or low action.

    Now, if your bass is setup nicely, then it's you.
  4. GeddyisGod

    GeddyisGod Four on the floor and nothing more!

    Feb 4, 2004
    Moberly, MO
    Quite easily. Just hand it to me. :oops:
  5. Mark Wilson

    Mark Wilson Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    Toronto, Ontario
    Endorsing Artist: Elixir® Strings
    No reason.

    I used a $200 Squier (which was on par with Renegade about 7 years ago)
    And it's my main bass.
  6. +1,000!!!:D
  7. JMDT


    Jan 30, 2008
    Louisville, Ky
    Super light gauge stainless steel strings low to the neck will do the trick. Also, scoop the preamp on the amp or bass (boost highs and lows amd cut mids).
  8. From my experience, there are a few factors that make some basses un-slappable:

    1) String spacing - my Washburn 5-string has a "crowded" fingerboards and makes it more of a plucking bass than a slapper. That is, unless your aim is pretty good.

    2) In agreement with these other guys, string height is a big factor. I know there is the right way in which you get out your trusty micrometer and those automotive gap feeler things and lower till "x" string is "y"mm above the pickup or above the last fret.
    All I did was lower the string height as low as possible while ensuring that I got no buzzing from any frets from nut to bridge.

    3.) Type of strings - lighter and not flat wounds. Maybe I'm wrong about the flats, but usually slap is associated with the bright percussive, edgy sound.

    By the way, I tried a Renegade Jazz copy and while it is NOT my new Highway One Jazz, I was blown away by the "jazz bass sound" specifically associated with Fenders!:eek: Not to mention the slick, slim neck and easy playability! Maybe the Renegade should be called the poor man's Jazz Bass - or not:eyebrow:

    I'm not saying that you suck but, you have only been playing for a year. Time usually = experience. I'm almost possitive that if you gave a really cheap POS bass (like the ones from Walmart for example) and gave it to say Victor Wooten, Flea, or a lot of these locals on TB and had them set it up....You'd be hearing such evil funkiness, people would be reaching for their Rosery beads.:bassist: <--BTW, a local newspaper said that about my playing about 12yrs ago.
  9. Well, i find it easier to slap on my Jazz bass than my P-bass (tone-wise). On the other hand maybe its the Action on your bass and choice of strings.
  10. Ska


    Nov 20, 2007
    Word. I learned slap on a Squier, there's no good reason a cheap bass should be un-slappable. Harder, sure, but not impossible.

    Except maybe thunderbirds, I am convinced that God does not want people to slap on those! It's impossible! :oops:
  11. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    It is never the bass' fault.
  12. yeah! ligh gauge for slap FTW, sounds way better.

    an low action is the way to go.

    besides, try to hit the string in the higher frets rather than pickups area. Also, try to make a fast hit.

    I assume you are using normal roundwound strings, and not flatwounds.

    good luck slapping!
  13. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Low action and roundwounds...yeah, I guess if you want to be all girly about it. I certainly do ;)

    But that's no excuse for not being able to slap. I'll slap the heck out of a Precision with flats and a high action if I need to. A lot of my favorite slap tunes were done using this combo.
  14. UncleBalsamic


    Jul 8, 2007
    How well do flats slap?
  15. not_jason


    Aug 4, 2004
    I've never played a Thunderbird, but I imagine it's similar to my EB-3, in which case the neck is just too damn flat to slap with.
  16. popinfresh


    Dec 23, 2004
    Melbourne, Aus
    Whilst some may sound 'better' than others, it's not the bass that slaps, it's the player.
  17. Hi.

    Damn, I just wish I knew that, I wouldn't have slapped with my Epi T-bird ;).

    IT CAN BE DONE, whether God wants it or not.

  18. I beg to differ. I've played a few basses that were poorly set up and it was a chore to attempt slap or playing them in general. It's usually not the bass' fault for being set up poorly, that's usually the owner's fault.
  19. Akeno


    Jun 14, 2008
    I'll try out the new strings.

    At the moment, I don't know what kindof strings and the setup of my bass, I've never replaced anything on it yet.

    Whenever I try to slap the 3rd string, I hit it, but it isn't as loud as the 4th string. Could be mostly me, but I've been practicing hitting the 3rd string for a while, and isn't particularily loud, unless I turn the volume on my amp all the way up.

    I'll definately as the people at the local music store.
  20. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    By necessity, I'm not one of those guys who needs a bass perfectly set up in order to play it. I have to use a lot of rented equipment, sometimes basses, too. And nobody wants to hear that I can't play because of the equipment. So you learn to adapt, and you learn not to blame it on the equipment. Nobody believes you when you tell them your equipment is causing you to screw up, anyway.

    Uncle Balsamic, flats sound very different from rounds when you slap, but no less awesome. It's more of a punchy and fat tone as opposed to trebly and ringy. "Brick House" and "Boogie Oogie Oogie" are two killer examples of slap tone on flats.