just my fault or a common problem?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Matthias, Apr 17, 2001.

  1. Matthias


    May 30, 2000
    Vienna, Austria
    this is a short and very specific question about slapping, which I have not found in the recent slapping threads.

    compared to finger-style I lose a lot of bottom, punch and also volume when I hit the strings with my thumb (no matter in which position)

    different sound is ok, I guess that's the sense of using a different playing style ;), but the loss of volume and punch confuses me - is this due to bad technique? Should 'slap-bass' not sound punchier than 'finger-bass' ?


    BTW: I'm playing bass for 14 years now, so I know a little about it, I just never slapped til now. (I am/was one of those 'I never slap my bass, even when he's bad' - fellas :D)
  2. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well this is the opposite of what is usually the common problem with slapping - which is that it is too loud as compared to fingerstyle and leads to people using compressors/limiters to stop distortion or cutting out the mids to stop the sound being too loud.

    I think with good technique you can balance the two sounds, although it can be difficult in the "heat of the moment" in live siutations. But I've never heard of anybody being too quiet when slapping.

    From looking at your profile, the basses shouldn't be a problem, but you do mention never having a teacher. With all these technique issues, we can only really guess on TalkBass and we could put out hundreds of suggestion which might be way off the mark - but if somebody could actually see what you are doing it would probably be immediately apparent what the problem is.

    My advice would be to book a lesson with a bass teacher and ask about this and get them to advise on your technique or just get somebody who does slap, to have a look at what you are doing - they might be able to see what it is that's going wrong - otherwise it's just going to be a question of guessing.
  3. Joshua Pickenpaugh

    Joshua Pickenpaugh Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2001
    The Midwest of USA
    I, too, have a similar problem. I think the quick fix would be a dose of compression, though too much and you'll lose all sense of dynamics in your playing.

    First post to Talkbass here...wow, what a great forum...excellent presentation!
  4. Matthias


    May 30, 2000
    Vienna, Austria
    Thanks, Bruce!

    I can see the problem that popping the higher strings can be too loud, those sharp sounds are really cutting through! But when I hit the strings with my thumb it sounds rather thin (compared to plucking with my fingers) and thus not very loud.

    But I think I'll take your advice and take a lesson...

  5. Hey Guys

    I also have a similar problem when slapping. I know that my basses are more than OK for the technique. I don't know that I really lose volume so much as lose cut. When slapping it can be difficult to be heard over everything else. I have always assumed that this was just part and parcel of the technique. Just like your bass sounds fatter and less well defined when you play closer to the neck and more defined with less bottom at the bridge. Perhaps the best bet is to use slapping only in a part of the song where you will be heard. C-YA, Keep grooving.


    Oh and before anyone asks I notice this difference in sound when using the same EQ for fingerstyle and slap.
  6. Welcome to the board, but be forwarned, this place can be VERY addicting, I spend most of my free time here.
  7. I'll second that! I've even made this damn place my home page.
  8. Hi guys

    I'll take a guess at your problem - even though I'm not much of a slapper myself (definitely not in public!!)

    Whereabouts on the string are you hitting with your thumb? I've found that the best tone for my bass is about 1/2 -> 1 inch up the fingerboard from the neck joint (joint - yes please :))

    Especialy when it comes to the G string I need to slap a bit further up the neck compared to the E or A strings.

    Hope this might help a bit?