Making slap sound good??

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by FUNKIESTMUNK, Feb 25, 2001.



    Feb 25, 2001
    I have been playing bass for about three years now, however I am unable to achieve the classic slap bass sound that you hear on records (larry graham for instance). My technique is good and I have a proffesional set up- Trace Elliot SM 300 GP7 head with 4x10 and 1x15 cabs. I was wondering if I am not setting the Eq correctly on my amp head , and does anyone have any Eq shapes or suggestions that may improve my sound. Also at present I do not use compression, will this improve my slap sound? If so does anyone recommend any in particular for around £100 (145$)?

    Thank you for your time....

    -Richard Morgan
  2. Oysterman


    Mar 30, 2000
    Oh, golly gee! Fifth place I've seen this posted. You don't have any patience, do you?
  3. i agree oysterman, u've got to practice, practice,practice,,

    try altering the way in which u hit the strings ie,, outside edge of your thumb,, flat, aka mark king etc

    it means A$$ what king of fancy bass you've got of the amount your willing to spend on accessories if u can't make a £100 bass through a piece of pants amp do it then you'll never do it,,

    thats too harsh , you will do it just lay off twiddling with knobs and wack away

    i'm not a great fan of slapping ,, i can do it well will my j bass and my TE boxer 30

    (too many guys here, i think, have too much money to spend and not enough patience)

    and thats coming from an 18 year old student with 1 1/2 years playing experience


    think about it mate !!
  4. Oysterman


    Mar 30, 2000
    Agree with what? :confused: I didn't say "practice", I said "patience". This thread was posted in five different forums. :)
  5. what i intended by taking the time to apply finger to qwerty was to point out that it takes time, thats why i'm not the kind of feking bassist thats got a bigger wallet than balls, and talent( not intended as a direct insult)

    i get so pi$$ed off with some people in here,, not u oysterman or the original poster, but the people who don't want to wait,,and from what i've seen of the bassists younger than me, we haven't got much to look forward to

    thats my honest opinion and thats what i'm trying to point out
    i'm well aware of what i said and i am educated so the spelling mistake is not applicable , but to quote "You don't have any patience, do you?"

    it is the intent of that sentence that i agree will,

    sorry for any confusion :)


  6. oh and before anyone says it,, i'm gonna try as hard as i can to make something of my talent ,, thats what i think i have

    and if i fail trying then at least i've had a go and haven't regretted not having a go !!

  7. red_rhino

    red_rhino Gold Supporting Member

    Well, let's give FUNKIESTMUNK the benefit of the doubt here and assume that he practices regularly. I think what he's asking here is "what else could I be trying?"

    I'm not overly familiar with your rig, but it sounds as though it should be capable of giving you the sound you want. Sometimes people will try to scoop the midrange and boost the ultra low and high, but they often end up with a tone that sounds good solo but gets lost in the mix of a full band. You shouldn't have to do anything too radical to your EQ to get a decent slap tone.

    Having been down this same path myself, the advice I usually give is to take some one-on-one instruction. I can't emphasize this enough: two or three months of focused instruction will result in benefits far greater than any piece of additional gear you could buy at this point in the process. It will allow you to work on the nuances of the technique and give you a better foundation to build upon. Your teacher may also be able to give some advice about what might be done setup-wise to improve your instrument's slappability.

    I usually also suggest trying a lighter gauge of string. For example, if you're currently using a 4-string set gauged 45-65-85-105, try going with a 40-60-80-100 set. The difference can be very noticeable, both in sound and feel.

    Again, having been down the same path, I can also tell you that all basses do not slap equally. This isn't always a popular point of view. Some people respond with "tone is all in the hands" and "I saw [Bass God X] play a rubber band thru a Pignose and it sounded awesome!". There's some truth in that. There's also truth in what I'm saying.

    I am NOT, however, saying you should buy a different bass. It's just that if you're beating your head against a wall and not getting anywhere, the problem may not be that your head isn't hard enough. If nothing's working, be willing to check out other basses (as well as your own bass through different rigs) just as a sanity check. (However, if you find a good instructor, have him/her play your bass. That will tell you a lot. :) )

    Good luck.

  8. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    Based on the fact he had time to past the same thing everywhere, ill assume he doesnt practice much. In which case...

    Practice your ass off, and get a good teacher. Practicing muting. Damn near nobody can do it, so if you can do that, you are well on your way. But, i guarantee you, you cant.

    Also, dont slap the lazy way (hit string and bounce off), slap through the string, it'll improve your tone dramatically.
  9. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    In addition to a lot of good input from Red, I think adding compression could help quite a bit but not as much as having the right bass. I'm not familiar with your Cort 5. Some makes/models of basses practically beg for the player to use slap technique.

    But maybe with some compression, it could sound better for slap. "Compression" is commonly used in the same sentence as "slap," so to speak. The two go hand in hand.

    Two of my amps have a soft knee compressors, (don't kick in harshly), which I engage when I know I'll be slapping. Since slap usually calls for a series of quick notes in a phrase, you don't want peaks and dips in your notes/tones. Otherwise, your slapping sounds like more of a mess the further you get away from your amp. This is exaggerated even more when you use slower speakers, like your 15". Perhaps you could try a unit out in a store and see if it gets you what you're looking for.
  10. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I think that it's not really down to what amp you use at all - a lot of great studio slap sounds have been done direct into the desk and whenever I have recorded slap bass lines I have done this and been able to get the "classic" slap/pop sound.

    I think as others have said it's firstly down to your technique and then to a lesser extent, the bass. Some basses are just not very good for slap and in my experience, bolt-ons help get closer to that "classic" sound - I think the point is that if we are searching for a sound from this era, it's almost certainly been done on a Fender.

    The bass that got closest to that sound for me was the Fender RB5, but I think this is because Roscoe Beck was going for the sound of a '64 Jazz bass. Of course you can get a great slap sound on basses other than Fenders, but if you're going for a particular sound - then there are some sounds that are much easier to get on a Fender.

    If we're talking about compression, then I think that cheap (sub £100) pedals will not help - a bit of studio-quality compression can "tailor" the sound, but I think most cheap pedals just add noise and make it harder to get a classic sound - far better to try to work on your technique and forget about "quick fixes".
  11. Practice. What everyone else has said is true.

    Hambone, Oysterman, Paul, anyone? - How about merging all the 'how to get a good slap sound' threads and sticking them in technique?

    Skunkiestdunk, if you do a search you will find loads of stuff in here. If you search the web I'll bet you'll find even more in terms of complete lessons etc. ;)
  12. Oysterman


    Mar 30, 2000
    No can do, as long as we moderators are concerned. We can only merge threads in our our forums. It's up to Paul to do so.