Oh crud, it finally happened. They want me to slap.

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by GManfromOz, Jul 9, 2019.

  1. GManfromOz


    Jul 27, 2016
    After playing straightforward 70's rock for years the band wants to put a few funky tunes in the set and they want it a bit ... slappy. I've never needed to learn to slap but now it's imperative.

    The right hand techniques I can work out but it's the amp settings I'm struggling with, help me.

    Do I ramp up the gain to get something out of my thumb strikes? Treble and mids at 11? Do I hit it harder, or not so hard? I just can't work out that sound (as a relatively new player). It's not really the super-percussive sound, more the disco accents I'm after (original songs).

    Using a Sadowsky Metro UV60, Mesa D800 into a Subway 15". No effects.

  2. Mushroo

    Mushroo Guest

    Apr 2, 2007
    Same amp settings, no change. Practice switching back and forth, fluidly, between fingerstyle and slap, without dropping the beat. For example, next time you do your usual practice/warmup scales, try playing fingerstyle up the scale and thumbstyle down the scale (or vice versa).

    Check this out; shake everything you got!

    Last edited: Jul 9, 2019
    NigelD, tshapiro, joeypee and 5 others like this.

    MYLOWFREQ Supporting Member

    May 13, 2011
    You don't have to hit the strings hard really.. If your thumb for the slap is at the right location that's more important. I suggest playing simple 8-note octaves first (slap+pop). 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and where the downbeats are slaps and "and"s are pops. Most of the disco/funk beats are based on that. Don't play anything busy. Nail the downbeats, and you'll be fine.
    Spin Doctor and GManfromOz like this.
  4. sqlb3rn


    Apr 6, 2016
    Try a compressor with fairly aggressive settings. My thumb usually slaps around the 24th fret.
    GManfromOz likes this.
  5. gebass6

    gebass6 We're not all trying to play the same music. Supporting Member

    Scoop the mids.
    Use both pickups.
    tshapiro and Spin Doctor like this.
  6. Bodeanly


    Mar 20, 2015
    I leave all settings the same when switching between plucking and slapping/ popping. If you pluck closer to the neck, you can likely get away with less low end in the EQ.
  7. Spin Doctor

    Spin Doctor In Memoriam

    Nov 14, 2008
    Southern Maryland, USA
    Yeah, it's not all that hard. It sounds way more difficult than it is. Otherwise, you wouldn't have all these random people at guitar center doing it. As mentioned, don't hit the strings hard. Find the spot on you thumb you can use to get a consistently good sound. It will take a little time, but doesn't everything?

    That Sadowsky should sound awesome. As mentioned, the most important aspect is to dial both pickups to max.
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2019
  8. tshapiro

    tshapiro Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2015
    Jax Florida
    I scope the mids and pretty much leave them scooped all night unless I can't cut through. I will say the a speaker cab that can get the sub-lows makes things easier. Honky low mids don't work so good for me. Along the same lines I also find that light weight neo speaker cabs don't work so good for me. A cab that uses traditional ceramic magnets and some 'heft' makes it easier. I use a compressor but on a light setting. I've got to dig in pretty good before it kicks in. Bright round wound strings. Don't only practice octaves... Practice play with just thumb slaps too. Also practice thumb and pops on the same note. After that, it just practice to get the feel.
  9. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Inactive

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    What are the songs? I guarantee you half of them aren't slapped.

    Many of those 70s funk tunes were finger style, or maybe PLUCKED with the side of the thumb, but not slapped.

    The most famous example would be Brick House. There are a few pops in it, but ZERO slaps. Just about every bass player I have ever seen live slaps the crap out of that song. And there's not a slap in the original anywhere
    John6 likes this.