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P-Bass Slapping.. need advice

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by kebbs, Sep 21, 2005.

  1. kebbs

    kebbs Modus vivendi

    Aug 30, 2005
    Ottawa, Canada
    Hello my fellow bassists,

    I am sure that this question has been addressed before, but I am new to this forum. I would like to hear your advices/opinions regarding this:

    I own a 1989 Peavey Fury (P-bass), made in US, which I upgraded with Seymour Duncan Quarter Pounders. These pick-ups have significantly improved my sound. I have been playing music for about 8 years; bass has been my main instrument for over 3 years. I mostly play rock (prog rock, funk rock), world/ethnic and and occasional lounge/ambient music.

    I don't use a pick -- I am a hardcore fingerstyle bassist. To cut the long story short, I have neglected slapping all these years. I always found it a little bit intimidating, so to say.

    Mu questions are:

    1) Am I limited with my P-Bass in terms of slapping, and if so, by how much? Do I really need to buy a Stingray or a Jazz Bass in order to get a proper slap tone?

    2) How does one go about learning to slap? I consider myself to be advanced intermediate in terms of the music I can play.

    3) If I added a J-pick up on my current bass (I have already done a lot of work on my Peavey), would that provide me with a superior slapping sound?

    I would appreaciate your comments and opinions on this matter.

  2. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    The bass below is my #1, and I prefer its slap tone to the J-bass slap tone. That said:

    1) Yes, you're limited: with a non-PJ P-bass you won't be able to get J-style slap sounds. But so what? ;)

    2) I'm self-taught (and mediocre at best). I'd recommend a video or lessons from a good teacher.

    3) Converting your P-bass to a PJ-bass would allow you to get slap tone similar to the J-bass slap tone. And really, that's the slap tone that most bassists prefer.

  3. Yes, a bridge pup will work exceptionally well for giving you that "bite" that for slapping.

    You may also consider a MM humbucker or a stacked-coil J-pup instead of a single-coil jazz...these will give you a slightly "fuller" sound and still give you that slap "booty".
  4. In terms of technique, it makes no difference what type of pickup is on your bass.
    J slap sound is different than P slap sound. So what? That is a matter of personal preference. Just listen to some old recordings of Louis Johnson for example, prior to his switch to Music Man. Great fat P slap sound from his 70's ash/maple precision, delicious!
    And since J slap sound has been more popular over the years, probably because of great players like Larry Graham and Marcus Miller, here is a chance to stick out from the crowd! P slap sound can be your sound and trademark if you go for it.

    Regarding the technique and learning question, get a good teacher.
    Also there are several good instruction video's and DVD's that address the very basics of slapping, and move on from there.

    Have fun!
  5. cowsgomoo

    cowsgomoo gone to Longstanton Spice Museum

    Feb 8, 2003
    it won't sound like a Jazz beng slapped, but a P-bass being slapped isn't an ugly sound... it sounds like.. well, a P-bass being slapped :bassist:

    there isn't such a twinkly 'aaaah' of recognition compared to the very familiar slapped J, but it's a nice sound nonetheless

    turning your Peavey into a PJ might give you more of the slapped J sound if that's what you're after, but honestly, Fenders are so cheap you'd probably be better advised to just buy yourself a Jazz bass as a 2nd bass
  6. keb


    Mar 30, 2004
    It's not a bad thing to have a different sound (unless you're getting paid to have a certain tone!) I slap on my "unslappable" Rickenbacker and I love it.
  7. jerry

    jerry Doesn't know BDO Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    I really like the sound of a slapped P-bass, these days it's refreshing.
  8. Love the looks of your bass.

    I wish my cheapo p would have a maple-fretboard.
  9. epoxo57


    Feb 17, 2005
    Perrysburg, Ohio
    Another good recording for a slapped P-bass is Freddie Washington on Patrice Rushen's "Forget Me Nots". Quintessential muted top, P slap/pop tone. Lately I have been "funkin" around on my G&L L2000 just using the neck pickup in series mode for a P type tone which clones it very well. Playing along with tunes on my computer, the slap/pop tone sounds great.

    You would be surprised of the tones you can get out of a P bass when you fiddle with some EQ or perhaps effects. A good starting slap EQ is like a "smiley face" curve. For technique help, yeah, there are plenty of books and DVD's out there to get ya started. I know for myself, don't start out trying to slap a million notes a minute, take your time and go slow to nail the technique--speed comes later. I recorded myself a few times and heard stuff like how I play pool--SLOP! Those QP's are hot and will bring out the uglies too.
    Also, lower string height will help too.

    As far as your bass, your Peavey is fine. I bet if Flea, Larry Graham, or Louis Johnson picked up your bass and funked out some lines you would be amazed at how good it sounds. Sure Stingrays and J's are great for funk, but they are just tools. When I first started, a guy picked up my Sears bass "special" and I remember being blown away how good it sounded. Of course he had been playing a long time and practiced often.

    Have fun and welcome to the forum! Lots of great help and support here.

  10. I slap the funk out of both. I prefer my jazz bass, but thats because i like a more trebly bite to my slap/pops. I've been slappin my P a lot lately because its been my only bass at college for the moment. It's still good, actually a p is really good at nailing more old-school slap tone. As for learning, just take it slow, try to work on hitting the strings directly without letting others ring out. Once you get better at this, work on speed, but you need to get the accuracy down first. And another thing to remember is you dont have to slap and pop hard, i did this for a while and broke a lot of g and d strings doing this. You need to hit it just hard enough to get that crack out of it, nothing more nothing less.
  11. consider this...slapping a PJ can give a slapped J OR a slapped P sound.

    Nothing wrong with a little versatility...with that said...I LOVE a good P-bass...
  12. bad_andy


    Sep 21, 2005
    Omaha, NE
    It's not necessary to put a J bridge PU on that bass to get a great slap tone. I've actually been favoring the neck pickup on my main bass and making it sound great for New Orleans style funk tunes.

    Having said that, GO FOR IT! If you're comfortable routing the wood out and wiring it (or know someone who is), pop another pickup in that bad boy! You'll get extra tonal flexibility for finger picking as well as a classic slap sound. Otherwise, save up and get another bass and keep your old friend just the way it is. There's nothing wrong with having an extra bass on stage.

    As far as learning how, I know it's over a decade old but if you have a VCR The Slap Bass Program by Alexis Sklarevski was a classic when I was learning how.

    Good luck!
  13. ryco


    Apr 24, 2005
    A P bass will give you a rounder, darker slap - but beautiful. The 1/4 lb's will really help out too - nice and beefy! I modified my P into the full PJ (like the UgeBass) with 1/4 lbs years ago and she is a fun slap bass. Tho I like the sound of active pups for slappin' a little better than passive
  14. kebbs

    kebbs Modus vivendi

    Aug 30, 2005
    Ottawa, Canada
    Thank you all! All of your advices have been very useful and I must say that my slapping has already improved, especially my poppin'. I also beleive that hearing all this positive feedback about p-basses provided me with some additional confidence!

    All the best! :bassist:
  15. Glad to see another old Fury user here. I love my early 90s Fury! I've also done a ton of work to mine and couldn't be happier with how it's turned out. The necks on these basses are very very nice!
  16. I have a PJ bass, and it is awesome, like someone said earlier you can get both the P and the J slap tone, or you could get a combination of the two. It is a lot more versatile. I prefer the P 3/4 and the J 1/4, it sounds awesome, but thats just me.
    The first slap song I learned was No Ones Leaving by Jane's Addiction. It was a good song to learn becuase its not too difficult to play, the fingering is really easy so you can concentrate more on getting the slap and pop technique down. So if your still struggling check out that song and with the adding a pup to your bass, I'd say go for it if you want to. If your good with working on it, have fun! Nothing is better then an instrument you love to play and works for you! :)
  17. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Any time someone asks about a particular style of playing and asks if they need a different bass to make it happen, the answer is always no. Doesn't matter if you have a cheapo Steinberger copy like mine, an Epiphone Rivoli, or a $20,000 Alembic. You should always be able to find a way to make it work. It may not be the perfect sound you picture in your head, but you should be able to make it work somehow.
  18. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    I'm a firm believer that any bass can be used for any style of music, but if a bandleader says "give me a funk slap tone similar to Marcus Miller's", it aint' gonna happen with an EB-O, Beatle Bass, Rickenbacker, or vanilla P-bass.
  19. hell, If I can slap a cheap frettless, you can slap your P bass!
  20. FireAarro


    Aug 8, 2004
    Would you slap a Hofner with flats? ;)