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Poorest Choice for a "Slap-Bass"

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by john grey, Jun 3, 2011.

  1. john grey

    john grey

    Apr 19, 2011
    Oracle, Arizona
    I went with a friend into town to shop for a Bass for him. He had wanted to start playing [plays Guitar: wanted to start playing bass] & (as many people are) was taken with the idea of playing Slap eventually.
    He had decided to work w/ about $500-700 & wanted an opinion as to what was "the best 'Slap Bass'"; which I told him was very numerous as it's a very common way of playing.
    My opinion was that most any Bass with a substantially dense neck/lower neck insertion point into the body, decent mids & highs in pup design would be fine. But He asked me what I WOULD avoid if I was going to start once again. All I could think of was a short radius neck - as a flatter neck (for me) allowed better contact w/ lower frets. But I really couldn't think of a "poor Slap Bass" - perhaps some Gibson's/Epi's aren't the best choice?
    Is there any consensus as to a bass that is a poor idea for buying if someone with beginning/intermediate skill level would want to keep in mind. I really couldn't think of anything but individual features....
    What is your opinion?
    What Bass would you NOT buy if you wanted to focus on Slap/funk style music?

  2. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Bad basses for slap:

  3. tkcthulu


    Nov 15, 2010
    Calgary, AB
    Acoustic basses?
    Nunovsky likes this.
  4. frankenjazz


    Jan 2, 2010
    what was said above plus a ricky, to much mid range on those to get a good slap tone out of
  5. tkcthulu


    Nov 15, 2010
    Calgary, AB
    My Rickenbacker is fine for slap
    gebass6 likes this.
  6. bassfart


    May 5, 2008
    Hollow body basses such as the Jack Cassidy model Epiphone.
    lizardking837 likes this.
  7. Rafael


    Feb 4, 2008
    I +1 for the EBO....oh wait, EBOs aren't good for any kind of bass....;-)
    Scott Loveless and lizardking837 like this.
  8. the only slap bass i've heard that i really liked is an upright double bass
    reddog and Curtbass like this.
  9. coffeebeans


    Nov 23, 2009
    Rochester, NY
    I'm definitely stating the obvious but I feel it has to do a lot with the player as well. Someone beginning to learn slap bass may feel that they're playing a bass that's no good for slapping and popping but a more experienced player might make that bass sound pretty darn good.
  10. Fretlesses, some people dont mind Claypool doing it but IMHO it just sounds terrible.
    lizardking837 likes this.
  11. cassius987

    cassius987 Banned

    Apr 20, 2007
    Denver, CO
    Yeah, Rickenbackers slap just fine... I've heard too many examples not to think so, plus my own. Bassist, groove thyself, or something.

    I can't say I've ever gotten a 30'' scale bass to slap terribly well but I haven't tried very hard either. Chris Wood made his Hofner growl pretty well live, maybe he could have slapped it well too. Though their bridges aren't ideal for slap if you don't have a great setup as far as break angle.
  12. 70sJazz

    70sJazz Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2009
    Washington, DC
    I think the most important thing for ease of slap technique is having a bass that can accommodate the ability for the right setup adjustment to the neck. I've found over the years that having the right neck angle is key (where with finger style playing the neck angle is not quite as critical). If it's a neck through, it better have the perfect angle as is! Otherwise there's no way to adjust the neck pocket.

    Many basses by nature, have a neck angle where the top frets will be much further away from the strings than the lower frets even with no relief to the neck. But this distance at the end of the fingerboard can be excessive for slap style & can make for too much effort to make the strings bounce off at the end of the fingerboard. Tilting the neck pocket up can help a lot. It makes slapping easier the further you tilt up. But as you tilt too much, eventually the upper frets will buzz compared to the lower frets and you will have to play lighter and lighter the more you shim or raise the neck pocket. So the balance of this adjustment is critical.

    For this reason I'd say many Gibson basses would generally not make the best instruments for slap style, because there is no way to adjust the neck pocket, like you can with a bolt on (with shim or "microtilt"). I've never played one that had the perfect neck angle. And without the ability to adjust it to where you want it, you're kind of stuck with what you've got.
  13. VS


    Jun 6, 2002
    Mountain City, Tennessee
    Discounted Gear: Peavey
    Yup, hollow bodies. -Luke
  14. MarTONEbass

    MarTONEbass Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2009
    Norton, MA
    Be mindful of the number of frets vs. how much room there is between the end of the fingerboard and the neck pickup. My 24 fret basses have less room, making it more difficult, although not impossible to slap.
  15. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
  16. nostatic

    nostatic Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2004
    lost angeles, CA
    Endorsing Artist: FEA Labs
    "Slap" is a pretty broad term. I slap my Tony Franklin fretless (evidently a bad idea according so some here) as well as my Rob Allen fretli (probably a really bad idea according to most). I think it works in certain songs to get a certain feel, but then again I would think that otherwise I wouldn't use the technique.

    Bottom line is you can slap any bass and make it work or make it suck depending on the player and the tune.
  17. bass rocks

    bass rocks

    Nov 15, 2010
    hollow bodies

    thunder bird


    Aug 22, 2007
    I imagine Danelectro Longhorn would be a difficult bass to slap on. 32" string length , narrow spacing, and 2 octave neck does not bode well.

    edit: I use my Ibanez ATK 700 for slapping. Fantastic bass for that style.
  19. Just tell him to get a P or a Music Man Sterling. Flea got down on both, both have also been used in a variety of other music too in case he decides to go another direction some day.
  20. When I was shopping for a Fender Jazz, I ran into problems slapping with a lot of the newer models due to the exposed poles on the pickups. If the action was low, the string would hit the pole on the neck pickup and make a loud annoying pop sound. I ended up buying the Geddy Lee which is great for slapping.

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