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Right hand fingernails put little dents into bass while slapping

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by smither12, Feb 3, 2013.

  1. smither12


    Aug 16, 2012
    Chicago, IL
    While I'm slapping my right hand fingers come down on the side of my bass next to the string and over time it has creating dents (from my finger nails and they are not long either)on my Fender Precision american standard. Does this happen to anyone else? What can i do do stop this?
  2. topo morto

    topo morto

    Mar 22, 2010
    You must have a very different slapping technique to me.

    Doesn't the pickguard keep things happy?
  3. pogipoints

    pogipoints Custom User Title Holder

    Dec 5, 2005
  4. It's pretty common. I've never done it, but I've seen loads of basses with wear there.
  5. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Lots of slappers get really bad wear just below the strings. Most just roll with it. When I went to Victor Wooten's bass camp years ago, I felt like I was just about the only one there WITHOUT that really bad wear spot on my bass. Some of them were worn all the way through the finish. On of Vic's older Fodera's was worn down at least a quarter inch in a big oval shape right there.
  6. I guess I just don't slap enough for this to be a problem, but I've seen people tear their basses up to the point that it's through the finish and actually cutting into the wood a bit. With the exception of one of my basses, they all look pretty much exactly how they did when I got them (other than the good ol' headstock chips and on my regular guitars small scratch marks on the pickguard). I do slap on 3 songs every night I perform and at least that much at rehearsal and more so in my own practice. I saw a dude with an Ibanez that looked like a board that had been sucked up by a tornado which then threw it into a hurricane. It was distressed as hell. You could visibly see where the wood was chewed up even from audience distance of it. I asked him what his bass ever did to him and he said it was just the bass he learned slap on.

    Perhaps my technique is just different or that dude has no other hobby in his spare time than to play slap bass. His entire show was done finger style and he has no side projects, so...yeah. It seemed like it'd take several years of slapping 5 days a week to do what he did to that bass. I thought it looked cool, but I wouldn't ever want any of my beauties tore up like that :)
  7. smither12


    Aug 16, 2012
    Chicago, IL
    My old ibanez is a dark mahogany color and because of the slapping it is almost a light brown in the area that my fingernail touches. But my fender precision just gets dented and it looks like a stain or something from far away, but i guess i might just roll with it - gives it character.
  8. Rip Topaz

    Rip Topaz

    Aug 12, 2005
    Willow Street, PA
    Beta tester for Positive Grid
    My right thumbnail is actually pretty strong when it grows in, so I try to keep it closely trimmed. Otherwise I end up with nasty scratches near my pickup and along my E string.

    I buffed out the scratches once, but decided to just let nature take its course in the future. I doubt I'll ever get past the surface of the wood, but I'm sure it'll at least make it through the paint.

    I've seen some guitars that have been worn down so bad that the wood is all chewed up, just from constant contact with a guitar pick.
  9. smither12


    Aug 16, 2012
    Chicago, IL
    How well does that work for you? Do you just apply it on the area thats been getting knicks and it adds protection?
  10. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Oh, just let your nails dig. Looks cool. People love Willie Nelson because of that big hole in his guitar.
  11. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    If the wear bothers you, you can replace the pickguard eventually.

    If you're denting the paint, then you must have unusual slap technique. :eyebrow::)

    Ooops... topo morto said this first.
  12. smither12


    Aug 16, 2012
    Chicago, IL
    I recently have just been looking at my bass and believe that the paint is not coming off but it is just cutting up the pick guard at a tiny bit.
  13. MD


    Nov 7, 2000
    Marin Co. CA.
    Used to have a similar issue with my thumb. It would scratch my top when I shifted it off the FB to strike the E. I made what I can only refer to as a thumb sock; a small piece of soft cotton wrapped around my thumb and secured with electrical tape. I use it at home and when getting together with friends. On paid gigs, I put a skin toned band aid on the thumb nail.
  14. Play Less Cool

    Play Less Cool

    Jan 22, 2013
    when i got my first bass, the pickgaurd had a layer of plastic over it and it eventually got really chewed up at the top of the pickup from my thumb as a rest and below the G string from popping. i thought i was doing something really wrong but after i ripped the plastic off, it looked brand new again.
    but now i ripped the plastic off, no (or barely) any markings are being made
  15. topo morto

    topo morto

    Mar 22, 2010
  16. Tupac


    May 5, 2011
    Hah, I did this too. For some reason there was two sheets on the pickguard of my Ray 4.
  17. Rev J

    Rev J

    Jun 14, 2012
    Berkeley, Ca.
    Call me weird but I wouldn't worry about it. I think basses that are a little nicked and beaten up are really cool looking. I bought a Sunburst Steve Bailey Jazz bass because I love how Sunburst guitars and basses look as they get beaten up. Look at SRV's #1 Strat or Jaco's Bass of Doom. I already have a couple of thumb divits worn around the bridge pickup of my bass from where I rest my thumb when I'm playing (and that started in the first month). It looks hella badass.

    Rev J
  18. pogipoints

    pogipoints Custom User Title Holder

    Dec 5, 2005
    Yes, I just cut the mylar into a shape that would cover the affected area. And I only did this to one particular bass that seemed to have a very soft oil-finished redwood top.

    All my other basses have scuffs in that area. But then all these have either poly or lacquer finishes.


    Sorry for the weird lighting. Tried to light it such that the mylar and the scuffing underneath can be seen.
  19. Plucky The Bassist

    Plucky The Bassist Bassist for Michael "Epic Mic" Rowe

    Jul 30, 2010
    Houston, TX
    I keep my right hand nails trimmed well for that very reason. Never end up with any on mine and I play pretty hard when I slap
  20. smither12


    Aug 16, 2012
    Chicago, IL
    Just realized that I had a plastic wrap on the pick guard LOL! I took it off and their are no scratches!! Haha I guess its not my technique!! :)