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Setup for Slapping an Acoustic?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by bass-shy, Jun 5, 2005.

  1. bass-shy


    Jan 11, 2005
    A few months ago, I purchased a Martin ALternative X bass. I really dig the way it feels and sounds, but it is not an inspired slapper. I have adjusted the neck to dial in a little more relief, and it seemed to help a little, but it just dosen't pop well on the D and G strings. I am planning to replace the medium gauge DR Sunbeams that are on it now for a set of DR Nickel Low-Riders, but I don't know how much of a difference that will make. My question is: Is it even possible to set up an acoustic bass for slapping? I have played a few ABG's that were fantastic slappers, but I don't know if that is a product of some manufacturing practices or materials, or if it is a quality that can be brought out in basses that weren't "born with it". Please help. Thanks.
  2. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    You can try lowering the action by dialing out the relief in the neck, or by filing the saddle down. IME, slapping sounds best with low action - the snap of the strings against the frets is what make slap sound like what it is.
  3. bass-shy


    Jan 11, 2005
    Anyone else?
  4. bass-shy


    Jan 11, 2005
    It would be great if you would move this to the strings forum. I haven't had the bass in question long enough to experiment much with strings. It came strung up with Darco nickel rounds and I swapped them for a set of DR Sunbeams. I like the DRs for fingerstyle, but they just don't "pop" well on this bass. I'm not sure if it is because of the strings or the setup. Anyway, opinions are more than welcome and greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    P.S.. The manufacturer recommends using Nickel wound strings to avoid damage to the Ebony bridge.
  5. I've seen Jonas Hellborg slap his ABG.
  6. J.Wolf

    J.Wolf Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2003
    Asheville, NC
    Contributor- Bass Musician Magazine
    I think Jonas Hellborg uses pretty high action. I think you can hear how high the action is on some of his recordings, the live in Syria disc especially.

    Low action on an ABG is going to limit the amount of string vibration=less top movement=less volume.

    but, if you're mostly amplifying it, then it's not really an issue.
  7. bass-shy


    Jan 11, 2005
    After making minor adjustments to my Martin a little bit each day, I have brought out it's ability to be slapped like mad. I took nearly all of the relief out of the neck and strung it up with a fresh set of light gauge Hi-Beams. Now, it's perfect. Thank you to those who helped with your replies. Also, does anyone have a recommendation for a set of Nickel roundwounds? They will replace the Hi-Beams I am using now to avoid damaging my frets and bridge. I would like them to be bright and appropriate for slapping. Thanks.
  8. EricTheEZ1


    Nov 23, 2004
    Clawson, MI
    Keep in mind that an Acoustic being slapped simply isn't going to sound very good, IMO. It's not gonna sound like any Jazz or MM bass you've ever heard.

  9. bass-shy


    Jan 11, 2005
    I understand this very well. My intention was to see if it could be done effectively. I have deemed that it could and it produces a sound like no other. Good or bad is subjective, I was looking for different. Thanks again to all who helped.
  10. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    Though I can't speak from experience, I've heard good things about the Sadowsky Bright Nickels. I have a hunch they could be just right for you...

  11. christle


    Jan 26, 2002
    Winnipeg, MB
    I personally like D'Addario XL's. They seem to last quite a while and sound good to me. Another option would be the Cirrus Nickel set. They are quite bright and long lasting.


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