slap and pop with a p-bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by deluxeg, May 5, 2001.

  1. deluxeg


    May 5, 2001
    I have a Fender P-bass and this is the only I played other than a Fender Mustang bass. My question is, when I play slap and pop style stuff, it sounds real low and rumbly. I can't get the "poppy" sound out if it. Is it impossible to do it with this bass or is it maybe set up wrong. And what basses do you reccomend for slap and pop. Here is an example of what my bass sounds like playing the seinfeld theme. Don't laugh i've only been playing about 1 year.
  2. welcome to TB, i forget who it was but there was or is someone here that always talked about how you can not slap on a P-Bass.

    i doesn't sound to bad but P-basses are not know for their slap tone.

    the top choices seem to be:
    Fender Jazz
    MusicMan StingRay

    i traded my stingray for a Warwick Thumb and i like the slap tone it has, the stingray was a little to bright for my taste.

    good luck.:)
  3. gfab333


    Mar 22, 2000
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    P basses are not known for their slap / pop tone. Back in the 70s, when slapping first came into the mainstream I recall that Larry Graham's Jazz Bass, Louis Johnson's Stingray, and Stanley Clarke's Alembic set the bencmark for slap tone. All of these basses have two pick ups, and that's one of the primary reasons for their tone.

    The P bass has a humbucking split pick up, and I guess you can't get that same tone. The P bass, however, is world reknown for great finger-style tones. James "Motown Sound" Jamerson and Rocco Prestia, and numerous R & B and rock bass players swear by a good P bass.

    I played a P bass for about ten years until I moved to a Jazz Bass.

    One other thing you can do to get a better slap tone is add a Jazz Bass pick up at the bridge position. Most guitar shops could do the job.
  4. air_leech


    Sep 1, 2000
    actually the Stingray has a single pickup.
  5. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    the p elite 2, has two pickups (duh) , both active, excellent for slap tone. I also think one pickup passives can be great with the right amp.
  6. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    Yeah, it's not so much how many pickups there are, it's where they are. Look at the Stingray pickup in comparison to the P; it's much closer to the bridge where it gets more treble, which is why the neck-placed P pickup gives you that "rumble" like you were talking about. The same with the Jazz bass, the bridge pickup is where a lot of the "pop" comes from.
  7. holderman


    May 25, 2000
    IMO, slap on a P bass sounds bad but pop is OK.
  8. narud

    narud Supporting Member

    Mar 15, 2001
    santa maria,california
    i dont think p-basses slapped sound bad. a lot of early recordings have bassists using pbasses. louis johnson was slapping on p's before stingray's. check out "the traitor" from herbie hancock's man child album or the first brothers johnson album
  9. ...and Freddie Washington played the slap line on "Forget me nots" on a P bass too.....
  10. narud

    narud Supporting Member

    Mar 15, 2001
    santa maria,california
    good call on forget me nots.. heres another-david hungate on boz skaggs' lowdown
  11. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    Dude, didn't anyone download the clip?

    Sounds like your problem right now is string...either they are HUGELY dead roundwounds, or you've got flatwound strings on. Maybe you should invest in getting some new roundwound strings put on, and continue working on your technique.

    As your technique improves, so will your tone.

    Also, IIRC, most of the Brothers Johnson stuff was recorded on a P bass. I know for a fact that "Get the funk out ma' face" was.
  12. deluxeg


    May 5, 2001
    Thanks for the advice guys. I think im gonna try angus's advice and get some new strings. And I think i'm gonna save up for a musicman stingray too.
  13. MikeyD


    Sep 9, 2000
    I kind of like the slap sound on P-bass, and the post about Freddie Washington was right on. I slightly prefer the J-bass (with both PU's on full) slap sound, but the P gives a nice contrast if you have both basses.
    - Mike
  14. pc


    Apr 4, 2000
    Montreal QC
    Last friday i saw a bass player slapping on a P... It's not the slap tone I used to hear, but it was a nice Thunder sound! ;)
  15. JohnL


    Sep 20, 2000
    Grayson, GA
    You beat me to the Louis Johnson remark, when I saw them in the late '70's (ahem...I was only 2;)), he was definently grooving on a P-bass. Another vote on getting roundwounds, and you may also want to try stainless as opposed to nickel, it might give you the sound you are looking for. You might also try setting your eq in a "smile", ie: boost the highs and lows and cut the mids. Bottom line is, years ago I saw a pro take my righteous Destroyer-style Hondo II (cutting edge, huh) and taught me right then that the "sound" comes more from the player than the instrument! (and also made me want to take up harmonica instead...)
  16. I also have a fender p bass and i expereinced the same problem. Once my technique got better the sound improved, however it still wasn't great. I decided to replace the strings and once I did that the sound got a lot better. So i think that once you change the strings you will be ok.