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Slap bass strings / string height? Slap Noob asking.

Discussion in 'Rockabilly [DB]' started by Reiska, Jan 4, 2017.

  1. Reiska


    Jan 27, 2014
    Helsinki, Finland
    Hey all. I`ve been interested in learning to slap the bass for a while now and just got into it as I`m going to need the skill with my band in the near future. My bass is a carved bass with 42in mensure and it`s set-up now for pizz and arco with Evah Pirazzi slap EAD and plain gut G, strings are at 9mm - 12mm height. This is as low as I would like to go with these strings for maximum acoustic pizz and arco volume and full tone. These strings are stupid easy to play pizz at this height. I have adjusters on my bridge, and a plain gut D if that is needed.

    However, as I am only beginning to slap I`m wondering if this height is too much for that. I find that the clack after the note is a lot easier to execute on the EA than on the DG. My technique obviously ain`t nowhere near yet, but I would like a little guidance on this issue. A seasoned player and slapper fellow TB`r once said that in slap you need a little lower height for the strings to bounce back. I`m a drummer and a percussionist originally and find this analogy reasonable as the skill of hitting things musically is all about understanding gravity, relaxation and bounce. ( The same fellow TB`r said that I would be a natural slapper with my history, but no, I don`t think so :) )

    So, what kind of setup do you use for slapping, including the strings, the scale lenght and the string height in millimetres? Other parameters? As I wrote, I need my bass to work well on all three techniques, pizz, arco and slap.

    And yes, I know, a teacher wouldn`t hurt, but any online tutorials you have found useful, books, etc?

    Many thanks in advance, Reiska
  2. Dude Oss

    Dude Oss

    Oct 26, 2015
    I had the same question but I think that it's more difficult to slap on the D en G string because of the higher tension. The height of my G string is somewhere around 7-8mm so you height should be allright. I think is technique. I'm playing for a year now and things are getting easier by the week.
    Reiska likes this.
  3. DukeCC


    Nov 4, 2016
    Those string heights seem reasonable, from another newb perspective. I also find the D and G harder to slap/snap the way I want, FWIW. And in my case I don't think a lower height will help. A thinner string might?

    More trustworthy voices may chime in momentarily.
    Reiska likes this.
  4. I'd call those string heights low using EP Slaps for that style. They felt like rubber bands on my bass set to that height, and the tension balance across the set (with gut G/D) was very even.

    Barring a setup problem we don't know about, this is almost certainly a technique issue. Are you watching the Lee Rocker video? Ignore EVERYTHING he says. What you want to do is bring the hand down onto the strings and slide the fingers across the string you intend to pull, allowing it to catch on the balls of your fingers. Pull gently almost straight outward from the belly of the bass, then allow the string to slide off your fingertips and slap back onto the board.

    The basic technique is very similar to dribbling a basketball, and should be as close to effortless as possible.
    Reiska likes this.
  5. Reiska


    Jan 27, 2014
    Helsinki, Finland
    Thanks a lot for your replies, it certainly is a technique issue, as is just about everything else slap bass and me. I tried slapping and E.P slaps setup first time on rehearsals today, after some toying in the practise room. There`s a hell of a lot of shedding to do! However, I might get back to the E.P weich EA / plain gut DG setup, I`m missing the pizz power and feel of those low strings, and the plain gut D too. I`m not sure if I`m making slapping harder with E.P weichs on EA, but I might try a 2,1mm plain gut G string I have. I had my strings at 10 - 13mm, but took them a milliteter down for comfort and intonation. If I want to get higher than that I need a new bridge.

    @KUNGfuSHERIFF, no, I`m not watching that video :) Thanks for your fine description about correct technique, I`ll certainly keep that in mind!
  6. Reiska


    Jan 27, 2014
    Helsinki, Finland
    Swapped to E.P weich EA / plain gut DG with the same string height and it seems that this setup works better for me than the E.P slaps set. At least I can`t put down the bass! This is freaking fantastic:

    This is played on Spiro mittels I believe.

    Any slap oriented stuff from YT, and especially quality video tutorials are wholeheartedly welcome!!!

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