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Slap Bass Technique

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by StringMan50, Nov 30, 2004.

  1. StringMan50


    Jan 12, 2004
  2. Minger


    Mar 15, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    I'll check it out...I still can't ge thte hang of slap (or even getting a not dead sound)
  3. LowEbandit


    Aug 11, 2004
    I'm thinking it may be your bass, the dead sound you're getting.
    I have a Yamaha that is IMPOSSIBLE to slap on, it just sounds dead no matter what I try to do. I'm not a slap man myself but i'm learning. I have a Schecter that slaps really well though, that's why I'm thinking it may be your bass.
  4. I have a GSR190 and the best time to slap 'er is when the strings are brand new...sounds half decent considering my bad slap technique...

    once I get another bass I plan to learn some slap/double thumb...this could help,ty
  5. Joe Turski

    Joe Turski

    Jul 29, 2003
    Moved to technique.
  6. endorka


    Oct 15, 2004
    Glasgow, Scotland
    I am not great at this technique, but a couple of things from my own experience: as Osama says, fresh strings are good. The right tone also helps - you'll know it when you hear it. And last but by no means least, a decent compressor can make a huge difference, it will even out the volume of the various pops, clicks and bangs and make your playing sound more like that you hear on recordings...

    From a technique point of view you should keep your arm, wrist etc as relaxed as possible. A lot of people tend to tense up when playing this style, a sure groove killer and fatigue inducer.

  7. First time i started slapping, i got a brand new set of books, then just basically ruined them in a week or two by practicing so hard with them. then once i got a new set of strings, i was quite surprised how good my slapping was. I find that dampening the other strings that you aren't playing on really helps, i do that on everything i play, it takes a while to get that technique down but it makes everything sound crystal clear.
  8. Minger


    Mar 15, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    well, getting the basic technique down would probably help too...and my strings have been on ther ehte 2 months I've had them, adn teh guy I got it from on Ebay said they were new strings...o well, whatever. I'll ge tthe hang of it eventually
  9. FUNKonthewall

    FUNKonthewall Nailing The Groove

    Sep 29, 2004
    Atlanta, GA
    Endorsing: Fodera Guitars, Aguilar Amps, Dunlop/MXR Accessories
    Same here. If you dampen the strings you're not playing, it will give you a more solid slapping tone. Even if your thumb should happen to graze a string you didn't want to hit, you've got it muted so it makes no sound anyway.

    New strings are always a good refresher. I just put a new set on about 2 hours ago and it's a great feeling, especially if you like to slap. Fast Fret keeps them "slappable" for longer.

    Remember to keep your elbow/wrist/thumb loose. There should be no tension in your arm at all, save the tension it takes to actually make the slapping motion.
  10. Luciano_Bass

    Luciano_Bass Guest

    Nov 6, 2004
    Boiling Strings?

    Have you ever considered this, perhaps the night before a performance, recording, or even for your own pleasure, the following procedure can make old strings sound great:

    Remove your strings one by one, raplacing each string with an old set (if you have them), it's important to do only do a string at a time because you do not want to let the tension on the neck slacken, then tighten as this results in weak wood.

    Once all the strings have been removed, boil water, just water, nothing added, then let your strings sit in the water for your desired time, currently about an hour does it for me, but I guess it depends on things like the gauge and how dirty your strings are.

    Then, like before remove the strings on your bass replacing the old strings with the boiled strings, chances are you'll find that the strings you've put back on sound great.

    The only problem with this is, you each time you do it to one set of strings, the sound becomes bad quicker than it would with new strings. For example, you may boil them once and after 5 weeks the sound deteriorates, and then next boiling it'll be 3 weeks etc.

    However as beass strings can be annoyingling $$$ (especially if you're on 5s or 6s) then this boiling act can really do wonders for your sound.

    I also big up the compressor, it makes a huge difference.

    I hope this helps you, let me know if it works...
  11. Diowulf

    Diowulf Guest

    Aug 4, 2004
    San Rafael CA
    I have a GSR200, and I realize that I can get a good slap out of the E, but not any of the other string. I read someones post a while ago saying that the GSR200 was a slap monter, or something like that.I was thinking about changing the action to see if it helped. I also haven't put new strings on in like 3 monthes. I'm also just getting into slapping, so it might be my technique :confused: .
  12. endorka


    Oct 15, 2004
    Glasgow, Scotland
    Luciano, the string boiling stuff is good. I have done this in the past but with vinegar added to the water, and it seemed to work well. Eventually though, I couldn't be bothered with the hassle of this or expense of new strings so decided to get used to the sound of old strings, and they can sound pretty good for most things. As a result I would keep the strings on until one of them broke, which usually took several years. The bonus is that the sound coming from the bass is totally consistent, you always know where you are.

    I've taken this to extremes now and am using flatwounds that I hope will last years.
  13. wut do u guys recommend on compressors as far as price and quality?
    is this strictly only for recording?
  14. endorka


    Oct 15, 2004
    Glasgow, Scotland
    My compressor is an Alesis 3630, a two channel rackmount jobby. It is not bass specific, but works well. It is quite old, I bought it around ten years ago, and at the time it was superior to the pedal types.

    Haha! I've just had a look on the Alesis website and they still make it!


    A machine that has stood the test of time :)

    Compressors are not just useful for recording, for rock and pop type gigs they are very handy live; for jazz or other gigs where there is a greater variety in dynamics I find them less useful, as they tend to compress the dynamic range you actually want. In fact I don't use the compressor on that type of gig at all.

    I also found the compressor would increase my presence at gigs where I was severely outgunned in amplifier power by the guitarists. It seemed to allow me more volume without the bass sound splattering all over the place.

    A caveat: in my experience, compressors do take a bit of effort to learn their effective use. They are not like other effects in the instant gratification sense, indeed when plugging your bass into a compressor at first you might not notice any difference to the sound at all. This is actually a good thing, since the compressor's task is to modify the dynamic range of the sound, not the sound itself.
  15. HotRoded


    Jun 6, 2003
    I am looking for a method for my daughter who begins playing bass, and since slapping is something I don't know how to do, forget how to teach her.

    I found the site mentioned in the 1st post of this thread, and thought: nice! with video clips and everything!....


    First paragraph: how to hold the bass correctly. Very nice, this is for the beginner, and promissing to start from the very basic. Exactly what I need, or my daughter rather.

    then 1st technique: double pop - thumbing.
    Is this really the first thing a beginner is going to learn successfully? It goes so fast on the video clip, it is not possible to see in detail what's going on...

    It is a nice thought to publish this online, but unfortunatelly, I don't see how it is possible for a beginner to learn how to slap using this method.
  16. EricTheEZ1


    Nov 23, 2004
    Clawson, MI
    I for one can not stand that site. I like how in depth it goes into what he's playing, but...

    It's the essence of bad musicianship. Mark King and Lvl 42 stuff is almost exclusively what he plays and all that is flashy slap stuff with little to no groove. I can't even tap my foot to most Mark King stuff. As Flea says, "All flash and no smash."

    Out of every single video and technique explaination, he never actually goes into making a groove. He only seems to cover solo stuff. If you played like that at an improv session you'd never get asked back.

  17. Yeah, that's what it seems to be with a hell of a lot of super fast slapping. I mean, fair enough if you dig making your bass sound like a bunch of tap-dancers on a slippery floor, but I just don't see the musical appeal. It's good for nothing, really. It's not going to please a listening audience, the only thing it will do is make people think "He's slapping quickly", but a musical technique is useless if it isn't actually musical in itself. It can sound good, like how Wooten manages to play "Me and my bass guitar" using just a few notes for the verse sections but filling the sound with dead notes, but in that case (and Mark King, to be fair), it just sounds like someone slapping fast without much musicality.