slap bassists' phat

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by InfinityJaco, Aug 21, 2001.

  1. InfinityJaco


    Jun 5, 2001
    I was do some of those great slappers get their tone?? Like Victor Wooten, Stu Hamm, Marcus Miller, Alain Caron, etc..., a lot of those smooth jazz guys that do that smooth slappin it's deep and bassy, but also has a lot of clear high for popping and what they use processor stuff for it or just their amp settings?? If it's the settings, what are they? do you want a lot of mids? or do you want lows and highs up? and like low boosts and high boosts?

  2. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    I'll try to do a short list.

    1. Good technique, it's more momentum than brute force. You don't need much strength to slap. In fact you don't need more strength than for fingerstyle.

    2. Fairly new strings, the newer the better. Roundwounds, I prefer stainless steel, nickels work too.

    3. If you have 2 pickups, crank them both up. This gives the best sound IMO. Bridge only tends to sound to sharp, second best choice. Neck only can give you that P bass honk, which is not everyone's slap sound.

    4. Active basses usually are better for a modern slap sound. Marcus Miller put active electronics in his Fender Jazz.

    5. Reduce the upper mids (800-1000hz) and/or boost lows and highs.

    This is my quick and dirty answer.
    I can say more, if you can more specific questions.
  3. Bass Guitar

    Bass Guitar Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2001
    Hi, what bass do you have?

    What JMX has said in his post is 100% spot on. I just wanted to add that sometimes the bass itself can be the issue. I have played with a few basses, and with some of the cheaper passive basses it is really very difficult to get a good slap tone out of them, even if you change the strings or tweak the EQ. My early basses suffered with this problem. It was when I bought slightly more expensive active basses that the slap tone I got was much improved. My current bass has a beautiful slap tone even with no EQ manipulation or effects.

    Of course, like JMX said, you can always install an active preamp into your bass if it's passive. The Marcus Miller tone is difficult to achieve, but is probably the sweetest slap tone you can get.

    Another thing about effects - slapping with effects like flanger or phaser can create a nice percussive and full tone as well - this is something you will need to experiment with.
  4. InfinityJaco


    Jun 5, 2001
    I own a Warwick Infinity LTD 2000....quite an expensive bass, but I didn't have to pay for it, I won it out of Bass Player Magazine. It's a semi-hollow and has active electronics, sounds really sweet but I'm lookin for a little help on how to get a good slap tone.
    See ya!
  5. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    The Marcus Miller sound is hard for some to get because it's so simple.

    1. Lay off the EQ. Marcus uses the onboard Bart preamp to add bottom to the sound of his stock pickups. No mid cuts, no high boosts.

    People tend to think mids=mud which is possible if you don't have your technique together or have a middy, muddy bass. For me, mids=punch.

    2. Get a bass that naturally sounds like you want it to sound. Sounds obvious but more people spend more dollars trying to "fix" the sound of a bass that has it's own inherent sound (duh). Vic's sound and Marcus' sound are completely different, to me. Marcus has a direct connect to Larry Graham's lineage. Easiest way to get that Jazz bass sound?... get a Jazz bass;). Getting that semi-hollow Warwick to sound like a Jazz could be fun.

    Not a lot of name players have that MM tone but lots of gigging bassists do (even more don't), it's the sound of of guy deep in the rhythym section, not some of the lighter weight fare tonally I hear from some of the other guys (not that that's a bad thing). Nothing like having kick drum dynamics at your beck and call:D

    See below.