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Slap Happy Steel Core Weed Wackers First Impressions

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by Slapstyle, Jun 17, 2014.


  1. Slapstyle

    Slapstyle

    Dec 3, 2009
    Maine
    Not too impressed.

    A bit of history, so you know what you're looking at, and who you're listening to. This is information that is often overlooked in reviews, and can account for a lot of misinterpretations. I rely on reviews heavily, and I wish more people would put background info in.

    I've been playing EB for about 15 years, upright for a couple. I have a Shen SB 80 setup by Upton. They sent it with a middle of the road setup, Helicore Hybrids, and their wing piezo pickup. It plays immaculately, and sounds like a new, cheap plywood bass. Not very complex. It does the trick. I've played nicer instruments. I've HEARD much nicer, but it's what I could afford and it's fine. I hate the Piezo, and always have. I've never tried another piezo on this bass. I'd like to, some day. I currently use a Krivo Mag.

    I played in a folk trio/alt rock singer songwriter/traditional Acadian fiddle band with it as I purchased it. The Helicores were tough on my virginal fingers so I got some Velvet Animas. Loved the tone and feel, but when I joined a rockabilly band, I needed to go mag due to feedback issues. I got the Krivo and Blast Cult Low Life steels. Loved those strings. Sounded good, nice and loose for slap. My favorite for rockabilly thus far. Only drawback is they came unwound after about 11 months of light gigging, which many say isn't bad, but I thought it was premature. So I put the Helicores back on. Decent slap tone, though high tension, my fingers are stronger now and could handle it. Only real problem was I got NO fingerboard click with the D or G strings and I didn't like that, even with the K and K piezo under the fingerboard. I started looking at superior tri cores, and other weed wackers that would work with the krivo. Superior had a long wait time and were out of materials for the D and G strings so I ordered the far cheaper Slap Happy strings, which had a decent acoustic sound based on a youtube video comparison to guts. Admitedly, acoustically they sound ok. Not a ton of volume, but my bass doesn't seem to be very loud anyway, regardless of strings. I put the piezo back on, for giggles, and the sound was ATROCIOUS. Plasticky and aweful, with tons of finger noise and just plain bad. I hate the sound of the piezo anyway, but this was even worse than with other strings. Through the mag, the tone is pretty decent, on the A string. Good woody click. D string is ok, with less click. G string is ok with almost no click. E string sounds completely dead and lifeless, weather through a pickup, or unamplified. Just totally limp. I'll be interested to hear them in the band setting, and hope they grow on me as they break in. It's been a couple of weeks though, and they've stabilized and I'm still not real happy. I've never played guts or even other weed wackers so I can't really draw any valuable comparisons there. The Blast Cults were better tonally, and more playable, but the click wasn't woody and traditional enough for me. I like the A string click of the Slap Happys but that's about all I can really say for them. I don't hate them. Not flaming them at all. Just not really impressed. I had high hopes and am a little let down. They definitely work with a mag though. I'll try to remember to update after my gig, and again if my opinion changes over time. I'd like to try the tri cores for comparison for sure.
     
  2. What preamp were you using with the piezo?
     
  3. Slapstyle

    Slapstyle

    Dec 3, 2009
    Maine
    @FatBoutedGirls , I used the piezo a few different ways. Just direct into an amp. I used the FDeck HPF pre. I used the K and K channel blender with K and K clicky. And I used a rack of gear with a markbass compressor, 31 band graphic eq and wireless unit, all in a number of mix and match configurations. It always sounds thin at the top, with TONS of finger noise. Big but sterile on bottom. Lacking in the mids, but boosting mids on the amp will inevitably increase the plasticky highs and finger noise.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2014
  4. Slapstyle

    Slapstyle

    Dec 3, 2009
    Maine
    It's weird because I LOVE the guys from Upton. Bass is the name of their game. It's their pickup that they themselves fitted to their bridge. One would think it would be, at minimum, adequate.
     
  5. Slapstyle

    Slapstyle

    Dec 3, 2009
    Maine
    The best sound I got with the piezo from Upton was with the Velvet Animas, going through the GB shuttle 6.0 with the treble ALL THE WAY off, the mids set to about 2k and ALL THE WAY off. That was tolerable, and almost natural sounding.
     
  6. Sounds like the pickup wasn't fitted quite right. Rev Solos are very finicky about position, and can make BIZARRE sounds when they're out of place.
     
  7. Slapstyle

    Slapstyle

    Dec 3, 2009
    Maine
    I dunno, @KUNGfuSHERIFF . It was fitted by Upton. It's pretty snug. Any suggestions on how to correct?
     
  8. Slapstyle

    Slapstyle

    Dec 3, 2009
    Maine
    It would be real nice to get a good piezo sound, without feedback. I'd like to go gut, but can't seem to live without my mag, playing at high volume in tight little venues with my amp aimed directly at the back of my bass. Not ideal.
     
  9. It may have shifted. What I did with mine was tweak it very slightly and listened to changes in the sound, and then marked the position with a pencil when I found what I was looking for, so I could find that position again quickly if the pickup got bumped and moved out of place.
     
  10. Slapstyle

    Slapstyle

    Dec 3, 2009
    Maine
    Hmm... I'll try that, though it's been removed and reinstalled a number of times and always sounds the same.
     
  11. I had those same issues until I used a K&K preamp/blender with my bassmax/clicky. I don't know what to tell you because my bottom is huge, to the point I have to make sure my amp is decoupled from the stage to make sure I don't get feedback through my endpin. I wish it was placement but my pickup is always getting bumped around without those symptoms (and I trust KungFuSheriff). I did reverse my clicky and bridge pickup one time and got a terrible result but you seem to be pretty sober so I doubt that's it. I want to help but without hearing it first hand and playing around with the chain I'm at a loss.
     
  12. Slapstyle

    Slapstyle

    Dec 3, 2009
    Maine
    Yeah, I've done that. That's not the issue though. It does create some "interesting" sounds. It's strange though. Maybe I just got a bad pickup. Who knows?

    I do want to update my thoughts on the strings though. I did my first gig with them and was fairly pleased with the sound in a band setting. At higher volumes and with drums and guitar in the mix, I didn't notice the lifeless nature of the E string, and the G and D have started to develop more of a click, partly due to breaking in, and partly due to shift in technique. I don't hate them. Maybe I don't love them either, but they'll work just fine for now. I'll update on longevity if I manage to break one, or if my feelings about them change again.
     
  13. Slapstyle

    Slapstyle

    Dec 3, 2009
    Maine
    They are higher tension than I expected though, and my right hand is tired from slapping, which is a new phenomenon for me. Not sure what that's all about. They're definitely lower tension than my Helicore Hybrids, but higher than the Blast Cult Low Lifes. Not sure why these would make me exert more force with my plucking hand than the Hybrids, but they seem to have. Maybe it's the slight shift in technique to get more click from the D and G, but I spend much of my slapping time on the E and A so I wouldn't think so. Not sure, but I'll keep an eye on it for the next few gigs and see what happens.
     
  14. Slapstyle

    Slapstyle

    Dec 3, 2009
    Maine
    Maybe it's because I was demoing and refacing a foundation that morning, swinging a 4 lb hammer much of the day. Der.
     
  15. Alib8

    Alib8

    Aug 16, 2014
    Poland
    @Slapstyle
    I am looking to try the Slap Happy Steel Cores soon, are you still using them, how did they work out?
     
  16. Slapstyle

    Slapstyle

    Dec 3, 2009
    Maine
    It's been forever now but I've hated everything I've tried besides Superior Bassworks Deluxe strings. I'm using the middle 4 of the bump set but the E is floppy. He stopped selling the tricore version with a higher tension E so my next move is to go to the biggest string in the set for my E, to up my tension there and keep the rest where they are. I love the strings, and they feel and sound just like when I bought them a couple years ago. If this next setup doesnt make me happy, I'll start playing with a metal E string. The Blast Cult low lifes were amazing but died quickly. Not sure what I'd try. I don't like the tension of Velvet's Aenema's, which is supposed to be their kind of synthetic gut for jazzers or something, not really sure. Nice strings but hard on my fingers.
     
  17. Slapstyle

    Slapstyle

    Dec 3, 2009
    Maine
    Glancing back through, I was having pickup issues as well. I've settled on David Gauges answer to a full circle. I forget what it's called but it sandwiches between the star adjusters and the bridge wing, kind of like the full circle, where the piezo is built in to the adjuster and unlike the normal Gauge pickup that goes under the foot of the bridge. I'm super happy with this pickup, alone or with my K&K clicky and I love 3 of the 4 Superior Bassworks strings I'm using. Still chasing tone... always chasing tone, but spending way less time and money because I'm pretty happy. Never satisfied, but pretty happy. I definitely hated the Slap Happys with the fiery passions of hell, but I know people that like em. I hated the texture and they rolled under my fingers so instead of plucking them I was sort of sliding off of them and playing it more like a fretless j bass with super low tension like right up on the fingerboard. It was weird. But they're cheap so try em. Hate em. Then buy the Superiors. I forget what they cost, like maybe 75 bucks for the set, tops, shipped. Well worth it in my opinion. I'm not interested in switching. If he develops more products, I'll try those. Wish he didn't discontinue the tricores. But he's a cool guy and I've talked to him directly on a number of occasions and we're facebook friends. I really like that. I can actually talk to the guy. Not some service or employee or whatever. THE guy. I love that. Brandon. Real nice guy. Same with the guys at Blast Cult. Awesome crew. Genzler before he sold to Fender. Not sure what he's doing now but when he was running Genz Benz it was actually him who responded to my tech emails. That's a very special thing and I don't take it lightly. These are the people I choose to support with my money and I feel they offer me the best value for that dollar by far, and it goes beyond the value of their products, to the service, and beyond all of that just being a human and not an entity. Not a corporation or conglomerate with no soul, but just being a guy. Being a person trying to make it, and bring something cool to people and solve problems or create toys for people like themselves.

    SOAP BOX. HAHAHAHA. I'll shut up now. I shouldn't have eaten those pot cookies for breakfast.
     
  18. jasonrp

    jasonrp

    Feb 19, 2015
    vt
    Ever thought about a wound gut E?
     
    Slapstyle likes this.
  19. Slapstyle

    Slapstyle

    Dec 3, 2009
    Maine
    Yes but I'm a lazy person. I'm a horrible dog owner. Worse to my bass. I don't want to waste 300 bucks on an E string just to eff it up.
     
  20. jasonrp

    jasonrp

    Feb 19, 2015
    vt
    I love the bassworks guts except for that flubby E. Maybe a goldenslap E? It's a lot like a tritone but just a bit more tension. It wont work with a krivo (not that your bassworks do either)
     

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