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Slap newbie needs help!

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Valleyman, Apr 26, 2005.

  1. Valleyman


    Apr 26, 2005
    I've gotten into slap bass recently, and I've been trying to slap in my spare time.

    My biggest problem is with the thumb strokes- It just sounds like a dull thud, nothing really rings out. Should I be actually pulling the string, or just just striking them with my thumb?

    It would also be a big help if someone knows of a site that I could use to develop my technique.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. You need to get off the string more quickly. I was trying to play lefty yesterday, just for kicks, and the slap just wasn't happening, so I know exactly how you feel. You might try slapping nearer the bridge at first for a little more bounce.
  3. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    Actually, you should be slapping closer to the neck. My thumb pretty much hits right around where the last 2 frets on the neck are. You need to kind of whack it. like when you whip someone with a towel to try and sting em. :)

    Some other things may be causing the thump also. If your action is really high it will be difficult to get a good sound, especially if you're new at it. Dead strings and certain basses can cause thumpiness also. It's a lot easier to slap on a musicman or warwick than it is a squire P-bass.

    What kind of bass do you have?
  4. Valleyman


    Apr 26, 2005
    I've got a BC Rich Warlock, no idea where it stands in quality, I just got a great deal for it.

    As far as I can tell, though I may be deprived, it's a nice bass, definitely enough for my needs.
  5. I just thought the extra bounce nearer the bridge might be a good way to get up and running.
  6. pezoamo

    pezoamo Guest

    Mar 1, 2005
    I didnt know that. I have a p-bass and i slap fine on it now that i have been practicing it for months. Suddenly everything makes sense.
  7. pyrohr


    Aug 28, 2001
    Pakistani compound
    You are playing in the wrong area of the strings!

    As said in a post above, you should be play at the bottom of the neck. try getting your action low as possible without frets buzzing (get a good setup) and start with hitting the strings with the boney part of your thumb, do not bang the string, hit it lightly. Take your time, Rome wasn't built in a day! Practice, practice, practice!
  8. chilipepperflea

    chilipepperflea Guest

    Apr 13, 2005
    East Anglia
    hey, i was just reafding this thread and i have a squire P-Bass lol, annoying me now cuz i wanna slap.

    my question is, can u slap resonably well on a squire P-Bass? and are there any tips on getting a better sound out of it?

    anything would be grateful, thanx alot

  9. You'll probably want to turn down the mids a little, and you'll be good to go. I like to use a bridge pickup and neck pickup together when I slap, but since a P-bass only has the one, you'll have to make do. You can still sound fine.
  10. 5stringDNA

    5stringDNA Supporting Member

    Oct 10, 2002
    Englewood, CO
    Eh, just hit it really hard an freak out hardcore. ;)
  11. chilipepperflea

    chilipepperflea Guest

    Apr 13, 2005
    East Anglia
    cheers, just one question...

    what are mids and how to do i turn them down? i noticed sum1 was on about turnng the action or sumthing? is that the same thinG?

    sorry for the beginners question,

  12. phxlbrmpf


    Dec 27, 2002
    Mids are the sound frequencies that aren't bass bass and aren't treble, they're, well, inbetween. How many knobs does your amp have, besides gain and volume? If it has at least three knobs, the middle one should be controlling the amount of mids in your sound.
    Turning up the bass knob on your bass will make you sound more boomy, turning the treble knob will make you sound brighter, and turning up the mid knob will make it more ... honky, as I can't think of a better term. Some people say slap doesn't sound good with the mids boosted too much.
  13. chilipepperflea

    chilipepperflea Guest

    Apr 13, 2005
    East Anglia
    No i only have two dials, volume and tone i think it is. no mid, i take it slapping is still possible right? its just i cant tweak it??

  14. Theshortlist_to


    Apr 20, 2005
    what i find difficult about slap is ghost notes or dampened notes or whatever you want to call them.

    i dont seem to be able to get anywhere on the fretboard quick enough after playing them, extremely frustrating.


    Jan 25, 2005
    Des Moines, IA
    Good slapping comes from good technique.

    No, you'll not get the optimum sound with a tone dial as your only eq, but you should still try to work on slapping near the botom of the neck, dampening the unslapped strings to prevent ring, and most importantly ACCURACY!! Speed will come later and better tone will come from more eq control.

    Just my $.02
  16. I have an NJ Beast bass, and it doesn't have a great slap tone either. I guess its the precision pickups, or maybe the active electronics? I don't really do any slapping at shows, if I did I'd probably invest in another bass for that (read: make up excuse to buy a new bass).
  17. chilipepperflea

    chilipepperflea Guest

    Apr 13, 2005
    East Anglia
    this morning i have made great progress, i had an inkling to try slap again before i went to sixth form (college). i was on the board last night and must have picked sumthin up because i just seemed to know how to do it this morning and i am getting a good sound coming out now! for sum reason it seems to be working, im just gonna take it slow and get accuracy and a good sound and like you said...speed will come naturally.

    just a quick question then, when slapping, do u mute the other strings with your other fingers?? i never knew this, i can see why tho. is that what you meant by dampening the other strings to prevent ringing??

    and how to u mute the string you are playing, if you lift completly off it plays the open, so do you have to like half lift off, like you were playing a muted note?? therefore stopping it from ringing on?

    and lastly! i would just like to say thankyou for everyone who has given me advice here, it has been very gratfully recieved and i have got miles better because of it, cheers every1.



    Jan 25, 2005
    Des Moines, IA
    Depending on which string I'm playing, I'll either mute w/ my other fingers or with the palm area near my thumb. Usually it's with my palm, as I am able to get more coverage on the strings...and my fingers are usually busy on the fretboard. I use a light pressure...barely touching them. This works on strings I'm playing as well. Just snap your wrist into the string and then apply the pressure.

    Some of the guys here has talked about a dvd from Alexis Sklarsky which is said to be pretty good as a learning tool.
  19. chilipepperflea

    chilipepperflea Guest

    Apr 13, 2005
    East Anglia
    so you use ur right hand? the slapping hand is that?

    and also what if u wanna do a double slap, in quick succession, do u still mute like that just do it really really quick? like playing two slaps on the same string, but want both to be short and zappy kinda lol.

    cheers ryan


    Jan 25, 2005
    Des Moines, IA
    Yep, my slap hand is my right. As far as the double slap, it's usually 2 quick ones w/ barely any mute...sometimes I'll do a thumb slap and then a "hammer on" (which is tapping the string with your fret hand)

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