1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

Slap/pop - Am I missing something?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by The Big, Oct 17, 2020.


  1. The Big

    The Big

    Jun 24, 2020
    Before you say it - I've searched. A lot. I've watched countless videos and I just don't understand.

    I never really learned to slap, but decided to give it another go for some RHCP cover stuff. I'm facing the same issue as before. My slap tone is so-so, it's alright. But the pop sounds utterly horrendous.

    This is the tone I'm trying to achieve:

    This here is my tone (it's ear-wrenching for both the tone and my lack of experience):

    My bass is a Fender Elite J-bass from 2018, I'm playing on active. I've fiddled with it a lot. Scooped mids, boosted treble, even all flat. I tried passive. Tried bridge, neck, blend... I have fresh strings. I'm recording DI. I literally set up everything exactly like the dude. Maybe my action is a little high, but I lost my wrench.

    I'm not sure if my problem is a matter of technique (with which I have a LONG way to go), or if something's fishy about the bass. I'd wager the former, but the difference is just so vast, and I'm left clueless.
     
  2. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Tell us a little more.

    How was the EQ on your bass set when you made that recording?

    What kind of strings?

    What kind of amp/preamp/interface did you record through and how was it set?

    At first listen it just sounds "too bright". Too much highs and high mids and not enough booty. You aren't going to be able to EQ the same way for finger style and slap.
     
    Thegrandwazoo and foolforthecity like this.
  3. The Big

    The Big

    Jun 24, 2020
    Yeah that's what I figured. Far, far too bright. So I'm on active mode, day-old nickel D'Ad 105 roundwounds, all EQ flat, amp slightly reduced mid, pups 80% panned to bridge.
     
  4. Reedt2000

    Reedt2000 Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2017
    Central New Jersey
    Honestly, not to come down too hard on you, but sounds to me like it might just be a technique issue. Ive always thought about slap & pop as being two halves of the same motion. As you come down to slap, you set yourself up to pop. The pop happens as you rotate up to setup a slap again. The tricky part IME, is allowing your thumb to bounce off after the slap, without pulling your hand away so you've hooked your index (or middle) finger under the proper strip to pop.

    I wouldn't sweat EQ settings all that hard, a J bass with tone and both pickups on full should be able to give you a decent tone for the style. Maybe boost bass and highs a little on your amp if you want to.

    Like all technique, practice slow at first, focusing on executing the movements as accurately as possible, then increase speed.

    I hope that helps.
     
    Bass Jones, retslock and mcnach like this.
  5. The Big

    The Big

    Jun 24, 2020
    That'd be the best case. I'd much rather have to practice more than fiddle with EQ knobs all day. Thanks, I'll look into it more and put in some extra elbow grease, put in those hours... And maybe lower the action, come to think of it. It actually does seem a tad high now that I look.
     
    Mark McClelland and Reedt2000 like this.
  6. bass12

    bass12 Say "Ahhh"...

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    When switching from fingers to thumping live the most I'll change the EQ on my Jazz is to add a bit more high end. Everything else stays the same (and I will sometimes leave the highs as is). I honestly don't know what's going on with the tone in your recording, OP, but the popping does sound odd - as if there is some distortion going on. My knowledge of electronics is extremely limited but it sounds like something is wrong with either your pickups or your preamp. Is the battery in your bass fresh?
     
  7. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    To me, the classic slap sound is both pickups wide open. I wouldn't favor the bridge pickup.
     
  8. The Big

    The Big

    Jun 24, 2020
    I got the bass used and it arrived just yesterday. It was apparently pretty much unused by the previous owner, no modifications, no damage. I changed everything but forgot the battery. That's a trip to the store for sure. If it ain't the battery though... Then I really don't know.
     
  9. The Big

    The Big

    Jun 24, 2020
    Here's a normal fingerstyle sample, nothing flashy, just a runthrough of all the frequencies. Active on, EQ flat, pups equal. As user bass12 mentioned, maybe something's wrong with the electronics? I really can't tell, I've played firewood since day one, this is the first "professional" bass I've owned.

     
  10. bass12

    bass12 Say "Ahhh"...

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    How’s the pickup height on your bass?
     
  11. The Big

    The Big

    Jun 24, 2020
    Very uneven. Whoever owned it prior to me lifted up the treble side and pushed down the bass side. Haven't adjusted it yet, getting a new screwdriver at the store today along with wrenches for the bridge.
     
    Thegrandwazoo and bass12 like this.
  12. SunByrne

    SunByrne opinionated intellectual Supporting Member

    Aug 29, 2019
    Pearland, TX
    My guess is it's more technique than knob fiddling.

    In fact, I think you might be having the same problem that I have when I'm not concentrating enough on what I'm doing.

    If I pop by just kind of pulling the string up with my finger, I don't get that hard percussive pop sound. Blander, quieter.

    The trick for me is to remember that it's not a finger movement—it's a wrist movement.

    If the next thing I'm going to do is slap, this is much more natural; I want my hand rotated up anyway. But when I'm playing successive pops, I feel like I want to cheat and keep my hand down and pop mostly by just moving my fingers. It doesn't work very well, I get that weak pop tone. I particularly catch myself when I'm playing scales and there are three pops in quick succession.

    Gotta twist that wrist up every time on the pop like the next thing I'm going to do is slap... even if I'm not actually going to slap.

    Give that a try.
     
  13. The Big

    The Big

    Jun 24, 2020
    Just did and it made a difference! It's nowhere near where I want it, still far too much bite, but it's not quite as bad as it was.
     
    Reedt2000 likes this.
  14. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    In
    All the difference in the world. Much beefier and rounder tone. I would still level the pickups but this is much better.
     
    Thegrandwazoo and Reedt2000 like this.
  15. Sub-hoo-fer

    Sub-hoo-fer

    Nov 27, 2015
    Virginia
    I bet the pup height being so high has something to do with it.

    I can maintain a bass once it is in good shape but I personally struggle to get a used instrument where I like it without help. It sounds like whomever owned your instrument last had some specific requirements. If you’re not a set up wizard, I would invest the coin in a pro set up. That will take the action and the pup height out of your way to focus on technique.
     
    The Big likes this.
  16. The Big

    The Big

    Jun 24, 2020
    Glad to hear it. It does sound a lot crisper on the low end. The treble side is still messed up but even pushing down the pickup with my finger makes a difference.
     
  17. RattleSnack

    RattleSnack

    Sep 22, 2011
    Europe
    A good slap/pop is not about EQ or even type of guitar/pickups, although on some it's easier to get it right.
    It's about being percussive and in the pocket. I prefer to slap on my 51' P bass, it's not better or worse than my 75' RI Jazz, just different.
    My advice, listen to percussionists and drummers, and practise with them on a flat EQ, both pickups on Jazz. When you feel you are grooving and funky, go to EQ fiddling. That's least important part of slap/pop.
     
    Obese Chess, Reedt2000 and mcnach like this.
  18. The Big

    The Big

    Jun 24, 2020
    Will do. How about string gauge though? I've always used fairly heavy strings, now I'm on 105's, but I've heard 95's are just plain better for this style of bass playing.
     
  19. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    That's how Larry Graham first approached slap anyway. He was playing in his church band. And, if I recall correctly, their drummer wasn't there for some reason, so he started playing "drums" on his bass.
     
    RattleSnack and The Big like this.
  20. bass12

    bass12 Say "Ahhh"...

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    Marcus Miller uses .045-.105; Victor Wooten .040-.095, Mark King .030-.090. It really depends on you, your bass and the tone you want. I prefer .040-.100 on most of my basses.
     
    Artman, 600 Ohms, red_rhino and 2 others like this.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.