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Slap tone vs. fretboard length?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Kwesi, Oct 23, 2010.


  1. It's taken me a LONG time (4+ years) to figure it out but the slap tones that I like seem to only come from long and extra long scale basses with that have 22 frets or less (with the exception of the original Yamaha TRBs! I'd heard the theory before but never really paid it any mind until now. Until fairly recently I only wanted basses with 24 frets and when I finally decided that 24 wasn't necessary for me I found the tone tone that I dig the most (jazz and PJ basses). There might be some 24 fret basses out there that can do it but they seem to be in the minority, though I did hear some Warwick or another cop the MM tone perfectly. Just thought I'd share my findings :).
     
  2. crustychef

    crustychef

    Apr 4, 2009
    Seattle WA
    you wouldn't be referring to my/your old Warwick Streamer Jazzman would you?
    Great slap tone on that bass.
     
  3. Not specifically, and it's not that 24 fret basses sound bad when slapped it just that it's not my sound :). That is an awesome bass. I might've kept it a little while longer but I had 4 basses at the time which was waaaay to many for me to have reasonably.
     
  4. David1234

    David1234

    Jun 1, 2004
    Sydney, Australia
    Endorsing Artist: SWR Amplifiers
    Funny - I've always found that I slap about 3 frets down from the end of the neck regardless of whether the neck has 19, 20, 24 or 26 frets. For me, the neck length isn't the issue, it's the bass and the strings (and their condition) that dominate the slap vibe.
     
  5. Andrew Jones

    Andrew Jones Banned

    Feb 28, 2001
    Northampton Mass
    20 all the way!!! but I want 34 scale,,,,Leo Got it right!!!!


    Aj
     
  6. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    I doubt the tiny bit of wood and metal the additional 2 frets bring would have any noticeable affect on tone at all. The difference in tone that some notice may likely be that they move their plucking hand to a slightly different position due to the extra frets. Pickups are sometimes placed in a slightly different location due the extra frets as well, which will also affect tone.
     
  7. Andrew Jones

    Andrew Jones Banned

    Feb 28, 2001
    Northampton Mass
    No.

    Getting off the end of the fret board has a HUGE effect on the tone.

    IME.


    Aj
     
  8. That's exactly what I mean I just didn't articulate it as well. The way I slap is with my thumb hitting the very last fret and I pluck at just about where the fretboard ends. A 24 fret bass would shift that position a bit yielding a slightly different tone. This is by no means absolute but for be the effect has been fairly consistent. The two exceptions to this rule that I've heard were the Spector Euro 4LX which I owned for quite some time and the Mayones Jabba 5 which I've heard a few times and it has the sound I'm looking for (if only I could play one). And by exceptions I mean they have slap tone similar to that of a jazz bass with less frets, or at least close enough for my liking.
     
  9. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    There's a double-blind test waiting to happen that I'd put money on any day of the week :D
     
  10. Chrisk-K

    Chrisk-K

    Jan 20, 2010
    Maryland, USA
    If you don't like the tone of slapping at the 24th fret, slap at a lower fret. It's where you slap that determines the tone, not the fretboard length per se.
     
  11. That's basically exactly what I said :p. Plus to do what you say would have me stretching my thumb out there quite a bit and even then I can really change where I pop unless I want to move further from the fretboard which I don't want to do. I'm not saying that this is some sort of rule it's just an observation over the many basses I've owned and played since I started.
     
  12. Chrisk-K

    Chrisk-K

    Jan 20, 2010
    Maryland, USA
    When I got my Spector, its slap tone didn't sound right compared with my Js and P. Now that I slap at the 21st fret on the Spector, it gives me a tone to die for ;) I don't have a big right hand but I don't feel like I have to stretch my thumb. At first it did feel awkward not to slap at the end of the fingerboard!
     
  13. Andrew Jones

    Andrew Jones Banned

    Feb 28, 2001
    Northampton Mass
    If it's a Jazz,,,Off the end or over the last couple,,, And the player can get a Big Full Thumb through Tone,,I'd take that.

    BTW, ask Marcus Miller the same question.


    Aj



     
  14. Andrew Jones

    Andrew Jones Banned

    Feb 28, 2001
    Northampton Mass
    I agree,,,to a extent,, IME it's a combination of factors.


    Aj




     
  15. crustychef

    crustychef

    Apr 4, 2009
    Seattle WA
    I slap at the 22 fret and have been playing around with slapping just in front of bridge pick up (humbucker). Mostly for fat sound on slower grooves.
     
  16. Boombass76

    Boombass76 Commercial User

    Jul 1, 2008
    Denmark
    BassCollect Blog & Shop (founder)
    I found out the same a few years back. I had a great Custom Moerch fretless fretted, and though it sounded very nice, I never liked the slap tone - and the same goes for a Custum Celinder and an MTD 635 I had at the same time. I realized that those were the only 24 fret basses I had, and it turned out that I blamed those extra frets ;-)

    Surely, there is in fact a difference as you slap an inch or so further down the strings, and we all know what happens if we move our right hand up or down a notch when playing fingerstyle...

    BUT, that's just my experience, and I have heard other bass players with great slap tones on 24 frets basses.
     
  17. Kipaste

    Kipaste

    Jun 27, 2006
    Helsinki, Finland
    I'm with the op 100% on this one. For me, the naturally fat and twangy slap tone is only easily achievable on a shorter fretboard. Of course one can slap over the fretboard but it's not completely the same, especially since my preferred slapping position has been over the bridge pickup lately.
     
  18. While I don't feel/hear too much of a difference between 22 and 24, I've found that 26 (or more) is somewhat of a slap killer.
     
  19. Andrew Jones

    Andrew Jones Banned

    Feb 28, 2001
    Northampton Mass
    Mike Pope believes this enough to build his bass with a removable upper frets.. For Slap,, right at 20 frets.



    Aj
     
  20. crustychef

    crustychef

    Apr 4, 2009
    Seattle WA
    hmmm...I just remembered that Claypool's CT basses are 26 frets. Just a little something to think about.
     

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