Slap versus finger style volume.

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by JoeyO, Oct 12, 2011.

  1. JoeyO


    Apr 3, 2009
    Wolcott, CT
    Seems my volume is noticeably different b/ these style ... When playing a tune that uses them both. Anyone else experience this? What do you do? Seems "inconvenient" to continually have to adjust volume control. Perhaps it is my technique. Perhaps a volume pedal? Compression?
  2. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
  3. JoeyO


    Apr 3, 2009
    Wolcott, CT
    Hmm ... Ok ... Compression. I used a boss pedal in the past ... Would like get something a little better What's a better one?
  4. Lo-E


    Dec 19, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
  5. alec


    Feb 13, 2000
    Perth, Australia
    Long answer - check bongomania's site Compressor Reviews

    Short answer - the new MXR M87 has plenty of fans around here.
  6. A couple of things going on, IMO. First, technique does have a lot to do with it, and most 'beginning' slappers have a significant drop in low end and volume on their thumb thumps. The best way to work on that IMO and IME is to practice anything you do fingerstyle with your thumb slaps also. For example, do simple scales up and down the neck using your fingers and then using thumb hits. You should eventually be able to achieve the same volume and low end, with the only difference being the initial note attack. For some, like me, that took a LONG time.

    Also, DO NOT change tone settings when going from slap to fingerstyle and back. There should be no need to do anything to the knobs in order to get a great fingerstyle and slap tone. The idea of some dialing back mids for slap style also causes issues in balancing fingerstyle and slap tonality, and scooping the mids for slap can cause all kinds of issues with the headroom and perceived volume of you rig.

    The other issue is power amp limiting and speaker power compression. That initial 'thump' puts an incredible volume/power spike through your system, and can overwhelm a small cab or low powered head at even moderate volumes (especially if you have a 'scoop' issue described above). This is one of the reasons so many use slap style as part of the way of evaluating a rig... it will bring a rig to its knees and uncover all kinds of power, limiting and speaker compression issues very quickly.

    Per the above, a limiter/compressor can surely help with that. I actually like to control my dynamics with my chops, and solved the 'equipment issue' but having enough power and a large enough cab so that I don't hit the 'peak' limits of the rig at the volumes I typically play.

    The key to honing your slap tone is to forget about all the fancy slap and pop triplets for a while, and just work on the thumb hits, viewing them more as a technique than a 'style'. Scales, scales, and more scales in the woodshed will take care of most of the issue IMO.

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