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Slap VS Finger volume control

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by bassjamn, Jul 25, 2002.

  1. bassjamn


    Jan 4, 2002
    San Francisco
    Looking for everyone's opinion on how the best way to control the jump in volume slap/pop compares to fingering. Since i play with more force when slap/pop'n i think many people have this problem too...

    I have a 200 watt hartke 2000 amphead(I think, cant remember #'s) with a built in compression knob. It does help keep the volumes level But it does seem to take off a bit of the edge, which i believe is the nature of compression! Sometimes i just leave the compression very low and fiddle with volume knobs on my bass but this can get tricky when alternating styles inbetween songs...

    Was thinking of getting a MXR M-80's DI box just to cut/boost volumes when i need to switch to finger or slap, which brings the question what do you do to control this hairy issue??

  2. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    I never use a compressor live. The key is to learn to slap without killing the string. All you need to do is bounce off the string with your thumb. I noticed John B. Williams and how light he used to slap - it didn't look like he was moving! So I decided to find out how lightly I could attack the bass, and maintain a decent tone. I suggest you learn to slap lighter.
  3. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    What he said.
  4. bassjamn


    Jan 4, 2002
    San Francisco
    Hmm, Dunno bout that - Like i said no matter how hard i finger it still doesnt equal my slapn popn volume and attack tone, Even softly popping ......the attack and tone volume is much greater.

    And what about the times where you switch from hard playing finger style to hard playing slap pop...? you can only get certain sounds by really digging in.

    There has to be a good compression or effect that handles this throw me a bone please.
  5. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    I don't know, man. In my limited experience (only 20 years or so :rolleyes:), technique beats a box anytime. I disagree with your assesment that "you can only get certain sounds certain ways". I find that I can go from slap to easy walking to fingerstyle without ever touching a knob on the bass, or my amp. Proper technique will get you further.
  6. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    Wait a minute MACPAN, are you saying that the effect that he's looking for is between his ears? :confused: ;)
  7. bassjamn


    Jan 4, 2002
    San Francisco
    Hey thanks for your very witty constructive remark phil smith, Please move along.

    I agree with what your saying pacman and in most cases i do play Softer/harder depending on the feel of the tune
    But i do disagree in certain cases, ill be more specific. In a fast aggressive song where you really have to dig in and play with a lot of power and/or speed my volume does jump playing slap it gets hard to control your volume. There is that certain pop sound you can only get playing it as hard as you can( you know what im talkin bout!)
    My teachers have always said the same thing "Really dig in their with your slappin..."
    So needless to say when i switch to fingering in the same song i can not get the same volume. Maybe my thumb/wrists are much stronger then my fingers but i doubt it, Slap/pop by nature is louder due to all that percussive whackin goin on.

    Also this is one things compressors advertise(Maintaining volume levels) when i've looked around over the years.

    So perhaps what i am really looking for is a good compressor recomondation - Anyone ??

    Also i've not been playing for 20 years but only 12, So do know a thing or two :cool:
  8. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Hey, if a compressor is what you want, by all means get one. There are lots of recommendations here at TB.

    OTOH it won't change the fact that Pacman is absolutely right. So is Phil... it "is" between your ears... it's free... and it's something a lot of players have a hard time believing. Doesn't make it less true. If you're trying to get the sound of a fretboard cracking, slam away and even your attack by artificial means. The problem with this is that you'll be giving up some of the infinite control you have by just using your hands. It's your choice either way. Sounds like some serious Yoda junk, doesn't it?;)

    Unless you're beating the snot out of your bass a la Louis Johnson, you can control your volume and still get a big slap and fingerstyle sound with practice. It probably won't happen overnight but if you try and suceed you'll probably amaze people who look at you play and try to figure out how the heck "you" get that much sound out of that little motion.

    It's a finesse thing... trust me;)

    *Tip: turn your amp up and let it do most of the heavy lifting.
  9. Sprinkler

    Sprinkler [account disabled]

    Jul 31, 2002
    uh isnt what you're looking for a limiter?
  10. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Hard, but not impossible - you've just got to practice.

    And the faster a song goes, the lighter you should be playing. Here's why: When you play hard, you carry more muscle tension in your hands. When your hands are more tense, it becomes far more difficult to maintain speed and time. Simple fact, to play fast you've got to lighten up.

    Good luck - and if you're looking for a good compressor, I've heard great things about the RNC. And I used Klark-Teknik DN504s in my studio and they were really nice.