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Slaphappy

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by lermgalieu, Feb 18, 2002.


  1. lermgalieu

    lermgalieu Supporting Member

    Apr 27, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    I did some searches and I couldn't quite find a tread that addressed this issue exactly - I am starting to learn slap style on my double bass. Its fun as heck, but it won't be my main style in the forseeable future. Here's the thing - I have been informed that getting bridge adjusters will really help me be able to get under the strings without moving my hand too far towards the bridge.

    Here's the question - can I adjust 'em easily on the fly? Like between two songs in the time it wouldn take to tune? Or do I need to loosen all the strings or something before lowering/raising the bridge?

    Second question: Has anyone had 'em installed recently by a luthier? How much can I expect to pay for a fairly "standard" set of adjusters installed?

    Third question: Is it true that rockabilly type slapping sounds best with gut strings or a solo set tuned to normal (EADG) tuning?

    I know this is a lot of questions, if anyone can help me with any of 'em, I'd be tickled pink.
     
  2. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music


    Most adjusters will make it necessary to loosen your strings, though I have heard that the exotic wood adjusters from Kolstein do not. I don't think you really want to do that on stage, could wreak havoc with tuning stability. Frankly, all the room you really need at the end of the fingerboard is enough space for you to slip your fingers in there to pull and slap - that height is not really too high for playing "normally" if that is your goal. Certainly not low enough for fingerboard growl, but then what kinda gig are you playing!?!?

    You may find it a little more economical to have a luthier fit a bridge with adjusters already installed. While this doesn't apply to all luthiers, but the labor to install adjusters in your bridge may make more economic sense to buy a new bridge - and then you always have a backup bridge.

    Yes. ;)

    Both. Depends on the strings and the widely varying opinions of a whole lot of folks.

     
  3. lermgalieu

    lermgalieu Supporting Member

    Apr 27, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    Bob - thanks for the replies. I guess I am just going off how high my strings are right now, and to slap where it sounds best - about midway between there the neck meets the body and the end of the fingerboard - its a bit tough to get the "G" and the "E" strings right now, especially if fingering notes up high. However, I really like the action I currently have for playing pizzicato, like I generally would. A bit of the growl... SO basically you are saying I will need to make a compromise? Dang compromises...
     
  4. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    Well, like I said, I understand the Kolsteins can be adjusted, but I don't know that anyone would suggest that it would be a good idea to do so between tunes.

    But I'm perfectly happy to be contradicted. I'm still learning.
     
  5. lermgalieu

    lermgalieu Supporting Member

    Apr 27, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    I would imagine that it could affect intonation quite dramatically as well?
     
  6. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    Nothing for which your hands can't compensate, if you mean playing - my concern (perhaps unfounded) is that it might cause string instability (stretching? movement) if it were radically repositioned, under tension, for a little while (during performance).

    Just worrying. I do that.
     
  7. Nuno A.

    Nuno A. Velvet Strings Customer Service

    Jul 9, 2001
    SWITZERLAND
    Hello lermgalieu.
    I slap a lot ,either i play jazz(traditional,new orleans...)
    or jump blues, boogie-woogie......
    Recently i put a new bridge with adjusters because my old one was in a really bad condition(i think it was still the original bridge from my 1952 Kay.
    this is just the best bridge with adjusters i ever played, it was custom made by my luthier here in switzerland...
    i payed something like $200.
    sometimes during a song, specially if i need to do double or triple slaps, i realize that the action(usually on the g string) is a little bit low so at the end of the song i just put it higher....after i tune the bass and thats it.....not a dramatic diference in tone .....
    about strings.....for me gut it will always be the best strings to slap, the best for the fingers(i dont talk about nylon strings....for me they're useless), the best for tone.if you slap your bass with metal strings and then with gut......huge difference, i'll tell you,gut doesnt give you this high tone click-tic-clack, the sound of somebody hammering your bass.
    this is just my personal oppinion, however i just love when a luthier or somebody else plays my bass and then say:"this is really a bass with an old sound"
    thas exactly the sound i like....
    Willie Dixon, Mlit Hinton,Slam Stewart style.
    contrary of what a lotta people say , slap-bass is a great technique that when played in the right way can really enhance a song.
    Just check out Willie Dixon's big three trio, Slim and Slam boogie,Milt hinton's -pluckin' the bass....
    I'm sure will you dig it a lot.
    all the best

    N.A.
     
  8. lermgalieu

    lermgalieu Supporting Member

    Apr 27, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    Thanks basscwazy. Actually, I should show my hand a bit - I could swear the bassist I was watching the other night raised his before he slapped 'Sir Duke'. Thing is, I wasn't really paying attention between songs and saw him tuning and the vocalist was giving him a little time with some stage patter. I thought it was odd he needed to tune mid set because he had just played a song on it and it sounded fine - plus the song was a quiet one. I bet he raised it a tad and retuned it. That was the last DB song he played in the set, so I bet he put it back during break..

    Though I don't yet have adjusters, I would say the key here is that it is probably ok to do a subtle height change on the fly, but anything dramatic would be bad. I had noticed that this player had a pretty high sounding action to begin with - didn't have the fart, more of the thud, so he probably just brough it up enough so the G was nice and slapable.

    Thanks all...