Slapping A Fretless

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Slip'nn2Darknes, Aug 6, 2005.

  1. I was reading through the bass reveiws and looked up my Fender American (Jaco) Fretless and seen where it said this about slapping.
    "Fender does not offer one on its American line. Slapping on this bass is great - thumpy, but still composed and tight."

    This had me wondering about the truth behind this.
    I try to slap with my fretless, but due to the flatwound strings being so close to the fretboard, Slapping it does not have the same effect. I hit the fretboard most of the time.
    I also thought that frets help with slapping and popping. Making that unique sound.
    Any comments on this subject?
  2. E.O.M.


    Dec 7, 2001
    Grand Rapids, MI
    You can definitely slap on a fretless if it is setup right. It just has a different sound. Ever listen to Primus? Les Claypool slaps on fretless all the time, like in "Tommy the Cat".

    The fact that the frets aren't there does get rid of that characteristic 'metal' sound that most people think of when they think of slap bass. Fretless slapping sounds more 'woody' to me.

    Oh, and roundwound strings might help. However, the combination of roundwound strings and slapping are both hard on the fretboard.
  3. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Roundwound strings definitely help.

    *shrug* I've never had a problem with it. Wearing on the fretboard, yes, but it sounds pretty cool.
  4. Basically it'll never sound the same since it's hitting wood (fretboard) instead of metal (frets). But you can get a nice, fat, woody tone out of it with the right variables. With a good setup and preferably roundwound strings, you can coax a good slap tone out of it... however you won't sound like Marcus.
  5. i personally like the sound of fretless slapped,

    but not when i'm doing it