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Slapping an electric bass without the amp: how should it sound?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by SpaghettiBass, Aug 24, 2019.

  1. SpaghettiBass


    Aug 24, 2019
    Hello guys!
    This is my first post here and I already have a question about the "slap" technique (which really intrigues me and seems fundamental to me).
    But first, here's some info that might orient you in your comprehension of my problem: I play a four-string Squier jazz bass, the strings are new (so, I believe, it's a matter of technique and not of equipment) and I'm a beginner (so please forgive the many mistakes I'll make).
    That being said, my question about slap bass is: should the string hit the neck of the bass when slapped? Because whenever I hit the string with the side of my thumb, it collides with the fretboard (around the first fret) and makes a "clacking" noise and, given that I have no bass teacher, I can't understand if it's right or wrong and all the tutorials on YouTube are shown with an amplifier, so I can't really discern the "real" noise. Is it normal that, when I slap, my bass does that or should it be a pure vibration without any hit?
    Also, in the rare cases I manage to slap without making the string hit the fretboard, the sound I produce has a very low intensity even with the amplifier. So which technique is correct? If the latter is the right one, should I slap harder to obtain a louder sound?
    Thank you for your help!
    -SpaghettiBass Slap basso.jpg
  2. gebass6

    gebass6 We're not all trying to play the same music.

    The slap is the sound of the string against the frets.
    SpaghettiBass and knumbskull like this.
  3. Malcolm35


    Aug 7, 2018
    With out the amp your sound is more like a percussion sound, i.e. like a drummer. Only when the amp is on do we get "sound" from our electric bass. And yes if you want more volume, hit harder or increase the volume by turning the volume knob.

    If that did not help. Rephrase your question and we will try again.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2019
  4. SpaghettiBass


    Aug 24, 2019
    Thank you so much for your explanation! :))
  5. bfields


    Apr 9, 2015
    Ann Arbor, MI
    There are a lot of differences between the acoustic sound and the sound that comes out of an amp. I recommend practicing with an amp all the time. If you're in a situation where you have to play quietly, use headphones or move the amp closer to your ears.

    And, yeah, what makes slap sound like slap is the string hitting the frets.
    gebass6 likes this.
  6. Biffa

    Biffa Banned

    Apr 16, 2019
    County Durham, UK
  7. SpaghettiBass


    Aug 24, 2019
    Thank you all guys for your explanations! They are all very appreciated!
  8. enricogaletta


    May 21, 2011
    Probably you need to set the neck pickup a bit lower.
    If you already changed the strings, and made an acceptable strings action, probably the E string hits one of the pole pickups.
    Let me know if you need more help.
  9. SpaghettiBass


    Aug 24, 2019
    Oh I understand! Thank you Enrico!
    enricogaletta likes this.

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