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Slapping: Do You Need a Four Sometimes?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Dr. Cheese, Apr 21, 2015.

  1. Yes

    104 vote(s)
  2. No

    30 vote(s)
  3. Don't care

    24 vote(s)
  4. I prefer a six.

    5 vote(s)
  5. I never slap.

    27 vote(s)
  1. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    i need a four string for certain lines. It is just easier for me to not have to worry about a B string getting in the way for some lines even though I have been playing longer than I care to admit.
  2. Torrente Cro

    Torrente Cro

    Sep 5, 2013
    Actually the only situation when I prefer 5 string over 4 is slapping.
  3. mmbongo

    mmbongo Five Time World Champion Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    I can do everything on a 5...except slap. Don't know why.
    Roberto Nunez and GMC like this.
  4. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    Why is that?
  5. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    I should've added do you need wide spacing to slap a five?
  6. RunBeerRun

    RunBeerRun Banned

    Mar 10, 2003
    I use what I can afford. not really into gear
  7. As long as it's "sometimes."

    My four-string has wider spacing and a brighter tone than the rest of my basses, so it's easier to slap and sounds better for certain types of songs. The other reason is because I slap with thumb facing down like Flea and/or Robert Trujillo, keep my basses strapped low, and never particularly worked on accuracy.

    If I ever decide to switch to a more accurate technique and raised my bass a lot higher, I don't think it would matter as much.

    However, I really don't mind using my 5-string or 6-string fretless to slap. I just have to be more careful about the B-string, because even if it's muted, it still produces an extra percussive effect I don't exactly want or need.
  8. Something about slapping on a 4 has always felt more "natural" to me. Less strings to worry about muting and my thumb and ears didn't like how I made the B string sound. My 6ers are on the narrow side, which makes things a little more challenging.
    hintz and Dr. Cheese like this.
  9. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon.

    I have no problem slapping on a 19mm 5er. BIG problem slapping on a 16-17.5mm 4, 5 or 6 string bass though.

    All about spacing for me. I don't even really notice the B string on my 5ers when slapping E or A.

    I am no Victor or Marcus though.
  10. TMARK


    Jan 10, 2012
    Richmond VA
    The best five for slapping, to me, was my now sold Warwick Thumb bolt on 5. Narrow spacing but for some reason it was so easy to slap, and it always sounded great for slap. I had a hard time playing it finger style for some reason. Which is why I sold it.
  11. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    I prefer a 4 to slap and voted that way. I virtually never try to slap on a 6 (I prefer narrow spacing on a 6). And I can and do slap a 5 to a degree because I never play 4 anymore, but I still like a 4 better.
  12. I played Stingray 5's almost exclusively for 20 years; in all of that time I never got comfortable (or adept) at slapping on it, which is a shame because IMO they have great slap tone. So, if I'm taking my SR5 to gig and I expect to do some slapping, I also pack a 4 string.

    But for the past 3 years I've been playing Lakland 5's, and slapping on them is definitely more do-able for me (although I make no claims at being more adept!).
  13. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    I have owned a few SR5s, and I slapped them a lot. I think recording myself has made me more aware of slop in my technique. I'm sure I was not always as clean as I should have been on my Stingrays.
  14. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon.

    Depends on technique and what you are playing though IMO. I had no problem slapping on my SR5's in a rock cover band as the only songs that I had to slap on were easy root octave stuff (RHCP, Lenny Kravitz, etc.).

    For complicated stuff, I bet a SR5 would be really hard for many bassists to slap on. Sure it can be done just as some killer players can slap in the seemly few millimetres of space between the neck and neck PU on a HH Bongo, for example. Just not something I would waste a lot of time working on. I have enough other learning to do!:woot:
    Dr. Cheese likes this.
  15. You could always get a 19mm Stingray. ....er wait, Sterling says no. (Too soon?)
    Baird6869 likes this.
  16. hintz


    Jun 5, 2014
    wahiawa, HI(Oahu)
    I voted 4 string, 5 slows me down too much and throws that whole world off....and I might be wrong but I imagine victor Wooten would have a harder time doing his thing on a 5er(I might be totally off on that as bill dickens proves on his Conklin)
  17. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    When looking at the super slappers, more play fours than anything else. Marcus Miller, Victor Wooten, Stanley Clarke, Mark King, Wojek Pilchowski, Stuart Hamm, are mainly four string players. Of course Bll Dickens, Anthony Wellington, and Andrew Gouche, get down on sixes. I am thinking that it may be time to spend more quality time on my four when slapping because when it comes to slap, the four still feels more like home despite playing fives for a very, very long time.
    pbass6811 and hintz like this.
  18. I used to feel more comfortable slapping the 4. Now, I'm just as comfortable on the 5. It just takes some practice. I like getting the extra octaves without having to moving my hand.
  19. Scott Ambush (Spyro Gyra) is a master of the 5 string.
    Geri O and Dr. Cheese like this.
  20. pbass6811

    pbass6811 Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2008
    Indy, IN
    This. I've been playing exclusively 5's foreva'. Recently, I really started to notice how much fantastic music has been made on 4's, and how most of the guys that I really like and pay attention to, pretty much use 4's as their weapon of choice. So, I decided to jump back into the 4-string ring. While I can get the slapping I need to do done on a 5, it definitely flows better on a 4. :thumbsup:

    I'm working on my technique, so, eventually, it won't matter. For now, I do prefer to slap on a 4.
    hintz likes this.

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