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Slapping drops out

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by brutal bassist, Mar 13, 2009.

  1. whenever im onstage, i usually hit the strings at a medium striking power, but when i slap, its so soft, and the sound just drops right out, what am i doing wrong?
  2. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Probably not hitting hard enough and not getting a good clear fundamental when you hit. Hard to say without seeing you, but those two things are often big culprits. Concentrate on making a strong sounding note, and slap the string hard enough to generate a big enough tone. You don't have to kill the string, but you should hit it with some beef.
  3. Alcyon


    Jan 15, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    Try a compressor; that's an integral part of a lot of slapping bassists' sounds. That should bring up those slaps and pops, if what I've heard is correct. Could be wrong. :/ Good compressors that have been recommended to me are the dbx rackmounts.
  4. I want a compressor. but i cant bring myself to spend 200 bucks on an EBS multicomp (which is the ONLY one ill think of buying) just for the 5 times a night that i slap
  5. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I live by this rule: never ever use gear to fix technique issues.
  6. Also make sure you are fretting hard enuff too I had the same problem and I realized I was slapping/popping hard but not fretting hard enuff . Pay attention to that too . A comp would help but use one to train yourself . Use one and set it up so it sounds like it fixes your problem practice with it than slowly turn it back and eventually off so its YOU playing and not the compressor .
  7. I'll have to agree with Jimmy on both counts. Focus on your technique. I had this problem when I first started slapping as well; my notes just didn't have the "oomph" that my plucked or picked notes did (I jump between finger, pick, and slapping). It's just a matter of focusing on your dynamics. Just make sure when you practice at home to spend time focused on maintaining decent volume with your slap technique, and it will come in time. Quick fixes like a compressor won't make you a better player.
  8. Craig_S

    Craig_S Banned

    Oct 15, 2008
    Metro Detroit
    Jimmy is right.

    I'm no slap master, but I can get a great thumbed note out. The way I get it done is--this will sound a bit odd--slapping across the string as much as against the fretboard (kind of an angular attack). I get a BIG note; big enough to clip the preamp consistently, and it's not a thud. The key to getting the note out is getting your thumb out of the way of the string's vibration. I've found that down and across is the best way for me. Once you get a good note out of your thumb, a compressor will even out the sound.
  9. Mongo Slade

    Mongo Slade Supporting Member

    Dec 1, 2005
    Northern New Jersey
    Also agree totally with Jimmy.
    However, it bears consideration that the tone you might use for fingerstyle(EQ settings on the amp, pickup blend, etc) might not be optimal for slap technique. The note envelope created by striking the strings rather than strumming or plucking them can be very different. You might consider a very non EQed sound, something clear and organic, and see if it evens out the sound differences.

  10. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    That's a relevant point, even though it could fall under using gear to fix technique. But in this case, I'd call it using technique to fix gear problems ;)
  11. Mongo Slade

    Mongo Slade Supporting Member

    Dec 1, 2005
    Northern New Jersey
    As always Jimmy, I agree.
    It's just that some cats use really wild EQ curves for their basic sound, and then wonder why certain techniques or styles don't sound good.
    Just a thought.

  12. It's where you hit, as well as how you hit. As Craig said, striking across and down(sort of 'swiping' the string) can help.
    Also, it sometimes helps a lot to strike just behind the last fret, instead over the neck. Makes the string bend more, gives you more thud. Just be careful you're not hitting the pickups with the strings-that's a tone-killer.
  13. the thing is, i slap so little in the night, that i need my settings to be good for blues, and im thinking that mabey ill just turn up my volume for funk. and hit softer when i fingerpick.
  14. Not unusual to turn up a bit for it. Needed sometimes.
  15. Andrew Jones

    Andrew Jones Banned

    Feb 28, 2001
    Northampton Mass
    IMHO this is it...... One the reasons I'm only getting 20 fret basses it just sounds better.

    As far as the angle of the thump I find if I need fast thumps I strike more down at the string and for longer bigger notes I roll circles more.

    The other thing is you can hit too hard and squash the note.Just like fingers.

    I have a silly work out that I do,,,It's all about the right hand.

    I take a simple disco octave I-VI line and work on all kinds of rhythmic stuff.Working on getting big long notes with my thumb as well as fingers too slap and back is definitely one of the thing I do.

  16. thats a great response, thanks to all for the info, ill try out the new technique tonight and see how it goes

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