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Slapping on a fretless..

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Terrorstorm, Mar 30, 2005.

  1. is it usual to slap on fretless basses? i think i have never heard the sound of a fretless when someone was slapping on it.
    I always thought that slapping on a fretless wouldn't sound very good. I don't know much about fretless basses, but doesn't they have a very bass and mid-loaded sound, what isn't the best sound for slapping..
  2. Juneau


    Jul 15, 2004
    Dallas, TX.
    Lots of people slap on fretless. Listen to Paul Simon's Graceland. Bakithi Kumalo was his bassist on that album and plays exclusively fretless basses and slaps a lot.

    Less Claypool also slaps on his Rainbow Bass from Carl Thompson which is a 6-string fretless.
  3. Petary791


    Feb 20, 2005
    Michigan, USA
    I would advise against slapping if you have flatwounds however.
  4. Excuse a non-fretless player, but doesnt slapping a fretless damage the bottom of the fretboard? since there are no frets to keep the impact from the wood...
  5. It can do - it's really down the the density of your finger board - a carbon fiber one shouldn't get damaged at all - see Mike Manring for that...I have an ebony fingerboard and it seems to be holding up fine - but I don't slap much on the fretless. Basically be careful - and if using someone else's bass - be polite and ask first.

  6. keb


    Mar 30, 2004
    I slapped a lot on my old dearly departed fretless. I never noticed anything major as far as wear at the end of the board, just some superficial wear (which was poly-coated ebony for the record.)
  7. mheintz


    Nov 18, 2004
    I've noticed that when I slap on a fretless I have to slap a bit harder to make sure that the strings make contact with the fingerboard. In my mind, if not in reality, I have more of a range of percussive attack on the fretless than on a fretted because there is no fret to automatically generate the percussive attack. In general, I find that my attack, both slap and pop, has to be a little more focused than on a fretted.

    As for wear, I do have some, so far, superficial wear on my uncoated ebony board. I've given some thought to Pedulla'izing my board, but I like the uncoated sound. It's a tool, which can be repaired if necessary.
  8. i really enjoy slapping on fretless basses. actually les claypool plays a frettless on occasion, and he rarely doesn't slap and is regarded by many as one of the greateest bassists ever. regarding the fretboard, i wouldn't worry about it too much. basses need to be played and if you feel like slapping it slap it.
  9. rdhbass


    Jun 28, 2003
    Springfield, mo
    Thats a cool MP3. I am not primarily a slap player but am still learning new things. Primarily, which techniques are u using on this rendition. I guess you are muting with your left hand and snapping and popping.. I'm still trying to get that stuff down..
  10. I believe Brian Bromberg also does some amazing fretless slapping. At least on the CD I have he does.

    Also, there's something called a slap plate that you can put on your bass to simulate the last fret that the string hits when you slap. Might want to look into that, too.
  11. I heard somewhere that some people put a metal plate at the bottom of their fretboard to stop the strings from eating it. Haven't tried it though, and don't have a fretless to do so. I suppose that would give the sound more initial attack as the string smacks metal.

    edit: oops, should read everything... :bag:
  12. Is it OK to slap on a fretless bass with flatwounds?
    I have the Warwick ebony neck (on a Fretless Corvette Std.) so supposedly it stands up to abuse...
  13. Alun


    Jun 6, 2004
    Endorsing Artist - Elixir strings,Markbass amplification
    Yeah, it shouldn't be a problem. A lot of people don't like to slap flatwounds because they're not as twangy as roundwounds,but there's nothing to stop you.

    Steve Lawson primarily uses flats and he's played some great slap stuff.

  14. Timbo


    Jun 14, 2004
    I slap my fretless, roundwounds or flatwounds.. Flatwounds give a really unique mellow-slap.. I love it. I don't worry about wear to much because, A. it looks cool, and B. if it starts to wear to much I can just get the fretboard sanded.
  15. HunsBassist


    Oct 3, 2004
    Orlando, FL
    I don't have so much a problem with slapping on a fretless as I do popping. I can't seem to get a real true Popping sound. It just sounds like a very powerful and abrupt note coupled with this unpleasant snapping sound. But I have a pretty high-actioned fretless, plus it's home made (my brother sanded off the frets of a P Bass for my birthday).
  16. fish420


    Apr 4, 2005
    I mainly slap on my Geddy Lee Jazz bass, and it sounds amazing. I think Jazz Basses Frets or not, as well as Warwicks are prolly about the best basses for slapping and popping. :bassist: