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Slapping on fretless

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by heatherk, Apr 26, 2009.

  1. heatherk


    Oct 16, 2007
    I own a beautiful custom fretless that I've just begun to play in my band - trying out the music to see if what I normally played on my 6 could be played as well on the 4-string fretless.

    Last rehearsal I played a slap/pop solo, and another song uses a tapping technique. Even though the band really liked the sound, I'm concerned about injuring my fretboard (ebony). I use medium taper-core strings.

    What do you think about tapping/slapping/popping on a fretless? Should I be concerned about the wear?

    Thanks for any thoughts.
  2. Stickk


    Sep 2, 2008
    Ebony is one of the hardest woods in the world. I wouldn't worry about it. It works for Jauqo III-X.
  3. singlemalt

    singlemalt Supporting Member

    Dec 15, 2007
    White Salmon, WA
    I've heard (and seen) Pino Paladino doing super cool slap and pop stuff with his fretless. Check out an old Gary Numan album "I Assassin". Seeing him play a fretless live was the reason I decided I just had to try it. Still working on it...

    I slap and pop on a ebonal fingerboard. (not nearly as cool as Pino). Its a cool sound. I don't worry about wear and tear at all, but, its my bass and I'm kind of attached to it, so, no worries about selling it. Round wounds seem to have a better sound, to my ear. Flats sound more "fretless" but for the slap sound, roundwounds work better, brighter, more bite, more ringing and overtones.

    Unless you are on the fence about keeping the bass, and worried about selling it...have at it!

    Ebony is super hard, you'll get tons of life out of it. I would not bother with epoxy coatings, I tried it with another fretless and it wasn't worth it.

    Its your bass, play it any way you want!
  4. Korladis

    Korladis Banned Supporting Member

    Les Claypool slaps on a fretless all the time.
  5. richnota

    richnota Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 11, 2005
    Santa Cruz
    Steel strings + fretless = eventual wear.

    At some point (years) your bass may need to have the fingerboard re-leveled. Not a big deal.

    Accept and enjoy.
  6. UnicycleBassist

    UnicycleBassist Commercial User

    Jun 23, 2007
    Edmonton, Alberta
    Producer/Engineer (Clay Francis Audio), Sales Rep (Long & McQuade)
    i do all three :D (slap, pop, tap)
    i think it sounds beautiful and my fingerboard is fine after 2 years of it.

    (my, this is my first post in a LONG time)
  7. Look up some Bakithi Kumalo on youtube.

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