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slapping on fretless?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Chia Jong Yeng, Dec 28, 2000.


  1. Chia Jong Yeng

    Chia Jong Yeng

    Dec 23, 2000
    anybody know if it is okay to slap on fretless ebony fingerboard? Other than phenolic or graphite,what fretless fingerboard material is best for slapping? (main considerations are good tone and durability).Thanks.
     
  2. It's OK to slap ona fretless bass and ebony will last linger than most other fingerboards. Pino, Bakithi,Percy, Bunny, Tony and Tony all do. You might try putting some tung oil on the fingerboard to harden it up a bit and help prolong it's useful life.
     
  3. Monkey

    Monkey Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Dayton, Ohio, USA
    I wore a groove under the G string on my ebony fretboard after slapping a lot. I put cyanoacrylate (Super-glue) in the groove and sanded it down, which worked pretty well. I was using SS roundwounds. I use flats or tapes now, so I have now problem at all with wear, but I don't slap much anymore, either.
     
  4. TheFrizzleFry

    TheFrizzleFry Guest

    Nov 21, 2000
    Stinktown, Pa, USA
    Les Claypool plays "Tommy The Cat" on a fretless and that is a very cool slap song.
     
  5. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    i slap on my fretlesses. they have a high gloss finish on the fretboards and they have a good snap to their tone when i slap on them. i've eaten up one finish on my 7 string fretless (the first 7 i got) after 7 years on it, so i got it refinished. no big deal, better than new.
     
  6. Lance Jaegan

    Lance Jaegan

    Dec 23, 2000
    Illinois
    Yep, I slap on my fretless with a durable poly coating on the fretboard. For some reason, it seems louder than when you slap with a fretted bass, but it doesn't have that metallic "zing" you get from a fretted bass. It's more of a woody sort of "thunk". If you wear a groove, you can easily refinish your fretboard. I just sand mine down a bit, and apply another coat of poly.
     
  7. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    I've never worn an appreciable groove in any fretless I've ever owned. I use a light touch.
     
  8. slapper3

    slapper3

    Jan 13, 2001
    7 string fretless! Holy Crap! talk about another Les! I can barely hold one!
     
  9. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    :D

     
  10. furtim

    furtim

    Dec 12, 1999
    Boston, MA, USA
    Like JT's ego needs to be fed anymore than it already is. ;)

    Slapping sounds decent on my new Fretless Jazz (Fretless plus Jazz Bass plus slap... hmm...), but I've found that popping doesn't. So slap, but don't pop. ;)
     
  11. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    Actually, Furtim, you can get different popping sounds depending how much pressure you use on your fretting hand. With the Ebony board you can actually get pretty close to a fretted pop but of course, not exactly.

    I find I can get away with very low action due to the lack of frets. Couple that with a light touch and you get this:

    http://artists.mp3s.com/artist_song/386/386645.html

    Nothing earthshaking playing-wise but it's a fretless Carvin LB75 (Koa with Ebony board)with I think DR roundwounds. No wear on that bass.
     
  12. Cornbread

    Cornbread

    Jun 20, 2000
    Lawrence, Ma
    I'm trying to defy all the odds and slap on my newly defretted Ibanez, which has a single P-style pickup and GRIMEY flatwounds! The results are pretty pitiful.
     
  13. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    what was peculliar about the wear on my fretless was that it wasn't where i was slapping but where i was fretting (left hand side) i think it was more a limitation of the finish material that was on there than it was the technique i was using.
     
  14. furtim

    furtim

    Dec 12, 1999
    Boston, MA, USA
    Interesting. I experimented with popping again, and I guess it doesn't sound too bad on fretless. Just... different. ;)

    But either way, I respect my new bass too much to beat the crap out of it with all that funky smackin' stuff.
     
  15. Bassguy_123

    Bassguy_123

    Jan 26, 2001
    Ive look at guitar Center, Musician's superstore Everywhere and i cannot find a Fretless bass. Where did u guys get yours?
     
  16. You've got to look around. Alot of smaller stores won't stock a fretless because they don't sell quickly. Another option would be to ask them to order one in as a floor model. If you are looking at something like a MIM Jazz Fretless, you are most definitely going to want to play it before laying down any cash. Actually, you are going to want to play ANY bass before laying cash down on it.

    On another note, fretless is not much like playing a standard fretted bass. You have to have a pretty accurate right hand, so that you can concentrate specifically on your left hand (assuming you are right handed, that is). The weird thing about playing fretless is that you might sound fantastic when you practice alone, but in a jam or gig situation, you might find your intonation leaves alot to be desired.

    The only way to improve your intonation is to practice religiously, preferably with a chromatic tuner at first, or, like I did, in a dark room with your eyes shut, listening carefully.

    Where many people play by feel on a fretted bass, a fretless requires you to play by ear. But nothing - NOTHING - can match a fretless in the hands of an accomplished and dedicated bassist. In my opinion, of course.

    As for the original post, and slapping on fretless, sure it can be done, and it gets a pretty interesting sound too. As far as wearing down the fingerboard, I have a rosewood fingerboard (I love the sound of rosewood against flats) and so far I haven't had any major wear. Should the board start to go, I'll probably just replace the neck, or have a new board bonded to the existing one.

    FF.
     
  17. Bassguy_123

    Bassguy_123

    Jan 26, 2001
    Of course Slapping can be done on a fretless. The entire Primus cd "Pork Soda" is done with a fretless bass. your fretboard may get torn up after awhile, but they make those singerboards tough so they can last.