Slapping - Some instruments easier than other?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by diegom, Jun 10, 2020.

  1. diegom

    diegom Supporting Member

    I'm trying to get a crowd-sourced opinion of WHAT goes on when slapping on different basses.

    My Spectors are a Slapper's Delight! Clear tone on every string, up and down the neck.

    My Ibanez active Jazz (TR500) is a mixed bag. The 3rd and 4th strings give the expected, solid, clacky thump. 1st and 2nd string, is much more difficult to get a clear tone. I have to curve my wrist and thumb to get a well-defined note.

    Both instruments have a similar neck-profile.
    The main physical differences:
    Jazz is bolt-on. Spector is neck-thru.
    Jazz is 22 frets. Spector is 24.
    Jazz neck is slightly wider at the 22nd fret.

    Let's leave electronics out of this. I'm just talking about playing both instruments unplugged and getting a significantly different response.
    Also, I'm simply talking about thumping. Thumb only. No popping or trying to get under the string to pull, etc.

    What makes a bass slappable? What makes certain basses unslappable (strings and solid-body construction being equal? Is it just technique, or is it the instrument?

  2. gebass6

    gebass6 We're not all trying to play the same music. Supporting Member

    .750 String spacing?
    Chad Michael and diegom like this.
  3. diegom

    diegom Supporting Member

    That's the kind of answer I was looking for! All things being equal, some things are different! ;)
    I'll measure when I get home.
  4. Lagado

    Lagado Inactive

    Jan 6, 2020
    Anything with 19mm spacing, 1.5mm neck relief, a 2.5mm action and a nice thick scratch-plate to act as a ramp and a rest. And the front pickup a little bit further back
    gebass6 likes this.
  5. Les Fret

    Les Fret

    Sep 9, 2009
    I expect your basses have a different setup. For slapping your action shouldn't be too high. A low to medium setup is optimal. If you can't get a good sound the action is too high. Any bass can be set up for slapping.

    Also string tension is a factor. Do the Spector and Ibanez have the same strings?
    diegom likes this.
  6. diegom

    diegom Supporting Member

    Yes, they both have the same strings DR Hi Beams 40-100. The Ibanez's are a bit older. And yes, the action is higher on the Ibby. The frets are also significantly wider and flatter (not much crown).

    Time to get those feeler gauges and files and do some measuring and filing!

    Thanks for the tips!

  7. Les Fret

    Les Fret

    Sep 9, 2009
    Ok then you probably have to lower the action of the Ibby. That’s the key. Slapping doesn’t work well with higher action. Frets don’t matter that much. Good luck!
    diegom likes this.
  8. ZedLepp


    May 12, 2013
    I like my Variaxs. There is no mag pickup to get in the way.
    diegom likes this.
  9. TOOL460002


    Nov 4, 2004
    Santa Cruz
    Ya high action can make mutes/ghost notes ring overtones or just be more of a pain to slap on. Sometimes you want that clack.
  10. kevindahl


    Aug 21, 2006
    I owned a Ricky 4001 and it was the worst for slapping.
    diegom likes this.
  11. Les Fret

    Les Fret

    Sep 9, 2009
    yes, the E string tends to click against the neck pickup I guess? Same as on some P's. At least that's what I hear on some recording when people slap on a Rick.
    diegom likes this.
  12. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    LOL! When I saw the thread title I immediately thought to chime in about the first time I played a Spector NS-2.

    Something about those basses is just tailor-made for spanking.
    diegom likes this.