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SS vs tube for slap

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by bassbmx, Sep 28, 2005.

  1. I'm playing a hybrid at the moment and it sounds good. Just wondering which you guys think is better for slap; solid-state, hybrids or all tube amps. Or do cabinets make just as much difference?

    Perhaps post the setup that you've heard the best slap sound from. I'm just trying to find out as much as possible and figuire out what I should be saving for. Thanks.
  2. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    There's been a few threads on this.

    To me, the key to a good slap sound is technique, the right bass and strings, the right cab (10's or 12's with a good sounding tweeter), and amp (higher power the better).... in that order.

    There's lot's of different opinions regarding if SS amps are 'faster' than tube amps, etc. Most players that are known for slap style use either SS or hybrid bass amps. While you can get most any sound you want from a high quality amp, IMO full tube amps excel in warmth and a certain 'give' and grind that is hard to get out of a solid state amp (and also most hybrids). Likewise, SS amps like EBS, Thunderfunk, etc. seem to excel at a very clean, quick, fast transient response (whether it's higher damping or quicker transient response ... it doesn't really matter... they sound quicker and cleaner). Most Hybrids (e.g., SWR and Eden) sound more SS than tube, and are great for slap style. The one exception to me is the Mesa Hybrids, which sound more like full out tube amps than the other hybrids... and IMO not optimized for slap.

    So, when you take everything into acount (IMO, of course), if slapping is a significant part of your playing arsenal, I would highly recommend the highest power SS (or non-Mesa Hybrid) head you can afford. Slap style results in lot's of peak spikes, so wattage and headroom is important.
  3. Best slap amp I've heard so far IMO: EBS TD650 (no drive) with ebs 4x10 and 1x15 cabs (their amps are very tight sounding and the brightness knob is great for enhancing slap tone)
  4. Thanks, that was really helpful. I've got a Yorkville 400 watt 115 combo now. It has a really high peak power so I think it's alright for what I'm doing. The plan is to get the 400 head and a schroeder 112 mini+ cab.

    Are there any basses/strings/amps and cabs that have sounded particularly good to you? I realise that it all comes down to personal preference but I want to know what to look for.
  5. el_Kabong


    Jul 11, 2005
    I prefer a tube amp for slap. They seem to have better punch in my experience. They also seem to keep some 'size' and openess in the sound, which, to my ear, can be comparitively absent with a SS amp eq'd for slap (typically reduced mids). I think I know where KJ is coming from when he talks about tube's 'warmth' and 'give' but I think that mostly applies to a tube amp that's being driven hard. A big tube amp into a sensitive cab, eq'd for slap and not being overdriven sounds wonderful, feels wonderful under your hands (so punchy and responsive) and is totally addictive. Well for this junkie at least! As for cabs, for slap in a funk rock band I'd be looking at a 1212 schroeder at least.
  6. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    +1 on that.... a high powered tube amp that isn't being driven hard can sound very nice for all styles of playing. It 's so difficult to recommend a 'one size fits all' slap solution...there are guys who slap P Bass's through an SVT and it sounds awesome... but not my preference for a slap tone. Others use very, very 'hi fi' type sounding rigs with humbucker pickups, nickel roundwounds and ebony fretboards and that sounds awesome (the Victor Wooten thing). Then, there is the 70's J Bass on steroids thing with a big, heavy ash body, a maple board (even a maple board that has a finish on it), true single coil pickups and the brightest steel round wounds you can get through a SS amp. Other's go for a more 'in between' tone with more 60's style J Bass instruments, possibly less aggressive strings (nickel roundwounds) and less aggressive woods (alder body and a rosewood or morado board)... and that sounds great!

    So, to me, the first thing to do is kind of identify what sort of sound you are going for. Of course, 80% of it is in the fingers and technique... it's amazing how the guys who really excel at this style of playing can pick up virtually any bass, plug into virtually any rig, and it sounds great. However, the appropriate instrument, pickups, strings and rig can really make a difference and help you more easily replicate 'that sound in your head'.
  7. Well said KJung - 80% of the sound is in your technique - once you get that right, you can eq almost any amp in any room to get a good tone...
  8. el_Kabong


    Jul 11, 2005
    Got to agree. It's a shock the first time someone really good uses your gear, you think 'I know it doesn't sound like that when I play it!' Seen that a few times with guitarists too, people who can take very ordinary equipment and make it speak to you.