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String Tension/Action for a new slap bassist

Discussion in 'Ask Ray Riendeau' started by querry, Mar 11, 2010.

  1. querry


    Mar 11, 2010
    so, i'm new to slap bass (like super new) and I had a few questions

    So my setup is essentially a p-bass w/ a vintage jazz pu stuck on.

    So I'm just starting to try out some slapping, but i don't think i'm getting the right sound b/c when i do slap my string hits the fret which leads to a jarring sound, followed by the desired slap sound. I'm not sure if this sound is normal/supposed to be there and I've just not noticed it in other peoples slapping, or if i'm doing something wrong. I think i'm either a) slapping to hard and slamming the strings into the board or b) my string tension isn't high enough and so the strings fall into the strings more readily.

    In either of these cases (or if its something completely different) can you tell me how to fix this?
  2. Ok, i know im not the guy here (Ray), but i thought id help out....forgive me if this is against the rules.

    Its sounds like either the strings are too loose, youre hitting them too hard, or the action is too low. Let me ask this...where on the string in relation to the bridge or fretboard are you slapping? It should be close to the fretboard, if not RIGHT OVER the last fret or so. Personally, i hit the area of the string just PAST the fret board...approaching the neck PU.

    Secondly, although its hard to describe velocity....you dont have to hit hard at all. Just enough to make the strings move, really.

    If there was any way you could post a video of your technique...we could try to critique im sure...
  3. JLP


    Mar 15, 2008
    Like togglehead says,slapping is a technique that takes alot of practice. You're bouncing the strings off the fretboard. I suggest you keep practicing until you achieve the sound your after. That's easy for me to write but there's no other way to say it. I did 30 mins. a day for awhile. Good Luck.
  4. rayriendeau


    Mar 19, 2007
    Arizona, USA
    I agree with the above replies. I would add that the more you practice the technique the more precise you will get and therefore the lighter you can attack the strings. If your new to slap I recommend exaggerating the technique a little to get the feel of it. Think of flicking the sting with your thumb with enough force to allow the string to hit the fret board frets and then snap back, like a bow and arrow but you are hitting the string. Makes sense?
    I know seeing would prove way more of an answer here. Good news, I should have my Slap Instructional Book/DVD out this year. It will be VERY in depth and will be for beginners to advanced.
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