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The Slap Bass Welcome Center

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Bassist4Life, Dec 30, 2006.


  1. FunkySpoo

    FunkySpoo Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2002
    I'm no slap expert by any stretch of the imagination but as far as tone goes the "slap tone" generally is a mid scoop sound. Sounds like you have a passive bass so you may need to adjust your amp EQ. You can either cut the mids or boost bass and treble.
     
    jdh3000 likes this.
  2. jdh3000

    jdh3000

    May 16, 2016
    Ok cool, thanks! I'll try that...
     
  3. This thread will come in handy
     
  4. MarkM13

    MarkM13

    Mar 29, 2015
    CT - USA
    Slapping on a five string.

    I'm new to slapping and worked up the very basics on my four string. However, in both the bands I play in I'm on a 5er. I'm having a tough time keeping the B quiet when slapping fretted notes on the A and D.
    Any suggestions would be welcome.
     
  5. bass12

    bass12 And Grace, too Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    Muting while playing a 5 can be a bit tricky. I've noticed that the things I tend to do to minimize unwanted ringing from the B and E strings when slapping are the following:

    - With my fretting hand, I'll often use the fingers I'm not fretting with to extend past the string I'm fretting on to mute the lower strings. This works on patterns where, for example, I'm fretting with my index and pinky (b7 to root for instance). I'll fret with my index but my middle and ring fingers will mute the E and B strings. I'm used to doing a lot of muting with my fretting hand so this comes pretty naturally to me. I also have long fingers which might help. I might also resort to using more of a traveling index finger approach (rather than a one finger per fret approach - think Mark King if you're familiar with his technique).

    - I'll sometimes use the thumb on my fretting hand to reach over the neck just enough to mute the B string.

    - Once in a while I'll use the forearm of my plucking hand to mute the B string. This is a last-measure technique as it can feel a bit awkward but it can be effective at times.

    Best of luck finding something that works for you!
     
  6. MarkM13

    MarkM13

    Mar 29, 2015
    CT - USA
    Great suggestion! Thanks! This lead me to something that is working. When fretting with finger 1, mute with finger 2. When fretting with fingers 2-4 use the fingers behind the fretted note to lay across the strings and mute. It looks like a guitarist playing a bar chord.

    Thanks again,
    Mark
     
  7. MarkM13

    MarkM13

    Mar 29, 2015
    CT - USA
    Has anyone used the floating thumb technique while popping? I'm new to slapping and am finding that when I pop on the G string it's easier to mute by keeping the thumb in the traditional floating position but applying a bit of downward pressure to mute the E A D strings. It does mean the popping finger moves in more of an up and down motion as opposed to a rotation motion. Other than that I can't see a disadvantage but, I'm new...

    Thoughts?
    Mark
     
  8. arrowsun

    arrowsun Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2014
    California
    I use a Mono fret wrap over the nut on my 5 string.
     
  9. Thumb n Fingers

    Thumb n Fingers

    Dec 15, 2016
    MarkM13, I've come to the conclusion that there is not really any single technique with slapping that is ideal for everyone. People have different shapes to their hands... hitcher's thumbs vs. straight thumbs, ring fingers longer than index fingers, etc... so what I suggest is just try different things and get with what works for you, but be cognizant of things that are limiting to you and try new things.
    For me, I tend to keep my thumb pointing north or parallel to the ground. Aiming it downward never worked for me, although for some, that's their comfort zone. I tend to pluck with my ring finger on the G string, but my middle or index finger on the other strings. For ghost notes, I tend to mute however is most convenient with my fretting hand and will strike with my thumb, my palm, or the meaty part where your thumb and palm converge. To mute unused strings, I'll do a combination of things such as barely touch the lower string with my middle finger from my fretting hand, to palm muting, to even using the meat of my inside forearm. But all of that is just what works for me. No one taught me these things directly. It just developed over years of playing and figuring out what does (and doesn't) work.
    In short, don't let anyone sell you on a right and wrong way to slap. Experiment, practice, discover, and have fun doing it.
     
  10. Sav'nBass

    Sav'nBass What the .............. Supporting Member

    Jan 18, 2009
    Northern Va.
    Isn't that 1 + a ... not 1 e + a ......?
     
  11. tbirdsp

    tbirdsp Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2012
    Omaha, NE
    I guess I'll just read through this thread rather than post another weekly "How do I slap?" one :laugh:
    Been playing for years, but just when slap was getting huge I joined a blues/rockabilly band and never really needed it. Then took a long (18 year) break from playing. Been back at it for 5 years now but starting to be limited by not slapping.
     
  12. Thumb n Fingers

    Thumb n Fingers

    Dec 15, 2016
    I'm sure it's mentioned numerous times thru this thread, but The Slap Bass Bible by Anthony Vitti and Slap It! by Tony Oppenheim are excellent sources for practice and theory. I woodshed through these all the time for inspiration and just general chop maintenance. Of course, just listen (at watch performances) of the really good slap players. Watch how they move, hold the bass, work their right AND left hands. I posted this before, but I really don't think there is a catch-all correct technique. You sort of have to just flesh out what works for you and develop it.
     
    Bruce Morrison and tbirdsp like this.
  13. cman227

    cman227

    Dec 21, 2014
    So I have a fundamental grasp of slapping and I was trying to incorporate it into a solo I was doing in a blues/jazz combo (drums, percussion, guitar, bass). The trouble is, the percussionist and drummer pick my slap solo to do fills and it drowns me out. The other parts of my solo come out just fine. The slap/pluck technique seems to be somewhat lower in volume than just the straight playing but not by much. Should I just not incorporate slap into this solo, or just turn the gain up on my amp to get over the top? Is slapping generally lower in volume?
     
  14. Thumb n Fingers

    Thumb n Fingers

    Dec 15, 2016
    Couple of thoughts come to mind...

    First, discuss with them who's going to do fills when. All that competing for the same open spot to fill isn't appealing for the audience either. Discuss some sort of tell you can non-verbally communicate with each other to "claim" a fill spot. Or work the fills out together so you're all in sync... that would sound great too. During a solo, the percussionist and drummer should be augmenting you, not competing with you. Tell them to dial down what they are doing... or again, coordinate the rhythm with them ahead of time.

    Second, turn the volume up on your amp AND dial down on your attack. A lot of people starting into slap playing think you have the hammer your thumb on the strings. You don't. In fact dialing it back a bit will gain you more control and a better tone. Strike a little harder in spots that you're looking to emphasize. And watch with the gain. Depending on your amp, you can start to get a bit of a distortion or warbled tone with the gain up and aggressive playing. Don't utilize that as you would a master volume control.

    Good luck!
     
  15. cman227

    cman227

    Dec 21, 2014
    Thanks, I thought about buying a volume pedal to just push my volume up a bit on my solos, but this idea seems like it would work much better.
     
    Thumb n Fingers likes this.
  16. bass12

    bass12 And Grace, too Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    The volume thing really depends on the bass. I've had basses where the volume would drop significantly when I switch to thumping and others where I have to dial things back a bit when switching to thumb. It can also depend on the room acoustics. If you have a bass that suffers from volume drop then I would suggest something like the RC Bass Booster pedal. Do you find that the note fundamental remains strong when switching from fingers to thumb or does it feel like the bass frequencies just drop out? Note fundamental drop out is also a problem with some basses (the only solution I've found for that problem is to use a different bass).
     
    Thumb n Fingers likes this.
  17. Thumb n Fingers

    Thumb n Fingers

    Dec 15, 2016
    @bass12 you are absolutely correct. I should have made mention of that. I really only slap on an active bass with pretty hot electronics so that's not the first inclination I have when dealing with volume. You can definitely hear a drop on a passive bass when slapping versus finger style.
     
  18. Thumb n Fingers

    Thumb n Fingers

    Dec 15, 2016
    I've tinkered with that idea also. Instead, I went with a compressor and will turn it off in spots where I'm pushing to be louder or more emphatic... like a solo or fill that requires that unrestrained attack to it.

    I'm sure you can adjust to either... really its largely about figuring out what you like and what works for you and developing and embracing it.
     
    bass12 likes this.
  19. cman227

    cman227

    Dec 21, 2014
    It's a '76 fender jazz (passive). But yes, when I slap with the thumb the volume is lower. Somehow plucking is just as loud.
     
  20. bass12

    bass12 And Grace, too Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    It can even happen with active basses. And the note fundamental thing is, in my experience, a matter of wood more than anything. For example, I've had a bunch of MTDs and almost all of them have been good vehicles for slap. But one of them would produce that "disappearing fundamental" effect when switching from fingers to thumb (to be fair, the bass didn't produce great fundamentals to begin with but it was especially noticeable when slapping). Basses can be very finicky creatures. :D
     
    Thumb n Fingers likes this.