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The Slap Bass Welcome Center

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

  1. cman227


    Dec 21, 2014
    I was instructed by the salesperson at GC to buy a bass with a maple neck as it's a hard wood and better for slap. My current bass is rosewood. Can you play slap on rosewood or do I need to follow the salesperson's advice and pick up another bass?
  2. FunkySpoo

    FunkySpoo Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2002
    Yes you can slap on a rosewood board. Search yootoob for slapbass and see how many people are slapping on rosewood boards. Does it sound different? Sure. Is an audience member going to hear the difference in a bar with a typical weekend warrior PA system? Probably not. Try different basses and pick the one you like best
    Tom Magri likes this.
  3. Tom Magri

    Tom Magri Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2003
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    With the pre-amp, strings, EQ, cabinet FOH PA etc...get the bass you want. You can slap on either.
    FunkySpoo likes this.
  4. bass12

    bass12 And Grace, too

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    Rosewood is technically harder than maple (it's just less dense). Neither wood is "better" for slap, it all depends on the individual bass and what sound you prefer.
    exidor likes this.
  5. GC person needs to be slapped
    tshapiro, exidor, JeffJ2112 and 2 others like this.
  6. FunkySpoo

    FunkySpoo Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2002
    With either a maple or rosewood board since you can slap with either.
  7. I hate to be that guy who didn't read this entire thread before posting questions ... but I went through the first few pages and nearly every link was either broken or went to some spam advertising site instead of the (now defunct) lesson site it originally linked to.

    I am having a really hard time getting the tone with the thumb hit to have any volume (while the pluck/pop is way too loud). I have a Stingray 4H 3 band - no idea how to set the EQ but even with treble all the way off the pluck is way,way too loud compared to the wimpy thumb hit volume. I just tried a JB with both pickups up full and I get a much better balance but still I just don't think I'm understanding how the thumb is supposed to strike the strings.

    The instructions I've seen from several videos seem to be saying to rotate the wrist and the thumb hits the top of the string and bounces off but when I watch what they actually do, many of them seem to come in from the side, hit the string and then come to rest on the next higher string. I know it's going to take a lot of practice ... I just want to make sure I'm practicing the correct thing. I hope someone can help me "get it" :)

    Last edited: Feb 23, 2018
  8. FunkySpoo

    FunkySpoo Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2002
    I've seen youtube videos advocating both techniques. I guess it come down to what feels most comfortable for you.
    Anthony Vitti says to go through the string in a downward motion

    While Mark from TalkingBass.net seems to want you to hit and bounce off like in your first graphic

    Last edited: Feb 23, 2018
  9. OK... this is going to really make you guys roll your eyes at me. But I am finally getting the thumb sound I was after and it's really being fun. But I shouldn't need to do this (and it makes typing really hard as I use that thumb for the space bar). Check out my bionic thumb (wine cork):
  10. Karl Kaminski

    Karl Kaminski Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2008
    well, looks like you got a mad scientist thing going on there! If that works for ya -more power to ya. (The more you use your thumb, a callus will develop where your cork is taped.)

    Both techniques you diagramed could be used. I think of the "bounce" as useful in rapid 16th note (single string) patterns, and the "land on next string" more useful in a pattern that mixes long-tone, open-string, and cross-string movements.
  11. CunniMingus


    Jan 5, 2018
    Rome, Italy
    The problem with the "bounce" approach, in my experience, is that it works for E and A strings. D and G strings react different to the hit of the thumb, they doesn't seem to vibrate enough to produce a defined note.
    Resting on the next string or the fretboard allow each string to vibrate freely while the bounce approach seem to mute strings a little bit.
    The "resting" approach usually result in two things:
    1) a change in the right hand position, wich becomes usually a "thumb up" position which is definitely more comfortable
    2) a change in the thumb hitting point, which is usually near the fingernail
    The exact same thing happens when using "double thumb" technique.
    FunkySpoo likes this.
  12. Shoyu


    May 4, 2018
    Glad to have found this, my technique needs work!

    In my recent show “slap” was directed over a note in the middle of some tricky writing. My first thought was “who’s first?!”
  13. Karl Kaminski

    Karl Kaminski Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2008
    HAH! dig it, did you glance over at your victim?
  14. lespaulbass


    Jul 27, 2018
    slap it
    WhenTheDrumsStops likes this.
  15. This is a joke I hope. If you really want to do that 'mark king' protection thing and want extra bounce with the thumb then use the inner tyre from a bicycle. Use 1 or more layers of that on the 'attack spot' of your thumb and tape it off around your thumb.
  16. tshapiro

    tshapiro Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2015
    Jax Florida
    I think your challenge is typical for someone learning to slap - slap is whimpy and pop is too loud. There’s 4 elements to getting this right:
    EQ Mids must be scooped, plenty of bass cranked, treble increased to taste.
    VOLUME On the loud side... experienced players generally have their volume much higher so they have headroom or energy to support dynamics
    COMPRESSION/Speaker While I can slap fine without compression, I can get a much chunkier thumb slap with a good compressor and a ‘heavy’ sounding speaker. For example, an old school 15” speaker is ‘less reactive’ and heavy feeling and allows me to dig in without feeling like it’s going to jump out of the cabinet. A compressor with a high pass filter is better at taming the pluck without subdueing the slap(a compressor activated by mids and highs and ignores lows). Again, I can slap on any signal chain, but, to get a world class sound proper compression and the right speaker or cab sim is needed.
    TECHNIQUE This is the hardest part. Both slapping and popping have a blend of sting and muting. Using a releaxed approach with your slap takes practice so you can really sting it. And, the pop requires all sorts of techniques to get a muted and funky tone. I rarely create the pop with a full fledged finger pull. Rather, it’s more of just the tip of my finger combined with a slight palm mute. Admittedly, this is a bit tricky to get the feel for - kind of like learning pinch harmonics. But, when you listen to funky players play, the pop is often muted and quick (unless the part particularly calls for a ringing pop)

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