Tube Amps and Slapping

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by freshmeat1989, Aug 7, 2004.

  1. Since tube amps usally respond to picking and fingerstyle real well, I was wondering how they respond to slapping, since I slap a little, but would like to do a lot and have a good slap sound. Are they better or worse than SS or is that a matter of opinion? Also, your experiences of slapping with tube amps. Fender J's are good for slapping, and thats what I'll be using with it, so I need to complete the puzzle.
  2. SS seem to have a warmer thicker sound than tube from what I've used.
  3. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    You'll generally get much better dynamics from an SS amp.
  4. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    Yep. SS sounds quicker to me.
  5. Lockout


    Dec 24, 2002

    I've noticed the opposite. ;)

  6. I'll definitely second that! Slapping with tubes is sounds so much more natural and oraganic than SS.

    its like vinyl(tube) to CDs(SS)....if you know what i mean.
  7. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    it depends if you mean tube preamps or poweramps
    even so - every amp is different so i'ts hard to generalize
    fwiw - when i test drove the 2 demeter preamps the 201s sounded "slower" than the hbp-1
    the 201 uses 2 tubes while the hpb only uses one - the big difference is that the hpb uses solid state in the last part of the chain
    a phone call with demeter confirmed what i had noticed - the solid state portion definitly reacts faster to transients
    Bass Player's review of BBE's 2 preamps also had a similar result - the solid state unit sounded "quicker"
    not that either one is better, just different
  8. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    I find that it's impossible to slap on a tube amp. Tapping, double thumbing, and playing 32nd notes at 142 BPM are also prohibited by using tubes.

    Seriously, any amp will be good for lots of different techniques. Some people prefer a snappy, hi-fi, bright SS amp for slapping, while others prefer a slow, warm, dark tube amp. I personally find slapping to be rather sonically harsh, so I stick with tube amps to help mellow that down a bit.
  9. De Teng

    De Teng

    Oct 27, 2003
    Utrecht, Holland
    Very different opinions. :D

    I love the tone of tubes... it is just our ears tell us it sounds better then a SS amp... and that's what matters. The odd harmonics seem to please our ears more then the others, so.. ;)

    Anyway... I played a few all tube amps, but they coped with the slaptones very well (not that I use it often, but if I take some slappy notes I need the reponse off course) and even if they did a little less then I hoped for, I would still go for tubes. SS sounds too sterile for me, but hey.. it's just what yóu think it sounds better. :ninja:
  10. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA

    They're not "better" or "worse" (or if they are, it's just a matter of opinion). Really they're two different animals, and they're both good, but for different purposes. SS amps will give you "loud and clean", with excellent dynamics, but you'll generally need a lot more watts to get there. Tube amps will give you "loud and dirty", with marginal dynamics, but you'll get "the tube sound", and you won't need as many watts for a given venue (on the other hand, a 300 watt tube amp generally weighs about half a ton).

    I've used tube amps for slapping, but it's hard to get the "clean" sound, especially when the amp is cranked. An SVT or a Marshall Major will give you a very nice slap sound, if you don't mind a lot of distortion. That combination would work for "some" styles of music (like maybe RHCP might sound okay that way), but not for others. If I had to choose between one or the other, I'd pick SS, 'cause that would be "most useful" for the styles of music I play "most of the time". It's strictly operational, not really a matter of taste (or religion). If your budget allows, maybe get one of each, that way you'll have the best of both worlds. :)
  11. [soapbox on]

    It seems, thumbs inserted firmly in suspenders here, that SS has the ability to deliver more of the fast transients associated with slap. Tube amps get into the red zone (distortion) quickly for slap style, but I personally haven't found this to be a limitation. IMHO the trick is not to be underpowered for your situation. In most cases 300-400 tube watts work very nicely, and if more power than that is needed one would probably use SS anyhow.

    Still, if I played slap style all of the time I would probably use SS or a hybrid. One of the best sounding amps I've found for slap is the EBS Fafner which is hybrid (tube pre/SS power).

    [/soapbox off]
  12. Jugghaid


    Jun 28, 2002
    Denver, CO, USA
    I like both. I have a Trace all tube head (V6) and an Eden WP-100 with a Stewart World 1.2 and the both work well for slapping. There are differences. The Eden is probably a bit quicker in response, but the Trace is warmer and the all tube setup provides some great natural compression from the tubes. They are different sounds, but the Trace does clean and loud very well (unlike some all tube amps).

    It really depends on the type of slap sound you like I guess. You probably wont get the Marcus Miller tone nailed down on an all tube amp, but you can still get great slap tones from it.

    Try out a few different setups and see which one works best for your situation.