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What gauge strings do you use for pop/slap?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by beelzelboss, Jan 23, 2012.

  1. So I'm starting to get back into pop and slap again, and I'm having a hard time getting down the left handed fretboard slap. I want to say it's because my strings are too high of tension, so that leads me to my question.

    What gauge strings do you use for pop and slap?
  2. PBnJBassist


    Mar 8, 2011
    Dallas, TX
    Lightest possible gauges that your preferred brand manufactures. 40-55-75-95 preferably, even Victor Wooten's signature set comes in those gauges. Balanced tone and tension across the board. Up to 45-60-80-105 for a deeper "E" but even then, I'd still prefer/recommend/suggest the 40-95 gauge set I mentioned in the beginning.
  3. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I use 40-95 but I've seen plenty of great slappers use a variety of gauges. It ain't the strings, if you know what I mean.
  4. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Commercial User

    Jul 28, 2006
    LA California
    Owner: BassStringsOnline.com
    Generally lighter gauge strings...

    On a fender jazz I like 45-105, but on anything else... 35-95 for a 4 string set,
  5. Mike M.

    Mike M.

    Feb 14, 2010
    I've wondered about this. Been checking out a lot of differant players on You Tube lately and man, some of these guys doing the slap thing make it look so effortless. Can't help but wonder how many of those players are using a lighter gage string.

    Also (pardon my ignorance) if the outer diameter of the string is smaller, is the core wire (be it hex or round) also of a smaller size?
  6. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Some do, some don't. Find the strings that work best for you, not someone else.
  7. Mike M.

    Mike M.

    Feb 14, 2010
    I have! 045 thru 110 on my 4's and 045 thru 130 on my 5.
  8. 45-105 is medium gauge, usually that is good as the thinner the strings, the thinner the sound (and bass should should sound like a bass, Geddy Lee hint hint, don't like his use of thinner strings...)
  9. I'm using medium gauge strings, and I can get the right hand technique down, but to do the slaps with the left I fear they are too strong.

    Also, I'm on a fiver, what gauge should the B be?
  10. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Commercial User

    Jul 28, 2006
    LA California
    Owner: BassStringsOnline.com
    wait, you mean hammer-ons?

    for hammer ons for most players unless the action is low, lighter more flexible strings will help them speak out better....

    On a 5er, I prefer .120/.125 if its mainly a slapping instrument... .130/.135 for fingerstyle... B strings vary by brand though as far as how they feel / sound... I know a few people who buy single B strings to then determine the rest of the strings to use!
  11. Basically what I'm trying to get out of this is being able to do this.


    right at 1:04. Do you see how he is slapping down with his left hand. I'm not able to do that with my current setup. Do you guys know what I need to do to be able to do that?
  12. Bassics101


    Feb 3, 2011
    If you mean that part where he is hitting, then muting? I'd call that a hammer-on with the left finger and then the slap is to mute. Or am I hearing something wrong?

    Edit: The slap does give a ghost note effect, but note a pitch, therefore I'm not quite correct calling it a mute above.
  13. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Commercial User

    Jul 28, 2006
    LA California
    Owner: BassStringsOnline.com
    Those are more like ghost hammer ons if you want to call it that. A lot of slapping is in left hand muting and ghost notes. He is basically slapping his left fingers to the strings enough for an attack but not long enough for a sustain. You can do that with pretty much any string set, it's all about timing and percussiveness.

    My guess is he is using medium gauge strings too.
  14. Root 5

    Root 5

    Nov 25, 2001
    I'd want real heavy E & A strings and light D & G strings for a bright crisp 'snap' on top and a heavy bass down low.
  15. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    General rule would be light gauge strings & low action.
    My buddy uses Curt Mongan strings and does a lot of tapping
    & slap playing. Check out Grant Stinnett sometimes.
  16. KCLRbass


    Sep 5, 2011
    This example highlights others' comments that it really depends on the person. I'm a pretty heavy-handed player who uses medium to heavy strings and slightly higher action. Right now, though, I have one of my basses set up with light (light for me = 45-130 on a 5-string) strings and very low action for some tunes on the record my band is making. Sounds and plays excellent! HOWEVER, I can't slap to save my life on that setup. I personally need more 'meat' to work with in order to squeeze out the funk.

    OP, keep in mind: my preferences, same with those of most others around here, are formed after many years of varied experience.
  17. I use DR 45-105 on my 4 string and 45 to 130 on any 5 string's I've had.
  18. Hmmm. It seems a lot of people are suggesting lighter strings. I'm pretty sure I have on mediums.

    KCLRbass: I am like that when I'm unamped, but when I'm amped I play super soft.

    I think what I really need is a good set up, but my strings IMO are very stiff compared to what I'm used to. It could be the 35' or it could be the strings. All I know is that I'm in dire need of a setup.
  19. rimbaud

    rimbaud Banned

    Nov 17, 2011
  20. eddododo

    eddododo Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2010
    Lighter strings are easier , but honestly , after REALLY paying your dues to hone technique I feel like a heavier-than light gauge not only sounds better, but allows more control. If you pay your dues.
    Ive yet to have a good player convince me otherwise

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