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What kinds of basses are best for slapping?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Biggiephryz, Jan 17, 2001.

  1. Biggiephryz


    Jan 17, 2001
    What do y'all prefer for slapping? Strings: flatwound or roundwound? Spacing: strings close together of far apart? Pickup selection: bridge or neck? Four, five, or six string? What should my EQ look like? And what effects enhance the sound?
  2. basslax


    Apr 20, 2000
    Washington, DC
    here is the general opinion (i think)

    strings- roundwound (brighter for slapping);

    spacing: farther, for ease and space to move your fingers

    pu: bridge for more agressiveness (partly blended if that pleases you, it works for me)

    strings: four, mainly for the string spacing (les claypool, flea)(the five's b is usually too floppy for slapping anyway)

    eq- boost highs and lows cut the mids

    effects- compression

    now of course there are people that like different things but this is gonna be the general idea. now you can get into body styles and woods and such. not my area though.
  3. I have a quirky way to answer all the opinion questions

    Use the strings that sounds best for you
    Use the pickups that sound best to you
    Use the bass that sounds best to you
    Use the number of strings that sounds best to you
    Use the EQ that sounds best to you

    As you can see, the only way to answer this question is to answer it yourself.
  4. Luis Fabara

    Luis Fabara

    Aug 13, 2000
    Ecuador (South America)
    Audio Pro - Ecuador
    strings- Nylon Tape Wound

    spacing: As Close as posible , for Hand Slapping

    pu: No Pickups... a microphone attached to the body for resonance picking

    strings: 9 Strings.. for chordal hand slap

    eq- Boost everything at +15 DB!!!

    effects- Distortion+phaser+pitchshifter+ringmodulator+cry+wah+flanger+chorus+"infinitedelay" Everything on.

    btw.. What´s Slapping?
  5. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    The basic formula for a Fender Jazz slap bass is ash body, maple fingerboard, roundwound strings and dime all of the controls, or maybe back off of the neck pickup a notch or 2.

    Or add an inboard(like Marcus Miller) or outboard preamp(Aguilar, Sadowsky, J-Retro) and boost the treble all of the way and the boost the bass most of the way.

    Or you can get a MusicMan Stingray with ash body, maple fingerboard and roundwound strings, and set it similar to the preamp on the Jazz.

    If the brightness or finger noise bother you, then turn down the treble, get flatwounds(they sound pretty good slapped too) or a rosewood board, or hey, do all 3!

    It might help more to know what kind of slap sound you are looking for - Larry Graham, Marcus Miller, Mark King, Flea, Fieldy:eek:, etc...
  6. Niels Keijzer

    Niels Keijzer Guest

    Nov 27, 2000
    For slapping, I like new strings...but I never have money to get those things.
  7. VictorLeMonteWooten


    Dec 6, 2000
    you can get a really good pop out of a musicman. You get awful tone out of slapping fw. i like slowounds (nickel plated roundwounds). The best bass for throwing is a sammick (throwing into a dumpster).
  8. Mike


    Sep 7, 2000
    Active electronics are a must for enhancing percussive tones. Compression, as another said, and low action helps a lot too. Maple fret boards are nice for a little snappier (that's the only way I can describe it) tone but all will suffice.
  9. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Jeff, most people think Marcus cranks the treble on his bass.. he doesn't. He only boosts the bass on the two band Bartolini preamp.

    I didn't truly realize how much highs the Ash/Maple J's had until I bought one. They don't need any help.

    If you get the right bass, it won't need active electronics or compression. Here's one:


    I swear this bass sounds like Marcus' and it's dead stock. I use Nickel rounds.
  10. darthspada


    Jan 20, 2001
    Lancaster, PA
    In my experience, any bass can be used for slapping. Your technique may need modification, depending on the instrument. I have to be subtle with the slapping on my Electra, a P-Bass copy, due to the height of my pick ups. Other basses I've played required harder slapping. The striking point on your thumb it a vital part of whether or not it will sound good on a given bass. Also pay close attention to the diffences in the striking point for different strings. For example, you may need to hit the G string harder than the A to get the same tonal qualities. A lot of bassists don't slap the higher strings or frets, choosing to pop the string instead. Personally, I like the timbre of the slap better than the pop, so I'll do that if I have time to get my thumb to the right string. Good luck and funk on!
  11. DarkMazda


    Jun 3, 2000
    I think for the good slap sounds its all in your hands ^_^; well yes, the strings/bass/PUs etc.. would help but mostly, its all in your hands

  12. I prefer rounds to flats not so much because of tone, but I feel that rounds have more bounce to them.
  13. air_leech


    Sep 1, 2000

    I noticed everyone on this thread recommends Nickels for slapping.

    I taught Stainless Steels are better because of that high sparkle ring to their slap and pop tone.

    is there any reason I might not be aware of which makes Nickels better for slapping?
  14. Requiem


    Feb 26, 2000
    Costa Rica

    I have only one word for you

    F O D E R A ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

    D'addario strings (XL) slowound, and a big fat thumb, like victor wooten's.

    I also like Washburns because they have a lot of power.....

    Bassically Yours
  15. Phat Ham

    Phat Ham

    Feb 13, 2000
    I thought Macus Miller has a Sadowsky onboard preamp, not a Bartolini.

    I never realized how good a slap tone you can get out of a j bass until I went home for the holidays and pulled out my MIM squire j bass. I put some new D'Addario nickel round wounds on it and abracadabra, I had a good slap tone.
  16. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Lots of people think that. The problem is, Roger installed a preamp in MM's bass before he built preamps.
  17. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    So Brad, you're saying that Roger installed a Bartolini preamp in Marcus' bass for him?
  18. nanook


    Feb 9, 2000
    It has been been my experience that slaping and poping damages strings, frets, fretboards and even bridges.

    Smoother strings don't last as long but do less damage. I keep a cheap bass around to parctice these techniques on and try to keep them to a minimum when using my good instruments.

    I mostly use a 4 string with chrome flats and average string spacing and only use the neck pickup.
  19. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings

    Here ya go:

    Go to FAQ, Equipment, number 1.
    From Marcus himself. When Roger did this 20 or so years ago, his preamp didn't exist.
  20. I have a custom J-bass (swamp ash, maple fretboard). You're right about the wood combination (bright and snappy) and active electronics. A compressor IME is the icing on the cake, a must-have for slap bass fans.
    I have an EBS Multicomp and it's awesome! I use it in multiband mode when slapping, and when I crank the ratio to about 2 or 3 o'clock I am in slap heaven...


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