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Which bass delivers the pop without slapping?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by rickreyn, Oct 12, 2000.

  1. rickreyn


    Jun 16, 2000
    Lutz, Florida
    I'm in a quandry. I am looking for a 5-string that will enable me to strike a string with my finger (I don't slap) and get a pronounced and rich "pop" similar to what the slappers get. I just can't seem to get the sound on my Carvin LB75 with the two stacked humbucking pickups, despite treble, bass and midrange controls. I get a pop but it is thin and fails to cut through. What is the secret to that sound and what basses deliver it?
  2. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    I believe that what you are trying to achieve is more a function of technique than the bass itself.

    It takes a great deal of strength in the upper arm, hand and finger, and a lot of coordination to get a pop sound from striking the string from overhead with the tip of a finger.

    Billy Sheehan gets tap harmonics on the upper frets this way, and I have seen him live get pinch harmonics over the pickups this way. He actually puts his middle finger behind the index finger and uses his wrist in a downward motion to get this effect.

    I read an interview several years back with him and he said that it took years of practice to build up that kind of strength.
  3. JazznFunk


    Mar 26, 2000
    Asheville, NC
    Lakland Basses Artist
    Are you wanting to be able to get the sound that you get when hitting the strings with your thumb, or popping the string with your finger? If it's the latter that you're after, setting your bass with lower action and really digging in when attacking the string will allow you to get a "pop" sound without actually slapping. I have my 5-string Fender Jazz set up this way and it works wonderfully. My fretted bass playing actually centers around this "pop" type sound a lot of times, so it works really well. Funny thing is I never slap! <lol>
  4. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Some of the cheaper Alembics I've tried have a bright, "poppy" tone when played fingerstyle. I've seen negative reviews for them, though. Seems the brightness comes at some cost to the low end.
  5. rickreyn


    Jun 16, 2000
    Lutz, Florida
    I neglected to say that I unfortunately cannot slap or effectively use my thumb due to a childhood surgery. So I am trying to compensate. In the past I've used a pick to get the percussive sound, but I like the natural sound of the fingers on the string. Therefore, I'm trying to use a modified fingering technique with a suitable bass to approach the percussive sound.
  6. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    There's a technique I use when goofing around that gets a similar sound to what I believe you're referring to...It's not so much a "tapping" technique, though similar...

    What I do is strike the string ON the fretboard and "pull-back" the striking finger quite rapidly. I compare this to the slap-technique in some ways because I hit the string just as rapidly with my index (or middle finger) as slappers do with their thumbs. Another difference is that I hit the string on the fretboard as opposed to just off the end of the fretboard the way I think most slappers do.

    I do recommend a low action, however. And, you'll have to try different basses to see which ones work best with your particular hands. I've had good luck myself on my Spector and also a Ken Smith that I tried a year ago...
  7. I.'.I.'.Nakoa

    I.'.I.'.Nakoa Guest

    Aug 10, 2000
    Fort Worth.
    lower your action.. that should help.. and maybe use heaveir strings..
  8. Yes lower your action and you will discover what you are looking for. Then just play along, but you gotta be careful when you want to sound like a regular bass.. rattles may come along.. but thats just a part of the game :D
  9. On Lewis Johnsons video he hits the strings every possible way and gets close to the same sound. Try hitting the string striaght down into the 20th fret and bounce off to let the string ring. Turn the mids down and boost treble and bass. For the pop sound pull the string straight up just in front of the fingerboard and let go. In both sounds the strings will hit the fret. A more subtile sound can be created by not hitting the fret and slightly choking the the string with your left hand.
  10. rickreyn


    Jun 16, 2000
    Lutz, Florida
    I tried an active Corvette Standard 5 and it seems to have a lot of body to the tone, and is very responsive. It also automatically scoops out the mids by pulling on the knob. In addition to these great technical suggestions, would I have more luck with a Warwick?
  11. Oysterman


    Mar 30, 2000
    If you ask if the Warwick Corvette Std 5 is a good instrument, the answer is YES. I simply love the Warwicks' stunning looks and solid and accurate feel, and there's an aura of quality surrounding their instruments. They almost feel and sound alive!

    BUT, I don't fancy the way they sound - when I played one, I sensed a tremendous lack of warmth (I've been brought up with Fenders), so actually buying one was never an issue. But this is highly personal (lots and lots of people love the Warwick sound), so if it sounds right to you, and the bass helps you getting that pseudo-popping you desire, go for it! Don't let your sweat drip on the oil finishes, though - it'll give some funny stains. And oil finishes on basses need beeswax care.
  12. rojo412

    rojo412 Walnut is fun! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    I think that a Warwick or a Musicman would work, but you aren't limited to those. I just have them and know that you can really TWANG that string and it'll make the sound you want. On a cheesy recording I did with my band, I wasn't loud enough, so I had to play really hard. On the tape, it sounded like I slapped every note. That was cool.
    Also, I notice that basses with Bartolini pickups have that sound (the Pedullas and Conklin GT-7s we have at the store).
    Good luck in the search.
  13. DarkMazda


    Jun 3, 2000
    My Salas gives a nice POP! even if you use a Pick/Finger, it sounds VERY Wootenish(Victor Wooten type sound) on the G and the E string has the NICE low, punch

  14. My Fender Precision does what you are speaking of. If you pluck it hard enough, it does get a slap-type sound.

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