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Setup for Slapping?


Newf

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I was wondering if a bass should be setup a certain way for slapping. The reason I ask this is simple. I suck big time at slap/pop and I've gained a steady appreciation for the funky stuff over the last year or so (coincidentally, about the same time I started learning bass :D ). It's just soooooo bad that mere words fail to convey the magnitude of my suckiness. :(

 

It's not like I'm going to use it all the time cause if it's overdone it becomes the widdly widdly of bass guitar IMO. In moderation though it's very kool.

 

Apparently my Ibanez SR isn't exactly good for slapping due to the relatively close string spacing compared to P & J basses.

 

I have a p-clone but I have the relief and action set quite low and I was wondering if that could be part of the problem.

 

Frustrated beyond belief

Newf :mad:

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ouch! Don't modify your bridge with a block. Even if you wanted to raise the strings, there are easier ways.

 

Any bass can be slapped. Its just a technique that needs to be learned. That for which I have not, as well.

"Some people are like "slinkies". They're not really good for anything;

but they still bring a smile to your face when you push them down a

flight of stairs."

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Thats an awesome video! Its actually a different way than how a bassist I know showed me how to do it... I think I would trust Mr Wooten over him anyday :)

 

What I meant by brass block was this kind of thing

 

http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c319/leepurnell/basss.jpg

 

But if you get the Victor Wooten stylee down I cant see that there would be any need for it...

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Most guys that specialised in the 80s slap heyday used very low action. I (very occasionally) play it and I use quite high action. The main thing is the technique of playing it; loosen your wrist and practise away - your thumbs should bounce off the strings. Practise on a tabletop until you get the movements right.

It's easier with wider string spacing but I'vce heard cats do it with 6 strings fine - it's a matter of muting.

Trucks' suggestion was used by the Warwick Thumb Bass back in the day. I wouldn't really say it's worth doing unless you're going to specialise in slap - probably not a wise career move nowadays. I like the sound of the strings hitting around the 19th fret (ish) and with the neck pick-up full on and bridge pickup down.

Watch some Marcus Miller!

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The "ideal" setup for slapping (which wouldn't be good for anything else) would have extremely low action so the notes are buzzing when you play finger style.

 

Brand-new stainless steel roundwound strings will help immensely. Use a lighter gauge than you are used to.

 

And practice.

 

By the way, I practiced slapping for an entire year (hours a day) before I did it in public.

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All i have to say (just so it doesnt sound shitty) Is put the Mid DOWN and your Low and High UP. Then on ur bass do the same thing.

 

AS for your playing make sure your thumb is straight to the string and just do the slapping first. Then once you get that down do the popping. Theres nothing else to it, your bass may make it harder but no impossible

Feel the Vibration of the bass
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Originally posted by Feel_Grooves1:

All i have to say (just so it doesnt sound shitty) Is put the Mid DOWN and your Low and High UP. Then on ur bass do the same thing.

If you need to do that, then your hands aren't doing the right things. A smidgeon of mid cut and bass and treble boost should be all you need for a great slap sound.

 

Let Fieldy monopolise the zero mids slap sound - learn to make that midrange sound good when you slap.

 

Alex

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Well I guess that the main issue here is simply to practice more. Although I just put a set of Fender 9120 nylon covered flats (58-72-92-110) on the p-bass a couple of days ago. The Ibanez has a new set of EB Power Slinky's (55-75-90-110) so although they're a touch on the heavy side they're great strings that did wonders for the Ibanez's tone so I don't really want to change them yet) I'll work it out on it. Jeremy, I keep the action pretty low and the neck relief at .010" so that end of it should be ok. Having skinny fingers should help out on it. :D

 

Rocky, that video of Victor Wooten is incredible. Plus it's the first time that I've seen someone actually explain it out as he does on video. Very nice. Now to find some of Marcus Miller's work. YouTube and Google here I come...

 

I'll try out your EQ suggestions F_G1 and see how that goes.

 

Trucks, I'd think about the brass block if I were to have a dedicated bass for slapping. It's an interesting idea though. :)

 

Phil, I'm going to try your idea for thumbing the tabletop as well to try to get the bounce down pat.

 

Thanks everyone,

Newf :thu:

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quote:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Originally posted by Feel_Grooves1:

All i have to say (just so it doesnt sound shitty) Is put the Mid DOWN and your Low and High UP. Then on ur bass do the same thing.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

qoute:

If you need to do that, then your hands aren't doing the right things. A smidgeon of mid cut and bass and treble boost should be all you need for a great slap sound.

 

Let Fieldy monopolise the zero mids slap sound - learn to make that midrange sound good when you slap.

 

Alex

-------------------------------------------------------------

 

Yeah but he said how do i improve, when i suck. Thats a start

Feel the Vibration of the bass
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Originally posted by C. Alexander Claber:

Originally posted by Feel_Grooves1:

All i have to say (just so it doesnt sound shitty) Is put the Mid DOWN and your Low and High UP. Then on ur bass do the same thing.

If you need to do that, then your hands aren't doing the right things. A smidgeon of mid cut and bass and treble boost should be all you need for a great slap sound.

 

Let Fieldy monopolise the zero mids slap sound - learn to make that midrange sound good when you slap.

 

Alex

+1. There's a lot of clarity and articulation in the mids...cut all the mids and you loose that.

 

I also agree with Jeremy...the ideal slap setup (for me) is the strings as close as they can go without choking...slap is then effortless. However, it'll do nothing but rattle with fingerstyle regardless of how clean your technique is. So, I generally set mine to essentially as low as I can get it and still not get fret buzz when I play light - medium fingerstyle (I actually like to get some grind when I dig in). This is a good compromise, but how close that actually is seems to depend on the exact bass that you're using.

 

Dave

Old bass players never die, they just buy lighter rigs.

- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

 

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I tend to believe a slightly higher action gives a fuller tone. In opposition to some of the other posters above, the action on my Jazz bass is considered high by some. At least 2 regular posters on this forum have thought so, anyway.

And I can slap OK.

 

The action on both my Ibanez 5 strings is lower, and I can slap OK on those as well, even with the close string spacing.

 

I'd put it down to practice. I have done (and still do) the "table tap" thing. I also tap out drum lines along with music I listen to- thumb for kick, index & middle for snare and others.

 

Listen to and learn from every song you can that is played in that style. Larry Graham, Marcus, Bootsy, Chili Peppers, Primus, disco tunes, Jamiriquai, whatever.

 

Definitely steel roundwounds, IMO, but YMMV.

And, lastly, practice. ;)

 

Peace,

 

wraub

 

I'm a lot more like I am now than I was when I got here.

 

 

 

 

 

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I'm surprised that no one has invented a bridge that allows you to flip a lever to raise or lower the action between two different settings, while keeping the intonation intact. Seems like that might be a little complex, but it's definitely do-able.

 

Dave

Old bass players never die, they just buy lighter rigs.

- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

 

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I prefer to have the action relatively high which gives the string more room to vibrate resulting in wider dynamic range and more bottom.

 

More important than anything is to spend hours and hours and hours practising slap. It's a very difficult technique to do well - and a very popular technique to do badly.

 

And remember slap does not equal funk!

 

Alex

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Two things to remember when slapping:

1) Technique - When slapping, hit the "sweet spot" at the end of the neck. About a two inch section from the end of the neck towards the bridge. Gives a good percussive sound.

2) Low and high dialed up and mids down(not all the way down). Do this either on-board or through the amp or an A/B switch (processor).

To get a good slap you don't have to "muscle it" or slam the strings into the fretboard; it should be as relaxed as possible. I use the same settings for finger-style and slap. I only modify my technique. String height - you're going to have to figure that one out for yourself. Adjust so you shouldn't have to move your thumb more than an inch on top of the string before slapping.

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I play a lot of funk, and slap is a large part of it. IMO unless you own more than one bass so you can dedicate one to slap only, I would set my bass up for both. I only own one bass and I never really know when I may find myself slapping, so my bass is set for everything I play, as far as tone set it to what works for you. I don't do anything spec. IMO it is easier to slap on a bass with a wider string spacing, but if you work on your tech it really wont make that much of a diff. I use to own a Ibanez BTB405 and that has really wide string spacing, but now I use a Schecter Elite tight string spacing, I still slap I just can't be sloppy when I do it, that bass is very unforgiving.
If you smell something stinking, it's juz me, I'm funky like that
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Holy...almost info overload. ;) I'm working on it on the Ibanez. To hit the "sweet spot" as rich described I'll have to lower the p-pickup as the strings smack right into it. I thought that I was supposed to smack the string into the fingerboard. :o

 

Is there much difference in the string spacing between P & J basses? I thought they used the same bridge. :confused:

 

My amp's EQ isn't tweaked too much. From flat @40Hz and gradually rising to to +5db @340Hz and then slowly dropping back to flat at 2.5KHz and to a low of -4db @10KHz. The contour is on though so that probably drops the mids pretty close to flat again though. Without the contour on the tone loses its warmth no matter what I do with the EQ. :freak:

 

I usually leave my bass's 2-band EQ flat unless I'm doing metal or the Rev and then I'll usually bump up the lo-band some.

 

Thanks again all!

Newf :)

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Originally posted by Newf Stimpson:

Holy...almost info overload. ;) I'm working on it on the Ibanez. To hit the "sweet spot" as rich described I'll have to lower the p-pickup as the strings smack right into it. I thought that I was supposed to smack the string into the fingerboard. :o

 

Is there much difference in the string spacing between P & J basses? I thought they used the same bridge. :confused:

 

My amp's EQ isn't tweaked too much. From flat @40Hz and gradually rising to to +5db @340Hz and then slowly dropping back to flat at 2.5KHz and to a low of -4db @10KHz. The contour is on though so that probably drops the mids pretty close to flat again though. Without the contour on the tone loses its warmth no matter what I do with the EQ. :freak:

 

I usually leave my bass's 2-band EQ flat unless I'm doing metal or the Rev and then I'll usually bump up the lo-band some.

 

Thanks again all!

Newf :)

I know Im going to get some flack about this, but I remember when the only person slapping was Larry Graham, Stanly Clarke had not made his mark, Flea was something that your dog got, and Victor could only say WOO. Slap has come a long way, but it is not brain surgery, it is a basic technique that requires rhythm, timing, practice, and knowing when to and when not to.

Man IMHO you are doing over kill it is not all that. First the sweet spot for slapping is wherever you feel comfortable doing it I tend to slap at the base of my neck, but I have done it near the bridge for a different sound, I know cats that do it over the neck pups. I hear a lot of dial in the highs turn down or off the mids and stuff like that, I dont know when you are suppose to have time to do all that on a set. I hear a lot of cats slap with a lot of high end I guess thats cool if you like that sound, but like someone has said you are trying to get a percussive sound so for me the added extra highs dont do it. Listen to some Sly and the family Stone check out Larry doing his thing, or check him out with Graham Central Station it sound like a bunch of percussion but very musical. If you want to hear a nice slap sound in a group setting check out

The above mentioned

Louis Johnson with the brothers Johnson

The bassist for Slave

Lakeside

Marcus Miller with Luther Vandross

Those are just a few, and those cats have some of the best slap tone you could ever want to hear IMHO. What I am saying is you dont have to go through all that crazy set up stuff if you like the set up for you bass then leave it alone and work on your technique it will get better over time, lower action does not always equate to a better slap technique or that it will always be easier.

If you smell something stinking, it's juz me, I'm funky like that
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And the truth will set you free.

 

Also try and get a hold of Primus - Antipop. Les Claypool does some weird unconventional stuff, but its really great to practise along with.

 

Also the whole kick-slap, snare-pop thing is sound advice.

"I'm a real boy!" - Pinnochio
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Thanks again all. Actually I've refocused my training back on the basics. I'm self-taught with the help of FastTrack book series (and some others) and everyone here at the LowDown. I've mostly been a lurker but I think I've tripled my post count in the last month. I think I'm finally coming out of my shell a bit. :eek:

 

I've been looking at my playing with a very critical eye lately and there are a number of things I feel that I need to work on my fingerstyle technique without going off on a slappy tangent. I need to work on my fret-hand big-time IMO. I've come to realize that I've been fretting with mostly just my index and middle fingers and shifting my hand around like a rabid chihuahua on meth. When I started playing about 18 months ago, I had very limited flexiblity in my smallish hands/fingers and doing one finger per fret was simply impossible. Now I can reliably do it from the 3rd-4th fret and up so I'm trying to use all my fingers in my fretting and reverse some bad habits. I need to get my ring and pinky finger strength up some more but that will come I'm sure. Scales are becoming something besides an exercise in frustration. :) Octaves are still a bastard though...

 

I'm also now trying to learn how to read music as well. Tab is good to a point but I'm getting to a point in all of this where I want to learn a new tune, I get tab for it, learn it, be able to play it but I don't understand anything about it. I feel like a trained monkey, not a bassist. :o I want to be to create my own stuff, that's all.

 

However, I found your theory thread Jeremy and I'm SLOWLY trying to digest its vast store of info. Chords first? The darn book started me on scales... :freak:

 

Yes, EZ speakth the truth. I could complicate a raindrop... ;)

 

Cheers & Many Thanks

Newf :D

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Come on outta that shell Newf!

 

On the concept of chords...I agree with most of what Jeremy says in the theory thread. I will sometimes come up with a pretty cool bass riff in and of itself (and then fit a chord progress to that), but most of my basslines come from fitting a line to a chord progression. If you know the chord progression, you know the key signature and thus the scale. If you know the chords, then you know what notes you could use that hit the roots of the chords (simplest way to start), you'll know what notes you could use to accent certain chord tones, and what notes you can use to color the chord differently (ie. notes that are not chord tones but mutate the chord into something slightly different when you play them).

 

Dave

Old bass players never die, they just buy lighter rigs.

- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

 

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Originally posted by Newf Stimpson:

 

I've been looking at my playing with a very critical eye lately and there are a number of things I feel that I need to work on my fingerstyle technique without going off on a slappy tangent. I need to work on my fret-hand big-time IMO. I've come to realize that I've been fretting with mostly just my index and middle fingers and shifting my hand around like a rabid chihuahua on meth. When I started playing about 18 months ago, I had very limited flexiblity in my smallish hands/fingers and doing one finger per fret was simply impossible. Now I can reliably do it from the 3rd-4th fret and up so I'm trying to use all my fingers in my fretting and reverse some bad habits.

 

Newf :D

I am not a bass instructor, but here is an exercises that I have used over the years to help my playing. Ive found this very useful. Try doing a chromatic scale double octave using one finger for each note this will get your left hand use to using all four fingers. To get you started I take it you have a 4 string. Start with the open E string then use your first finger to play the F then the second to play the F# the third finger for the G and the pinky for G#. Now play an open a then follow the same pattern that you did on the E sting. You are going to do this across your bass all the way up to the E note on your G string, then work your way back down back to the E string, but dont play the open E start at the F and work your way all the way up to the F on your G string. What you will be doing is as you play the scale descending you will start over on the next note a half step up from the one you started on. I hope you can understand what Im trying explain to you like I said Im no instructor. I think this is a very good exercise a lot of cats dont use it because they feel it is too simple but IMHO it is one of the best, because it will help you prepare for more difficult exercises. I hope this is of some help to you.
If you smell something stinking, it's juz me, I'm funky like that
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Now, going back to slapping for a jiffy: i seem to have a problem with getting lost in the mix once i start to slap. With the mids cut, i just can't hear myself...i try adding some more, turning the knobs etc. but it just doesn't get as good as expected. And this is not with two guitars and a full band, but just me and the drummer.

 

Any suggestions?

Warwick Streamer Jazzman 5, Fernandes LEB-2

Ashdown ABM-300, Ashdown ABM 4x10

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Originally posted by Gab:

Now, going back to slapping for a jiffy: i seem to have a problem with getting lost in the mix once i start to slap. With the mids cut, i just can't hear myself...

Just leave your EQ flat and slap away. Experiment with different slapping positions and how hard your attack is.

 

Then try panning the pickups differently. Try adding some bass. Try adding or subtracting some treble. Try cutting some high mids or adding some low mids. Make all these EQ changes very slight - only a few dB at most.

 

Alex

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