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How to achieve a great slap bass sound?

Discussion in 'Bass' started by EBS, Feb 28, 2006.

  1. EBS

    EBS Active Member


    as a bassplayer I’m a big fan of funky basslines but I haven’t achieve a decent slap sound in my recordings. I’m using Fender Deluxe Jazz Bass with EBS TD650 and EBS 4x10” cabinet. Actually the basshead belonged to Marcus Miller before I bought it couple years ago so I’m wondering where’s the magic. Maybe it’s just my poor playing…:D Anyway, I would appreciate your help and comments. Thanks.
  2. jonnyc

    jonnyc Member

    The only way to record a great slap bass sound is to play your bass great. Not trying to be a smartass but no eqing or compression is going to make it sound great, it may help the sound and in the end it may be necessary but to get a "great" sound you gotta play it great.
  3. McCheese

    McCheese Well-Known Member

    I don't mean to be insulting at all, but a majority of it could be your playing. Without knowing what it is that you're not getting, I'd try limiting. Excessive limiting.
  4. EBS

    EBS Active Member

    I agree with you guys what you said about playing. I didn't mean that I would like to sound like Miller or any other great bassist. That magic thing and poor playing was meant to be more like an expression of self-irony...nothing more. I was more after a certain "tricks" in recording and mixing if there's any. Just like there are dozens of tricks for drums etc. Although I believe that my temporary bass isn't the right tool for the sound what I'm after but that wasn't the question. If you have recorded any bassplayer who used slapping, I would like to hear how did you do it. Pre amps used, compressors, mics, that kinda stuff. McCheese and jonnyc, thanks for your replies. If you have any information about things I just mentioned, please let me know. BTW, I'm working on with that playing thing :D
  5. McCheese

    McCheese Well-Known Member

    One of the best slap sounds I've ever heard was a great player playing a G. Gould custom job, into a David Eden preamp rig (not an amp head). All I remember is he had the limiter rocking hard on it, and a decent scoop out of the mids.
  6. I can't belive nobody's asked you this: Does the sound coming out of the amp, before you record sound good? That would be the first place to start. If it doesn't, go to a guitar shop and plug into as many amps as they'll let you. GUitar Center is good for this. If you're not getting the sound from the amp, you're not going to get the sound to tape. I'm also VERY impressed that nobody told you to go buy a Groove Tubes Brick. This board seems very obsessed by those damn things. Anyhow, trace back to your sources. ;)
  7. StevenColbert

    StevenColbert Member

    Have you changed bass strings?
    One thing is for sure, old strings will make for a dull recording. Make sure your strings are new. And not more than say 4 weeks old. It is important. Or your sound will be round and dull, and lifeless.
    Use a DI if you can get your hands on one. My bass recordings were always missing something for years, then I bought a DI box, and things have never been the same. A direct box will really help you get some great sounding BIG responsive tones. That make the bass standout on even only one track.
  8. McCheese

    McCheese Well-Known Member

    Yeah, definitely record through a DI. You can grab your amp sound as well, but you'll probably find the DI sounds best. The only issue you then is an appropriate mic pre for the DI.

    I would recommend either a Radial JDI, an Avalon U5, or an Eden Navigator. There are other quality DI's out there, but those are solid performers that won't let you down.

    The Eden and U5 output at line level, so no mic pre needed.
  9. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    I'm with SC there... Active electronics and FRESH strings. I don't do a lot of session bass anymore, but for slap 'n pop, I changed the E and A strings every half hour or so. That piano-like "ping" goes away quickly.

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