Author Topic: String Stiffness and Gauges for Slapping  (Read 472 times)


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String Stiffness and Gauges for Slapping
« on: August 26, 2017, 09:29:54 AM »
So I've gotten into slapping a lot more lately and I'm curious about choosing the best strings.  In general I prefer light (very light) strings, but I'm wondering about the value of "stiffness" in improving tone and performance.  Do stiffer strings work better for slapping?  Hex core? Round core? Other? Heavier gauge?  Heavy B and E and lighter A, D and G? 

Of course the opinions on the interwebs recommend every possible combination so I thought I would turn to the most intelligent group of bassists I know and seek your input.

Side topic:  my primary bass is my SII Balance K - have been thinking about setting up my MK Signature Balance K specifically for slapping.  Any opinions on the electronics difference for this specific application?




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Re: String Stiffness and Gauges for Slapping
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2017, 11:00:15 PM »
I tend to like DR Sunbeams for slapping. They are bright enough but not too harsh. I'm not a fan of overly bright strings. Also, light gauge doesn't sound or feel all that great to me, although I use a .120 B string, which some people find on the light side.

At the end of the day, I think you might just have to bite the bullet and try a bunch of strings and see what works for you. Slap tone is especially idiosyncratic. What sounds great to some sounds terrible to others and sometimes it turns out that what you think would be terrible is actually pretty good. I get a decent slap tone out of Pyramid flats on short scale basses. Who knew? I just did it one day and it worked.


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Re: String Stiffness and Gauges for Slapping
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2017, 03:37:05 PM »
Evening Gentleman!!

Edwin you are 100% right!! DR strings are very, very good!!

I used to use D'Addario,  A young man who used to work for Guitar Showcase in San Jose, recommended DR Lowriders!

50 through 110 gauge,

I have not encountered a better string!!

Hope this helps!!

David Houck

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Re: String Stiffness and Gauges for Slapping
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2017, 02:56:32 PM »
In watching players over the decades, it seems to me one could reasonably suggest that there are lots of different techniques that fall under the banner of "slap".  And thus it would seem to follow that the best string is going to be one that fits your particular technique.

When I was playing in the fusion group a decade ago, I used the same bass with the same strings for everything we did.  (Well, for a while the guitar player played some songs with a guitar tuned down a half step, so I had a second bass on stage for that; but it too had the same strings.)

There was one song in particular where slap was a focal point - Chameleon; and I thought my strings were fine for my approach to using slap to carry the song.

Same strings I'm using now - Thomastik Infeld Jazz Rounds.  And they are very light gauge.

My bass, strings, and rig gave me what I thought was a great tone, with great playability.  But tone is subjective.  Also, I wasn't trying to sound like anyone else; I wasn't trying to replicate the tone that was on a record.

But yes, I can certainly see where some players would want a heavier, stiffer, string for playing slap.


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Re: String Stiffness and Gauges for Slapping
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2017, 10:52:16 AM »
Sometimes I try changing string gauges because I feel heavier strings sounds (or should sound) more focused. Sometimes I raise the action to be easier to control string noises. But I give up each time because it ends geting too stiff to my fingers and return it back to old regular light strings and settings.

My Rogue is my single top axe so it have to fit every gig that I get and it have to feel as right on pizzicato as on slaping. So I decided simply change the way I slap from heavy beating to a softer touch that matches better to the way I pluck on pizzicato. It is a compromise but I realized that I really need them pliable enough to bend easily.
Not just a bass, this is an Alembic!


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Re: String Stiffness and Gauges for Slapping
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2017, 11:56:04 PM »
DR Hi Beams lite guage are a staple for me however there are times where I enjoy the D'Addario steels as well as the nickel XLs for pizz. Guages for me always are on the light side for slap and string bending antics. .95 for the E. I tried the pure blues DRs for their light guage, tension and smoothness but found the tone to be a little lacking for me than the Hi Beams and D'Addarios.. LaBella deep talkins seem to have a coarse feel to them and are stickier than the previous which doesn't go well with fast pizz playing, however they sound warm.

I am inspired to try flatwounds one day soon from reading others experiences.  I do like the Alembic strings too as a good all around string choice for slap and pizz. They have more tension than the previous  and have a certain dynamic that I cant get with others and are smooth and fast for pizz.

Strngs to me are like picking the right shoes or sneakers for the right occasion, just more of a hassle to change.  Sounds like I need to buy a bunch of different strings to test to see what I am missing out on as well.

« Last Edit: September 07, 2017, 12:02:55 AM by moongerm »