The 5 Best Basses For Slap Reviews

When people think of bass guitar the first thing that comes to mind is that it’s supportive or in the background. However with the best basses for slap it’s become a thing of its own that makes your music stand out.

For the slap bass method to work you’ve got to have the right guitar though. If you’re not sure where to start I’ve picked out 5 of the top bass guitars today.

Not all bass guitars sound alike, and the one you choose makes a big difference on the sound and technique implementation.

All right, here’s the chart and reviews.

Top 5 Basses For Slap: Comparison Chart

Product
Body
Fingerboard
Pickups
Controls
Scale Length
View On Amazon
Ash
Maple
Music Man humbucking with Alnico magnets
Bass, mid, volume, 3band active pump
34 in.
Alder
Rosewood
Active MEC J/J
Bass, treble, balance, volume
34 in.
Ash
Rosewood
Lakland Hybrid Split Pickup, Lakland J style single-coil
1 tone, 2 volume
34 in.
Alder
Rosewood
Standard Jazz Bass Single-Coil Pickups
Volume 1. (Neck) Volume 2. (Bridge) Master Tone
34 in.
Alder
Maple
Standard Jazz Bass Single-Coil Pickups
Volume 1. (Neck) Volume 2. (Bridge) Master Tone
34 in.

Best Picks of Basses For Slap

#1: Ernie Ball Music Man Stingray 4 Bass, Natural, Maple Board

Music Man is well known for their quality products and this is no exception. Equipped with some of the best pickups for slap bass, the Stingray 4 provides high quality bass that few can compare to.

The Stingray 4 has the features you’d expect from a well designed bass guitar. It is based off the Fender P-Bass body so you’re more comfortable while playing.

The Stingray 4 comes with a pick guard made in the classic Music Man style. If you have played bass before you’ll know how important the pick guard is, so it’s good to see it’s of exceptional quality.

Music Man StingRay 4 Special H Classic Natural MN w/Black Pickguard & Hardshell Case
  • Ash body w/expanded contours
  • Roasted Maple Neck 22 Stainless Steel Frets w/sculpted 5-bolt neck joint
  • Neodymium magnet Humbucker w/18V preamp
  • Lightweight Aluminum Hardware
  • Includes Hardshell case and Warranty Info

Last update on 2020-05-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The ash tone wood is well made and generates excellent sound. The transparent lacquer finish is nice and gives the Stingray 4 a more polished appearance.

The neck is made from maple so it is easy to play and smooth to touch. There are a couple of H active humbuckers included and they function as well as expected.

As I’ve come to expect from Music Man, their active humbuckers produce a well balanced sound which is necessary for slap bass. The output is hotter than on most bass guitars so it’s no shock the bass lines are really good.

The Ernie Ball bass is preferred by a lot of artists and it’s because of the versatility. Being able to shift tones is key for any bass player and that’s what makes the Ernie Ball a hit.

You can play the Stingray immediately, but it is just as easy tweak for funk, metal or blues. It’s a well made bass guitar, period.

Highlighted Features
  • Bolt on neck
  • Neck has wax and oil finish
  • Excellent sound
  • Easy to adjust bridge system
  • Outstanding construction

#2: Warwick Rockbass Corvette 5 string, Natural Satin Finish

If you are into slap bass guitar solo the Corvette 5 is going to be right up your alley. Warwick has developed a following for its distinct sound, and this 5 stringer is one off the better ones they’ve got.

The Corvette 5 has a heavy bass sound but it is suitable for different genres. I chose this guitar among the rest because it’s easy to use and design.

The Corvette 5 sports a compact swamp ash body and a striking oil finish. The end result is a well designed guitar that delivers exceptional bass.

The 3 piece neck is constructed from maple and a no inlay rosewood fretboard. The fretboard and neck are critical for comfort and these are among the best I have seen.

The passive MEC MM pickups are well placed and helps with bass playing. Handling and tuning are easy so there shouldn’t be any issues.

Sound wise the Corvette 5 has the typical heavy Warwick sound but with even more power than usual. This makes the guitar a good option if you want to emphasize the bass.

You can tweak the sound however so it is more subtle. If you like the heavy bass it’s there but it can also be quiet if needed.

The humbucker pickups are set in the middle of the guitar as they’re set over the bass’ sweet spot. The Corvette 5 can play sensitive notes via the tone control and 2 push/pull volume controls.

By adjusting the volume and tone you can soften the sound if needed. At the same time you don’t compromise in durability, performance or reliability.

Highlighted Features
  • Excellent built and shape
  • Durable Strap Locks
  • Warwick Chrome Hardware
  • 2 Passive MEC MM Pickups
  • Swamp ash body

#3: Lakland Skyline Series 44-64 4-Strings Bass Guitar, Three Tone Sunburst

If you’re looking for the best slap bass guitar the name Lakland isn’t the one most guitarists would mention. Even so the brand has become known for its distinct sound that other bass guitars aspire for.

The Skyline Series are notable for its distinct sound. Compared to the Warwick it is more refined though it is possible to get something heavier from it.

Lakland Skyline Series 44-64 4-Strings Bass Guitar, Three Tone Sunburst
  • Lakland USA Vintage Split Coil Neopunch Pickups
  • 1. 75" Nut Width
  • Vol, Tone control layout
  • 34" Scale
  • Hipshot Licensed Ultra Light tuners

Last update on 2020-05-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Skyline Series bass guitars have a smooth, well built body. Made from ash wood, these guitars are based on the P-bass though greatly modified.

Compared to other guitars, the Skyline Series has a low cutout style that allows it to generate high notes. That would not be possible if it was a higher cut, something a lot of bass guitarists like.

The neck is made of maple, durable and designed to last. The fretboard is also built from maple and has a comfortable feel to it.

In addition the Skyline Series guitars come with a 3 band buffered preamp which is compatible with MK1 split coil pickups. With these features you’ll have an easier time tuning the bass.

The 44-64 is inspired by the 64 P bass, and it incorporates the best of the P while using the latest technology. You also get a Lakland pickup that packs a lot of power and precision.

The guitar offers excellent balance thanks to the neck, and the tone is reminiscent of classic bass guitars. Beginners or not, you get excellent sounds.

The Skyline Series is one of the bestsellers from Lakland and as this review has shown, there are good reasons why.

Highlighted Features
  • Light tuners are Hipshot licensed
  • Easy to adjust volume control
  • Vintage Split Coil Neopunch Pickups
  • Rich, full bass
  • Plek technology based fret

#4: Fender Standard Jazz Electric Bass Guitar – Maple Fingerboard, Arctic White

If you’re after the best beginner bass guitar then you’ll want to take a look at the Fender Jazz. For a lot of musicians Fender is the only name they trust and I have to say the Jazz lives up to the brand’s reputation.

Its pickup setup is excellent and is the one by which others are measured. The bass is top notch and delivers the sound you’d expect from professional level guitars.

The Fender Jazz is a lighter version of the original, but don’t let that deter you as this is a high quality bass guitar. It is available in different colors but they all have the same rosewood or maple fretboard.

Fender Standard Jazz Electric Bass Guitar - Maple Fingerboard, Arctic White
  • The Standard Series is the perfect choice for any musician looking to upgrade to a professional level instrument
  • The Standard Jazz Bass comes equipped with two modern style single-coil Jazz Bass pickups for clear and articulate tone
  • The tinted "C" shape neck provides universal comfort and vintage styling
  • Available in many classic vintage Fender colors
  • Reduced hum provided by the shielded body cavities

Last update on 2020-05-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Jazz comes with J Bass pickups that are well known for their balance. With the way it has been set up you get a wider expression range compared to regular bass slap guitars.

The Jazz is solidly built and looks great, petty much what you’d expect from a Fender. The neck is glossy and the bridge is properly set. Some bass guitar bridges are too low or too high but the setting is just right here.

The bass is smooth and the frets integrate well in the whole playing experience.  Because of the way the bass is set up there’s less pressure on your hands when you play.

The tone is warm with plenty of depth and well rounded too. It is simple enough for a beginner to use but has enough power for advanced users.

There are a lot of cool bass guitars, but when it comes to quality and reputation, few stand out like the Fender.

Highlighted Features
  • Available in different colors
  • Professional sound quality
  • Strong, comfortable C neck
  • 2 single coil pickups included
  • Shielded body cavities

#5: Fender Standard Jazz Electric Bass Guitar – Maple Fingerboard, Brown Sunburst

This is another version of the Fender Jazz and it has the same high end specs as the other. As part of the Standard Series the Jazz is built for those who don’t want to compromise in terms of quality.

The Jazz is part of the Standard Series, designed to be easy to use yet advanced enough for advanced guitarists. The guitar body cavity comes with anti-humming for superior sound and bass.

Fender Standard Jazz Electric Bass Guitar - Maple Fingerboard, Brown Sunburst
  • The Standard Series is the perfect choice for any musician looking to upgrade to a professional level instrument
  • The Standard Jazz Bass comes equipped with two modern style single-coil Jazz Bass pickups for clear and articulate tone
  • The tinted "C" shape neck provides universal comfort and vintage styling
  • Available in many classic vintage Fender colors
  • Reduced hum provided by the shielded body cavities

Last update on 2020-05-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The trademark C neck gives the guitar its distinct shape and keeps you comfortable. This is part of the reason why it is an attractive option for beginners.

The single coil pickups are perfect for jazz and general bass playing.  With these you’ll have an easier time setting up the tone and range.

The Fender Jazz guitar performs as well as you would expect from a Fender. The bass stands out for its smoothness, not too high and not too deep.

The Fender Jazz is easy to use and does not put a lot of pressure on your hands the way other bass guitars do. Like the other Fender Jazz models, this one has a well designed bridge that improves playing experience.

The frets are among the best I have seen in this range, and its slap bass tone is perfect for jazz and other guitars.

The name Fender has long been associated with quality and it’s the brand that a lot of musicians choose. While it is preferred by professionals, they manufacture guitars for beginners.

These Fender Jazz guitars are good examples of how suitable these are for beginners and also for long time guitarists.

Highlighted Features
  • Made from high quality materials
  • Smooth bass
  • Comfortable to play
  • Professional quality sound
  • Excellent pickups

 

What Makes a Good Bass?

What makes a good slap bass? Well it’s easy to say get a good bass guitar, but there are other things that you’ll need to account for.

The easiest way is to buy from a reputable brand. Doing so gives you assurance the guitar is fit for slap bass and that it is made of solid materials.

A well-designed bass guitar has a comfortable feel to it. The fingerboard should not feel too narrow or too wide, just right.

Play the guitar and how it feels in your hands. If you can’t get the sound right even after it has been set up, it’s probably not suited for you.

A good bass should be comfortable to play standing up or sitting down. It should not be too heavy or light either.

Regarding the sound, it varies from guitar to guitar and also depends on the setup and the guitarist. That’s why I said it is important you set it up before playing.

Everyone has their own idea of how a good bass guitar should sound, so keep playing the guitar until it comes up the way you want. If it doesn’t, try another one.

Who Invented Bass Guitar?

The modern electric string bass was created by Paul Tutmarc of Seattle, Washington in the 1930s. Paul was a musician who invented the base off a fretted instrument.

In 1935, Paul’s music instrument store began selling the Model 736 Bass Fiddle, a slim body, 4 string electric bass instrument. The design proved popular and they soon developed other variants.

By the 1950s, Leo Fender further refined the electric bass guitar and started to mass produce them. In October 1951, Fender started making the Fender Precision Bass, which would go on to become the standard by which others were measured.

The P-Bass became popular owing to its lightweight and sound. Since then it has been the basis for various designs. By the 1960s the electric bass guitar had taken the place of the double bass in pop music.

Different types of bass are available, but they all set the beat.

How to Choose Basses For Slap Bass Guitars

Before going over the different types of bass guitars, knowing what features to look for will be necessary.

Tonewood

The top wood determines the guitar’s tonal quality. The most widely used are:

  • Maple: dense wood that produces crisp tones and excellent sustain. Very clear and well defined sound.
  • Basswood: good for playing various genres. Basswood takes in vibration, is very soft and has limited sustain. It is ideal for intricate guitar plays.
  • Mahogany: mahogany bass guitars have a full sound and warm tone. The resonance is low and the density is medium, making the bass’ lows more pronounced.
  • Alder and Ash: I put them together here since they share similar properties. The bass is even with a long sustain and rich resonance.
  • Agathis: majority of entry level bass guitars are made from agathis as it’s affordable. It’s still got a rich tone that puts emphasis on the lows and middles.

Number of Strings

Bass guitars have 4, 5 or 6 strings. For beginners and most bass players, the 4 string guitar is the best option.

4 string guitars have narrower necks than 5 or 6 stringers and are more comfortable to play with. 4 string guitars are also set to EADG so it’s easier to get the hang of it.

Most popular music work best with a 4 string bass. However, country and some religious music are more suited with a 5 or 6 string bass.

Bottom line: if you’re a beginner or play standard forms of music, a 4 string bass will be fine.  If you want to expand your repertoire and try something new, get a 5 or 6 string bass.

 

Fretless vs. Fretted

A fretted neck makes it easier to locate notes, ideal or a beginner. A fretless bass guitar however, has a warmer, smoother sound.

Whether it is fretted or fretless, the way you play has a direct bearing on how the bass guitar will sound like.

Bass Necks

The most common are thru-body, set and bolt on. Most bass guitars have a bolt on neck so it doesn’t come off easily. Bolt on necks are also more stable and provide excellent transfer of string vibration.

These are the most important factors to bear in mind if you’’re buying a bass guitar.

 

What is the Difference Between Passive and Active Pickups?

There are 2 types of pickups bass guitarists can use, active and passive.

Passive Pickups

These have been around since the early days of the electric guitar and remains widely used. With a passive pickup you get a warm tone that’s full and rich.

One disadvantage with a passive pickup is you do not have a lot of control. However, the sound is dynamic, punchy and thick.

Active Pickups

Active pickups are newer. The sound is generally clear, percussive and bright, and they have a battery operated preamp that produces a bigger output compared to passive pickups.

Both active and passive pickups have pros and cons. Passive pickups have a greater range than active, but they are also more prone to feedback.

Passive pickups let you control the treble and bass but not much else. Active pickups however, rely on batteries which can run out.

For most beginners, a passive pickup is probably the best option. These came first and it’s a good idea to learn how it works. You can always get an active pickup later on.

Also, the type of music you play will determine what kind of pickup most suits you.

Top Bass Guitar Brands

Music Man

If we talk about the best brands of bass guitars then the Music Man will be one of them. The company makes some of the finest bass guitars, and their products are known for their consistency.

Warwick

Warwick made its mark by creating high quality, powerful sounding bass guitars. Since the company was founded it has become a trusted brand. The Corvette 5 featured here is just one of their many popular guitars.

Fender

Fender is one of the most legendary names in the business, with the Stratocaster and Telecaster having attained mythical status in the guitar world. Aside from these two the company also manufactures other affordable guitars.

Gibson

Makers of the legendary Les Paul, Gibson is one of the giants in the guitar biz along with Fender. Apart from the Les Paul, the company also makes the Firebird, the ES-335, the SG and the Explorer.

Ibanez

Ibanez started by making copies of American original guitars, but it has gone on to manufacture its own unique guitars. The RG is their best known guitar but they also produce the S-Series.

These are just some of the biggest brands in the guitar world today. Others include Taylor, Dean, Guild, Gretchh, Martin and more.

Final Verdict

After a thoroughly reviewing all of the 5 bass guitars, I’ve come to the conclusion that the Fender Standard Jazz Electric Bass Guitar is the best of the lot. I am not saying the others are no good, but this is a Fender after all.

There are a lot of positive things that I can say, but it all about the bass quality. They’re smooth, clear and establish a rhythm that is hard to match.

Its pickup design is the industry standard and there is a reason for that as the Fender is superbly built. With all these going for it, there’s no doubt for me the Fender Jazz has the best basses for slap.

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