The 4 Best Basses For Slap – Bass Guitar Reviews 2023

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Slap bass techniques put the bass guitar in a completely different light. Sure, most bass lines in modern music are in the background, but you could always stick to the original idea of what the bass should be and you’ll see it has a lot more to give. Slapping sounds amazing when done right, but it can be ridiculously complex. However, can you slap on any bass guitar? While the answer is yes, some bass guitars are better suited for this style of playing than others.

We have selected four models for you today. In our opinion, a good slap bass guitar should have an ash body and J-bass style pickups. This type of configuration has been preferred by many popular slap bass guitar players like Marcus Miller. Let’s go over the bass guitars below, and talk a bit about what each has to offer.

These are the 4 best basses for slap on the market.

Bass Guitar for Slap 1: Music Man Stingray 4

When it comes to high-end bass guitars, Music Man is one name that is bound to be mentioned. This company has been making top tier bass guitars for years, causing a lot of professional bass players to choose their instruments over the competition. Music Man Stingray 4 is one of their most popular models by far. This bass guitar brings the type of sound that is simply on a different level.

Features and Performance

Music Man Stingray 4 sports a modifies Fender P-Bass body with that signature Music Man pick guard. The tonewood of choice is ash and the finish comes in form of nice transparent lacquer. This bass comes with a maple neck, which makes it very smooth and easy to play. The pickups are two active humbuckers in H just like we are used to seeing on Music Man basses. Being active, these humbuckers have a hotter output but the tone is well balanced. The Stringray 4 should be on anyone’s list of the best bass for slap.

MusicMan Classic Stingray 4 - Demo

Bass Guitar for Slap 2: Warwick Rockbass Corvette 5

Compared to Music Man, Warwick is a bit more niche-oriented towards a heavier sound. The company has the reputation of delivering well-built bass guitars that are capable of keeping up with almost any music genre out there. The one we are looking at today is also one of their most popular models. We chose the 5 string version because it’s just such a great value.

Features and Performance

Warwick bass guitars often have a compact body, and that is the case with the Corvette 5 as well. The type of wood they chose for this model is swamp ash, and it comes with a natural oil finish. The neck is 3-piece maple design that features a beautiful Rosewood fretboard with no inlays. Pickups are two passive MEC MM units that are positioned very close to each other. In terms of sound, you are looking at that standard Warwick growl but with a bit more power. Corvette 5 can be as subtle as necessary, but when it’s time to go hard, it will keep up with no problems. Hands down, it’s among the best basses for slap you can find.

Warwick Corvette RockBass 5 string Demo

Squier by Fender Affinity Series Jazz Bass

Squier is the more affordable sister company to Fender. With that said, they still make some of the best bass guitars for the money today. Their instruments are made to the same quality standards but sell at a lower price, making them a great choice for a bassist on a budget. The Squier Jazz Bass is a great option for slap players thanks to the action, pickups, and overall design.

Features and Performance

Like many budget basses, the Squier Jazz Bass is built from basswood. While this isn’t the ideal tonewood, it matters much less to a good slap tone than the pickups, in our opinion. When it comes to the electronics, the Squier jazz bass really plays above its price point. It uses dual single-coil jazz pickups that give your slaps a rich, articulate attack. The overall tone is punchy and powerful, with just the right amount of sustain for funky, wet slap bass sounds. The C-shaped neck profile is comfortable under your fingers, too, no matter what style or technique you’re playing in.

Squier by Fender Affinity Jazz BASS DEMO

Bass Guitar for Slap 4: Fender Standard Jazz

Finally, we have the bass that started it all. Fender’s Precision bass might have been the first, but the Jazz is the one that made the most impact. Its pickup configuration has become an industry standard, and these bass guitars are considered to be the staple of modern bass sound. The one we are looking at today is a light version of this model, but it still brings that legendary performance.

Features and Performance

If you want standard Fender, this is what you go for—at least, in terms of bass guitars. Fender Standard Jazz sports a body made of alder and comes in numerous finishes. These include solid colors and sunburst as well. Maple neck with a maple or rosewood fretboard is the standard on all Fender guitars and this one is no different. Electronics come in form of already legendary J Bass pickups that have a balanced output, but also a great range of expression. If you want a great slap bass with even better heritage and style, Fender Standard Jazz is what you need to get.

Fender Standard Jazz Bass Demo

Conclusion – What Makes the Best Bass for Slap

Picking a bass guitar for slapping is not something many people do. With that said, the ash body combined with J Bass pickup configuration has definitely proven to be the best setup for this style of playing. We followed this recommendation and have selected some of the best bass guitars that fit the description. The Music Man (see full specs) we showed you is about as good as it gets, but that also comes down to personal preference.

On the opposite end of the list, we placed a Mexican Fender J-Bass (see full specs) mostly because it’s a great value for the money and the tone difference from a Mexican model is not all that huge compared to an American made one. With that said, all of these basses feel a bit different, so choosing the right one comes down to what you find comfortable.

Overall, this is a bit of a subjective matter, but you can’t deny that punch is the crucial sonic ingredient of a good slap bass, and that’s exactly what these four puppies deliver. Good stuff!

Written and Reviewed By

  • Micah Johnson started playing music in high school, when he taught himself the bass to join his friend’s band. He added guitar and drums during his twenties playing in local clubs, and along the way, he picked up unique, hands-on experience from hand drums to studio mixers. On Song Simian, he aims to share this knowledge from 20+ years playing and recording music. When not in gearhead mode, he enjoys photography and travel.

  • Marko is the senior editor and writer on Ultimate Guitar, the No. 1 guitar spot on the web, since early 2013. His work was also featured on a variety of other notable gear spots such as Guitar Fella, Consordini, and, of course, Song Simian. His musical journey began at a very young age, and he finally opted to pick up an instrument in his early teenage years. A fan of King Crimson. A travel enthusiast.

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