Best Strings for Slap Bass Guitar

Best Strings for Playing Slap & Pop on Bass Guitar –> When bassists pop and slap they want to produce a percussive sound that is loud, bright, and crisp. Popping and slapping allows bassists to create distinct, zingy tones that otherwise can’t be produced by plucking or picking the strings.

If you are interested in taking online bass lessons we also highly recommend JamPlay Bass Lessons. Bass Player Center provided a review of their site and services - click here to check it out!

Some strings are better suited for getting that sound you want when using the slapping and popping technique. Take the factors listed below into consideration:

String Material

Strings are made of various types of materials. Commonly used string materials include nickel, stainless steel, copper-plated, and polymer-coated. Strings made of stainless steel are the most commonly preferred for slapping and popping. They are designed to produce a brighter, louder, sound with a lot of high end – while also producing an adequate amount warmer, fatter, low end tones. Some bassists do use nickel strings for popping and slapping. However nickel strings are designed to produce tones that have more mid-range making them more dull and vintage sounding. Strings today are also manufactured using stainless steel that is nickel-plated. These newer types of strings are also an option.

Bass String Winding

Bass strings are constructed by winding material (such as stainless steel or nickel) around a core wire. The two most common types of wrappings are round wound and flat wound. Rounwound strings have a wrapping that is round. You can feel the ridges of the individual wraps under your fingers. Flatwound strings have a wrapping that is flattened. The strings are smooth, and you can barely feel any ridges. Here is an image showing you the difference between flatwound and roundwound strings:

Flatwound vs. Roundwound Bass Guitar Strings

We recommend roundwound strings for getting the sound you want when slapping and popping –> In general, flatwound strings will produce a sound that emphasizes mid-range and low-range tones. They have less high-end punch and produce a tone that is more mellow. Roundwounds produce tones with a balance of high-end detail, low-end thump, and less mid-range. They can produce a more aggressive sound with more attack. They are better for getting that crisp, bright sound with a lot of bite when you are slapping and popping.

String Gauge

Bass strings come in different gauges. The gauge of a string is the measure of its diameter expressed in thousandths of an inch. Higher gauge strings are thicker and produce lower tones. While the range of gauges will vary among string sets, the chart below shows common ranges of bass string gauges:

Common Bass String Gauge Ranges Slap Pop Bass

String gauges in the light to medium range are most commonly preferred for slapping and popping. Lighter gauge strings produce a thinner, crisper sound that allows for a more distinct, zingy tone that bassists want to produce when they are slapping and popping.

Below is a list of bassists known for being great at popping and slapping – with the range of string gauges they use. As you can see, these bassists prefer string gauges in the lighter to medium ranges:

  • Les Claypool: 40-55-75-95/100
  • Flea: 45-65-85-105
  • Larry Graham: 40-55-75-95
  • Mark King: 30-50-70-90
  • Marcus Miller: 45-65-80-105-130 (5 strings)
  • Victor Wooten: 40-55 -75 -95

Our Recommendations

Below are our recommendations for strings that are best for popping and slapping. These strings are the most commonly used by bassists wanting to get that percussive sound that is loud, bright, and crisp. All of the strings we recommend are round wound. They are also all stainless steel strings – with the exception of the GHS Boomers which are made of steel strings that are nickel plated. All of the strings we recommend have gauges in the light to medium range.

Affiliate Disclosure: Bass Player Center is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

DR Hi-Beams

DR Hi-Beams Strings Best Strings for Slap Bass Guitar
  • Handmade stainless steel bass strings
  • Played by bassists such as Marcus Miller
  • Roundwound and constructed upon a round core which is unique in the industry
  • Highly flexible, musically bright and renowned for durability, unusually long life, consistency, and string-to-string balance
  • Known for their brightness and ease of playing
  • Fret-friendly – they won’t eat your frets!
  • Available in gauge sizes ranging from Light to Medium for 4, 5 and 6 string bass guitars

D’Addario EPS170M Pro Steels

DAddario Pro Steels Best Strings For Pop Slap Medium
  • Pro Steels are D’Addario’s brightest and most magnetic bass strings
  • A specialized stainless steel alloy delivers harmonically rich, brilliant high-end coupled with deep, tight lows that work in tandem to create the tone stainless steel players crave.
  • D’Addario’s most popular bass strings
  • Made in the U.S.A. for the highest quality and performance
  • Round wound strings
  • Available in gauge sizes ranging from Super Light to Medium for 4, 5 and 6 string bass guitars

GHS Bass Boomers

GHS Bass Boomers Best Strings for Slap Bass Guitar
  • One of the most popular bass strings in the world
  • Played by bassists such as Flea
  • They utilize a nickel-plated stainless steel wrap wire (with a special combination of stainless steel and nickel-plate on the low E and B strings) over a hex core
  • Distinctive low-mid punch that sits well in any musical genre.
  • Featuring the air-tight Fresh Pack, guaranteed fresh from the factory!
  • A classic POWER string for increased brilliance, volume, sustain and strength
  • Roundwound strings
  • Available in gauge sizes ranging from Light to Medium for 4, 5 and 6 string bass guitars

Rotosound FM66 Swing Bass 66 Funkmasters

Rotosound FM66 Swing Bass 66 Stainless Steel Funkmaster Slap Pop
  • Roundwound stainless steel strings
  • The lightest strings that we recommend
  • Used by bassists such as Mark King
  • Bright strings with a distinctive punchy tone
  • Made in England – Each string is physically and visually inspected at every stage of the manufacturing process to get maximum consistency
  • Known also for tuning stability and durability

Thanks for checking out our “Best Strings for Slap Bass Guitar”. Be sure to take a look at some of our other gear & equipment recommendations. We also offer a lot of free bass lessons & tips, as well as music for bass players such as isolated bass tracks to help you learn bass lines to cool songs!

Bass Guitar Gear & Equipment – Main Page

Bass Player Center Home

If you are interested in taking online bass lessons we also highly recommend JamPlay Bass Lessons. Bass Player Center provided a review of their site and services - click here to check it out!

We Recommend:

Bass Guitar Lessons

Best Strings for Playing Slap & Pop on Bass Guitar

Best Bass Guitar Strings for Slapping and Popping