Mark has always had an aspiration to learn slap double bass. So here in his own words is the story to date:


Finally, I bit the bullet and bought a cheap new double bass. For months I’d searched the internet looking for a good secondhand bass. The theory behind that is it’s possible to find one ready to play. A bass that is set up and ready to go, possibly with slap strings and a pick up. Alas this was not to be. Living rurally in Snowdonia any potential purchases were hours away or ridiculously priced, let face it posting one without trying it is not an option! So, a bargain bucket bass was bought knowing I’d got work to do to get it playable. 


On arrival it seemed half decent and I was very pleased with it. There were a few jobs I was capable of doing. The cheap Chinese strings had to go; they would surely wreck my fingers! They were replaced by some synthetic slap strings made by Superior Bassworks. The E string is particularly thick compared to a wire string and does not fit through the tuning post hole. Out comes the drill and a 4.3mm hole is made! The bridge needed refining as the action was way to hire. I’d already ordered a better-quality bridge so I tried sanding the bridge feet myself, what a pig’s ear I made of that! Fortunately, there is a fine luthier only 30 minutes away near Llanberis by the name of Nial Cain so I booked a slot. He has a beautiful little workshop in an old barn up in the heart of the slate quarries. Nial (pronounced Neal) looked the beast over, as well as fitting and shaping a new bridge the nut required shaving down and some improvements required to the sting grooves. Nial applied wood hardener to both the nut and the bridge. He gave it a general set up and upon picking it up said that I’d managed to get a reasonable bass. 


So now it’s down to me to learn to play the thing! To be fair I can pretty much muddle by already as I know the notes, scales etc. it’s getting to grips with double and triple slaps that is really the art. I’ll keep you posted!

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