Going Back to Frets
I would imagine this has been discussed around here before. If so, could someone please show me the thread? If not, here we go.... I played electric in high school and college and then switched to upright about 20 years ago. I have some electric bass gigs coming up. I've been getting reacquainted with bass guitar on a fretless. The gigs will require some fretted work so I plugged in my 73 Jazz yesterday and I'm finding it difficult to go back to frets. The metal string hits the metal fret and it feels and sounds awful to me. I could through tapewounds on but not sure I'll get the sound I need. Any thoughts? Thanks. Boom
For me personally, these are what cause most of my "unwanted" noises playing a fretted
Left hand: stay just to the nut side of the fret, holding string just tight enough not to rattle.
Squeeze too tight and get a cramp. boo hiss
Right hand: Use a lighter touch, and let the amp do the work.
This will get you a clean tone, without the string slapping the fretboard or another fret, unless thats what you want.
As for strings, certain rounds like GHS boomers are quieter than say a Stainless steel string.
The optimal for lowest string noise for me would be a Nylon Tapewound. D'addario makes a nice set.
I made the same switch a few years back. I started on fretted electric in 1980, took up DB in 1992 and pretty much discarded fretted bases for a while (and sold my fretted 4001 in 1997). Then I got a FL electric in 1999. It wasn't until about three years ago that I bought a fretted bass. At first, I had the same issue with "fretting out" and such.
The solution is simple: don't think about intonation at all. I know this is counter-intuitive after years of DB playing, but try to look away from your fingers for a while and just finger the notes wherever you want. Once I conquered this hurdle, I found fretted playing to be a breeze compared to what it used to be. Remember, you likely have pretty strong hands and fingers from playing DB, so just fret the notes anywhere you want in between the two frets. Forget about technique for a little while. Soon you will adjust to a nice compromise near the fret but not on it.
And not to worry, I go back and forth between fretted and fretless all the time and playing fretted this way hasn't affected my intonation.
Best o' luck!
I was watching a bit of the Jaco Essential Electric Bass video this evening and was surprised to hear him say that fretted bass was harder to play than fretless because of the fret noise.... He also says he never practices fretless because the strings grind the fingerboard, so he saves the fretless for performance..
I practice mostly with a fretless and have no problem switching to frets.
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