When playing from sheet music - my eyes being on the sheet music my note fretting seems to drift and be off the correct spot, i.e. right behind the fret and this as you know will produce a "bad" sound. I know this can be correct with scale practice.
Question, will a fretless bass eliminate that problem. I understand if I've drifted I'm off, a little sharp or flat, but with out a fret I do still get a good crisp sound. Is that correct?
If so seems like a fretless should be on my want list. As I'm now playing from sheet music more than in the past. A few words on the advantages and disadvantages of fretless would be appreciated.
As long as the string is stopped (finger on the board) you get the same kind of sound anywhere.... but it might not be in tune!
I play fretless about 99% of the time.. in other words I only play fretted if the music calls for it or the BL asks. All the music I play is written.
You do have to get that hand position and ear working for you. If you have to constantly check your hand position, it makes reading music really difficult.
Fretless has a wonderful sound and freedom to it, but you do have to practice to keep the intonation together. Also, you have to be able to hear yourself on stage... far more critical that with fretted. I've found that in performance its easier to stay intune with larger groups. I'm guessing because with a couple of horns, keyboard and a guitar the pitch center is a little 'wider' that with just piano.
People will make a fuss about 'mwahh' and slides and micro-tones, but all that is really secondary to the attack and tone of the fretless. IMHO it is a very vocal, warm and beautiful sound.
If I understand your question correctly, the answer is "No, a fretless won't eliminate the problem you asking about - it will exacerbate it" (make it worse):
with fretless, proper/exact hand-position is even more crucial than with fretted because, as BassChuck says, you have the additional/all-important issue of intonation.
(I play fretless exclusively, just fyi.)
When reading from a chart, regardless of fretted or fretless, try this:
rather than putting your music stand directly in front of you as most players do, move it 90 degrees or so to your left, facing your left shoulder, just beyond the head of your bass. (Opposite side, of course, if left-handed.)
That way you can keep an eye on your hand position/fingering *and* the chart at the same time.
If you need to watch a conductor/leader as well, try moving the stand about 45 degrees or so in the same direction so you can eyeball the chart, your fingering hand and the conductor...
Thanks, saved me some money, and the angle does work better.
One thing I'd recommend is moving towards playing without looking at your hands.
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