Is fretless OK for a beginner?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Basslanta, Mar 1, 2014.


  1. Basslanta

    Basslanta

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2014
    TLDR:Refer to subj.

    I'm looking at getting my first bass, a fretless italia imola 5 string.

    I had decided to go with the fretless 5 string as I plan on only really jamming around with some jazzy funk riffs.

    I'm trying to decide if it's me justifying wanting a fretless bass, as i like the way they feel in the hand more, but i think it may help me in the long run by starting out on a fretless anyway.

    Just as a little bit of background about myself: I like to think I'm pretty musically inclined, i've played woodwinds my whole life and dabbled with a guitar from time to time. I have a good ear for tone and key, so I'm thinking it wouldn't be diving off the deep end, starting with a fretless board.

    Should i go with my (better?) judgement and grab the fretted version of the same bass?

    A litte more info about the Imola:
    -5 string
    -korina wood, half hollow body with one f hole (based on the ampeg web which i love)
    -fretboard-maple
    -WBBC Wilkinson bass bridge
    -WBJ Wilkinson jazz pickups

    As far as i know before having it, i'm assuming the only thing i will really want to do to it at first is put flatwound strings on it.

    comments/suggestions appreciated!
  2. metalhead398

    metalhead398

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    Have you played any other instruments?

    In any case, you should play whatever you a) can play and b) like. If you can play notes accurately on your (unlined?) fretless, then go ahead and get it; it probably will help you in the long run. Also, go to your local music store(s) and try a fretless. If you find that it's too hard, or you don't like the bass, then keep exploring your options. Also, are you going to take lessons? That will almost definitely make learning much easier.

    Welcome to TB/bass playing!!
  3. Basslanta

    Basslanta

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2014
    Yep, as i said in my post i have a pretty firm grasp of the music theory, just not much experience on string instruments. And yes, i plan on taking lessons as soon as i have had a few days to play around on my own, as to not develop bad habits.
  4. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player

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    Nov 13, 2009
    If gaggles of 4/5-year-olds can start on the unlined/unfretted violin, you can too on a fretless electric bass.

    [​IMG]
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  6. metalhead398

    metalhead398

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    Great! So long as no one says otherwise, I'd go for it.
  7. Troph

    Troph

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    As long as you have a good ear for intonation, you should be fine. I have heard many of those 5 year old kids playing violin, and I have to say, many of them don't... I think they should start on piano. :)
  8. f.c.geil

    f.c.geil I'm your huckleberry... Supporting Member

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    I did, but I came from a background in music, with trombone as my primary instrument. So, I had a great ear for intonation.
  9. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist Supporting Member

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    Yes, and they all have trained teachers.
  10. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player

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    Nov 13, 2009
    But the ones that can stay the course are more often substantially further developed (aurally), than their contemporaries that bang on slabs.

    Piano is TOO big for a 4/5-year-old. Fractional instruments are the solution.

    Nothing wrong with getting a "trained teacher". I would highly recommend that for ANY instrument.
  11. Troph

    Troph

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    Some of the best student ears I have witnessed were actually not even instrumentalists but were voice students. I'm not convinced that choice of instrument matters much beyond its use as a forcing function.
  12. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player

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    Nov 13, 2009
    You are right about singing.

    But the obvious next step would be to apply this skill to a tool.

    A fretless stringed instrument makes a wonderful tool to use ones well-developed aural skills.

    And yes, a LOT of forcing going on with Suzuki (and the like). But it's a business.
  13. Basslanta

    Basslanta

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    Mar 1, 2014
    right on! I appreciate all the help guys, I'm glad i came and posted a thread here!
  14. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Supporting Member

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    Nonsense. I started piano at 5 years old. As have thousands of others for centuries.
  15. f.c.geil

    f.c.geil I'm your huckleberry... Supporting Member

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    I did, too.
  16. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member

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    I waited until the ripe old age of six to start piano. No wonder I never made it to the pro's. ;)

    The way it works is that the beginning repertoire is geared towards small hands.
  17. Mark_70

    Mark_70

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    Excellent point :)
  18. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player

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    Congratulations to you and the other thousands!

    The piano is still TOO big for 4/5-year-old hands.

    "Look Ma, I can stretch an Augmented Second!"

    [​IMG]
  19. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Supporting Member

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    At 5, my hands were able to comfortably reach 5 white keys. Which, coincidentally, was all I needed to learn at the time.
  20. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player

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    You are right about that!

    [​IMG]
  21. Lo-E

    Lo-E

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    Absolutely no reason that I can think of not to start on a fretless. It's not uncommon to stick upright basses in the hands of eighth-graders, after all.

    I, like you, preferred the feel of fretless necks when I started out. I bought my first fretless only six months or so after buying my first fretted bass and I had no experience playing other instruments. It worked out fine for me and you already have a strong musical background. I say go for it!

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