1st Time Gigging with A Fretless - Little Nervous

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by StyleOverShow, Jun 21, 2008.

  1. StyleOverShow

    StyleOverShow Still Playing After All These Years Supporting Member

    May 3, 2008
    Gigging tomorrow in a pedestrian Mall by the Ocean tomorrow and I'm taking my fretless for the first time. Have had it for about a month, but it was unavailable for half of that time (Shop/travel).

    Will have my trusty MM Sterling but the frets feel like speed bumps now(but nothing else growls like it).

    Have worked on holding 'pitch' enough where I feel I can perform with the fretless but still a little nervous about it.

    Any tips?
  2. Bassman822


    Sep 1, 2007
    Bessemer, AL
    A trick some fretless and upright players use is use an open note whenever you can
  3. Matt R.

    Matt R. Supporting Member

    Jul 18, 2007
    Huntsville AL
    Don't think about it so much. Just make sure you can hear the whole stage mix well and you'll be fine. Look at it this way: "It's just like a fretted bass, but without frets" :D:bassist::smug:
  4. Play blindfolded(or w/your eyes closed, or in a dark room)to CDs or some other recorded music. Be sure the recorded stuff is in tune.

    Edit: Do this a few times well before your gig...
  5. hiredoutlaw


    Jun 20, 2008
    Not to bust your chops, but that would be pretty damn funny if you lost your rhythm and ruined the gig. <_<;

    Ok, that was mean. Good luck is what I meant to say. :smug:
  6. Kyon`


    Aug 17, 2007
    Boston, MA
    Hey this is your chance to add some spice, if you hit the wrong pitch just do a little slide or bend :p.
  7. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Fusion Cats Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones
    I just did my first gig with the fretless (at least the first one in 20 years...) a week ago.
    I can definitely relate to the nervous part.
    It went well, and wound up being a lot of fun.
    Have fun, and play well.
  8. StyleOverShow

    StyleOverShow Still Playing After All These Years Supporting Member

    May 3, 2008
    Thanks all, it went well:hyper: Even used it on a few more tunes that I had planned.
    Love that unique sound and it solos well with the sliding pitches.:bassist:
  9. Hehe, I can relate to this...

    My first fretless was also my first 5-string...
  10. Spoek


    Feb 11, 2007
    Fretless sounds awesome and I very seldom see people playing them. If its your first gig theres bound to be the odd note ever so slightly off but you can adjust it quickly and people probably won't notice anyway-they'll be to busy going 'Wow dude,like whats that weird bass about and stuff...it sounds like Mwah and stuff'...
  11. Hey, good luck to you. I played a fretless on one gig & probably never will again. My intonation was AWFUL!

    The best way to learn is to become as used to the fretless as you are with the fretted. There are a lot of distractions while playing live that aren't present in your living room (pretty women in the audience, drinks, sound mix, etc.), which IMO can add to less than stellar technique, which translates to poor pitch.

    You should get better the more & more you play it live.

  12. Have some light shining on your fingerboard. Don't be too proud to look. After a couple dozen gigs, you'll settle in.
  13. ghiadub


    Jan 17, 2006
    Auburn, CA
    Make sure you can hear yourself extra well. Also make sure you can hear the keys or some other chord insturment well so you can adjust your pitch as needed.
  14. chris.gotfunk


    Mar 21, 2007
    Ashburn, Va
    To go off of what my low end brother stated. I just did a gig this weekend with my fretless. It has no lines and I just key off the dots....duh...right? I am pretty comfortable on a fretless, but I need to see the board at least. Well, come time to play.......I have no light at all!!! I cannot even see the dots. So, I decide to move upstage as close to the light as possible. Luckily, I really only remember one kind of off note. Nothing that a little vibrato didn't fix though.
    Someone also mentioned above about using open strings.....yes....yes.....yes.....use them!!! Yes, you lose a little of the growl/mwah but you are in tune!!! Then you can use that open string to find the 5th fret or 7th in dropped D.
    Good luck!!!! Fretless done right sounds amazing!!!!!
  15. coldsalmon


    Mar 8, 2006
    New York, NY
    As my upright teachers have said, "playing in tune is just correcting your pitch before anyone notices." You'll never be able to play perfectly in tune, but if you use your ears rather than relying on just your fingers and your eyes, you'll be able to correct your pitch immediately.
  16. stopped notes normally sound better, especially on URB. i've been taught to try and stop notes wherever possible and only use open notes when necessary (mostly as a device for covering BIG shifts and such). it's much tougher in the beginning but the time in the shed pays off in the long run with better tone

    what may help is using some vibrato. it's not actually supposed to be used to cover shaky intonation, but does have the attractive side effect of doing so. you can also try playing up the mwah type tone and sliding (small slides 1-2 "frets") into notes you're not comfortable with.
  17. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Inactive Commercial User

    Jul 28, 2006
    LA California
    The Brains: FretNation.com
    turn down no one will notice ;)