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Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Hank Rearden, May 27, 2011.

  1. Hank Rearden

    Hank Rearden

    May 24, 2011
    I have been playing the bass guitar for about ten years, but have never ventured into fretless territory. I am fixing to get a fretless fender jazz and want to hear from you guys advice the difference on technique. Spare me the patronizing obvious ******** too please.
  2. xjeremiahx


    Apr 19, 2009
    Chicago, IL
    No longer a slave to GC.
    IME - it's all about your ear, how well you can tell when you're right on pitch, or really close. Knowing where your hand would normally fall on certain notes helps a lot, but konwing it when you hear it is real useful, espeically in a band setting.

    it's all practice though, the more you do it, the better you'll get.
  3. Hank Rearden

    Hank Rearden

    May 24, 2011
    That's more like it. Thoughtful posts, guys like the one directly above.

    Yeah, I've been listening to "frances the mute" a bunch lately for inspiration, and the fender fretless precision playing on that record is erection-enducing.
  4. xjeremiahx


    Apr 19, 2009
    Chicago, IL
    No longer a slave to GC.
    Well, if you're looknig for technique advice, you may want to post in the TECHNIQUE forum...
  5. Hank Rearden

    Hank Rearden

    May 24, 2011
    lol... good call
  6. Antny


    Jan 30, 2011
    New York
    My advice: take lessons for fretless playing. It's worth it, in spades.
  7. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    and practice quite a bit...and be humble.
  8. Use open strings as often as you can. You know that those notes will be in tune and you'll be able to use them as a point of reference.
  9. Hank Rearden

    Hank Rearden

    May 24, 2011
    lol... how much more difficult is it?
  10. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Commercial User

    Jul 28, 2006
    LA California
    The Brains: FretNation.com
    Just use your ear...

    Getting a fretless fender jazz it most likely will have a lined fingerboard... if so, just play directly on the line.

    Take some time at first to find where you need to play notes and what it feels / sounds like when they are in tune.

    You will find there are some things that are just easier on a fretless, you no longer will have to worry about or deal with fret noise for example.

    Good luck!
  11. I just got a new fretless two weeks ago and have been playing it exclusively since then. I've found the main difference to be a very good thing - I have to be much more precise and use my ears more. On fretted bass, I tend to just "go for it" a lot. On fretless, that can be an intonation disaster. So, I'm paying much closer attention to what I'm playing, and it's forced me to simplify certain things with my band. I love the sound and the feel of the bass, and my fretted basses are starting to feel kind of weird.
    Are you looking at a lined fretless, or unlined?
  12. panamonte


    Dec 12, 2009
    Brighton, UK
    Probably not as difficult as you think it's going to be, but the trick is to practice as much as you can so that you can get your intonation spot on all over the neck.

    Best advice is to avoid all those OTT slides up to notes and wild vibrato and just concentrate on accuracy and tone.
  13. I also started on fretted and branched out to fretless later on. The major change in technique I had to implement was to fret at the fret lines. This was a marked change from playing fretted where the frets saved me from sloppy fretting. One thing though is that when I went back to fretted after going fretless for a while, I noticed that my fretting "cleaned up". I guess this was due to fretless playing being more precise. Of course, all that I've said is premised on "fretless" being "lined fretless". If your concept of fretless is unlined, I'm with Jerry as far as letting your ears do the playing. I guess a good source for tips would be double bass players. Regardless, your ears play a major role in fretless playing. One thing for sure, you'll pick-up a lot of fretting hand techniques along the way to make the bass produce a wide palette of sounds you wouldn't be able to do on a fretted bass, most of which is through trial-and-error/experimentation.

    Stepping aside, I'm of the opinion that my playing would have been better if I had started off playing bass on the fretless/lined fretless foot rather than on the fretted foot.
  14. Neon Scribe

    Neon Scribe Supporting Member

    I too am a recent fretless convert. I went with a lined fingerboard. At first I could not look away from the fingerboard but it does get easier. I like to keep an easy-to-read tuner in my line of sight while practicing. It really helps me figure out the exact finger position. I find that the in-tune fretless finger position is pretty close to the place that results in the best fretted sound also, which is almost right on top of the line (or fret). Don't go too overboard with the slides, but just slip a few in tastefully. I think it is actually easier to get a pleasing tone on the fretless. No fret buzz or clank!
  15. Aussie Player

    Aussie Player

    Apr 20, 2011
    There was a band in the 80's called "The Firm". Cd's are still available and they made 2.

    Buy both, as they are all fretless Fender at its best.
  16. RickC

    RickC Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 9, 2005
    here's something worked for me when I was trying to start on fretless. It may seem a bit obvious, but try playing simpler lines. I found I got into trouble with intonation when I tried to play "normally". Simplifying my approach helped me focus on getting the notes and lines I *was* playing right. I think it's a good way to create a solid foundation of playing with good intonation that you can build on later. And simplifying your lines almost always ends up being a good thing on bass anyway

  17. It might not be at all... then again it could be the hardest thing in the world. That all depends on you and how you play. Plenty of folks never touch a fretless. Me, I had to have one the minute I tried it. For me, it felt no different than fretted just a little more finger wigglin'.
  18. Antny


    Jan 30, 2011
    New York
    I found that it requires me to be much more precise than on a fretted bass. More difficult? No. But it requires a much more precise technique. Frets can hide some sloppiness. Not so on a fretless......you'll either be sharp or flat. :bassist:
  19. iriegnome

    iriegnome Bassstar style Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2001
    Kenosha, WI 53140
    I play no different on Fretless than I do on fretted! There is a lot of difference in your "fretting" hand though. I don't play any different, but I am way more adventurous and roaming with my left hand when I play fretless. At the same time, you need to be extremely aware of where you place your fingers because it is SO easy to be off! Practice Practice Practice!
  20. chadds


    Mar 18, 2000
    Get lined for your eyes. As you play and practice let yourself go into the music and you will play easily where you need to be. Becomes like riding a bike. You have ten years of muscle memory of where these notes are. Think too much, it becomes a mental exercise where you are always late. Let go, and you'll initially be 85% good.

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