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Are quartertones usefull?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Fret-less Six, Oct 26, 2004.

  1. I was thinking about this today...I primarily play a fretless and I was wondering if there are certain modes, scales, chords etc, that I can use quarter tones with? Does anyone know anything about this?
  2. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    as a fretless 6 player... sure I know of them.

    I call them Clams :p :bassist:

    but yeah, like bends and vibrato... they lend an expresive element
  3. Tim__x


    Aug 13, 2002
    Alberta, Canada
    According to This thread in DB, you can play Gypsy music.
  4. I think Arabic music uses lots of quarter-tones. Can someone confirm this?
  5. I remember reading something about "between" notes in eastern music.

    At first I thought you were asking about quarter notes....
  6. as far as i understand it, microtones are only really used in western music in pretty avant garde classical- they don't correspond with our normal scales. however, as the ombudsman says, arabic and indian music use 'em, but in a different theoretical framework.
    i say go for it though, and let us know if you come up with anything!
  7. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    You could always do a cover of :

    "These Boots are made for Walking"

  8. *zoooom*
    (sound of that joke going straight over my head)
  9. ...at least I got Bruce's joke... :D

    Eastern music uses a 24 note system,as we on the west side of the Atlantic use a 12 note system...thus why eastern music sounds out-of-tune to our ears.Many moden day guitar players use quarter tones in solos-like Hendrix-but mainly for effect...the only scale I have heard of,that would be a good start,is the chromatic scale-24 notes between each octave.That may be the best way to get your ears in tune to it...but don't be suprised if people listening don't quite get it...
  10. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    You can do some weird eastern kind of music using weird half-tones, even. Try these: H-m3rd-H-W-H-m3rd-H, or H-m3rd-W-W-H-m3rd-H

    (H is half tone, m3rd is a minor third, and W is a whole tone).

    I try to avoid microtones, personally. To most people, including other fretless bassers, they just sound like bum notes.
  11. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Me, too.
  12. Govithoy, my bass teacher taught be that scale last year. It's very cool sounding.
  13. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Anyone who listens to that song (the original radio hit), and still doesn't get it, should stay away from a fretless!

    I often give a little intentional 'stretch' to minor thirds and fourths - I don't know if it's a Q-tone, but at those times it sounds more 'in-tune' to me sharpened a bit. Make any sense theory-wise?

  14. elros


    Apr 24, 2004
    Proprietor, Helland Musikk Teknologi
    I seem to remember hearing a horn player (probably Miles Davis) using quarter tones in some jazz tune... it sounded wonderful! It was like "Wow that was beautiful! What tone was that?!?"
  15. Elliott


    Mar 20, 2000
    Try this: Hit a harmonic (the octave for instance) and then, on another string, play the same note, but a quarter tone (or less) sharp or flat - If the two notes are balanced, you can get a beating sound sound that is pretty cool, especially if you slooowly bring the two notes into unison. Great resolution. On a fretted bass, just pull the fretted note slightly to get the effect.

    On the fretless, if you have long fingers or a short neck, play a note (say, F# way up on the G string) with your index finger and play the same note on the D string with your pinky. Pluck both strings together - make one a little out of tune (not quite a quarter tone) and it sounds like a chorus or flanger. Move you whole hand up and down the neck and you look just plain weird, but the sound is unique.
  16. mattmcnewf


    May 27, 2004
    should't it soound pretty bad no matter how use to it u get.
  17. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    So who here is going to be first to order a custom bass with quarter note fret spacing? - yeah, the 48-fret model.

  18. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I've seen the horn player/composer : Gilad Atzmon, do this kind of thing. So - he included a female Palestinian singer in his extended Jazz group and he explained how the traditional Palestinian singing does include microtones. So, at one point he was playing soprano sax and duetting with her - she would sing a traditional microtonal song and then he would improvise a sax line based around that. :)
  19. Ozzyman


    Jul 21, 2004
    hmmm... that actually sounds like a good idea. Maybe only for Jazz or funk tho.
    You would never NEED to use those frets but you've got them :D
  20. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    I think you'd have to run the action pretty high though, wouldn't you? The frets would be so close together that the plucked string would always want to buzz against the fret that's just above the one that's fretted, right?