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Does Steve Bailey sound too much out of tune?

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by lefty007, Mar 3, 2008.

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  1. lefty007


    Jan 19, 2004
    Miami, FL
    For the life of me, I can't get into liking Steve Bailey. I love fretless, Jaco, Mark Egan, Manring. . . but Steve Bailey always sounds too out of tune, and he excessibly uses slides/glissando. It's like every phrases ends with a glissando.

    I'm assuming playing an unlined 6-string fretless is near impossible to play in tune, and that Steve constant use of chords and harmonics makes it even more difficult.

    Am I alone?

    I've met Steve and he's the nicest guy, but I can't get to like his playing. . . :meh:

    Note: I understand the nature of fretless bass, and it is impossible to be perfectly in tune - and that is one of the points of playing fretless. But I'm talking about when the player is constantly not in tune.
  2. brake


    Jun 23, 2003
    Nova Scotia, Canada
    Actually, you've got it backwards. It is entirely possible to be perfectly in tune on a fretless bass...but not on a fretted. Go figger.
  3. El-Bob

    El-Bob Supporting Member

    Oct 22, 2006
    Hamilton, ON
    yep, you can intonate perfectly on a fretless, but with frets there's always a compromise.
  4. lefty007


    Jan 19, 2004
    Miami, FL
    Well, you'll know what I meant. :rolleyes:
  5. Groovin


    May 25, 2006
    Wash, D.C.
    Seriously. What kind of comments are these? Completely off topic and ridiculous to boot.

    Obviously the OP meant SB specifically... And I agree with you. It DOES sound like he is out of tune or off color quite a bit IMO. As a fretless (unlined board) player myself, I can completely understand why, esp on a 6'r but c'mon.. thats how he makes his living.
  6. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    i believe SB's intonation is horrid.
  7. fraublugher


    Nov 19, 2004
    ottawa, ontario, canada
    music school retailer
    Steve has one of the best quotes on playing fretlless , don't quote me but it's something like :
    " An in-tune fretless bass is comparable to a mirage ... "

    I play out of tune frequently so , there will be no stones tossed from my direction.:smug:
  8. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    just curious, but would that be an excuse for him?
  9. fraublugher


    Nov 19, 2004
    ottawa, ontario, canada
    music school retailer
    whoa , easy mate , deep breaths ... breathe ....ahhhh
  10. cloren


    Nov 15, 2007
    san francisco
    in-tune, out-a-tune.... whatever, I love the end result. it sounds great to me!

    you can boil it down to this: different strokes for different folks
  11. fraublugher


    Nov 19, 2004
    ottawa, ontario, canada
    music school retailer

    As someone allready said , Steve's a great guy and I'll add
    funny , and probably the first to laugh at himself .

    If you can't laugh at yourself playing fretless...
  12. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    yeah, but jaco, gary willis, etc had/have spot on intonation..

    i'm sure SB is a great guy, but his intonation just sucks LOL

    I know that's why i don't mess with it, i don't have the time to get it perfect..
  13. Blake Bass

    Blake Bass Supporting Member

    Jan 10, 2006
    Montgomery, Texas
    If you can't laugh at yourself playing fretless then play fretted.

    Steve Bailey is a great musician and knows more about bass than I ever will but I can't get into his playing either. For some reason his stuff just doesn't do it for me, in tune or out of tune.
  14. Tired_Thumb

    Tired_Thumb Guest

    Actually, if you think about it, the 3rd in a major 3rd interval has to be slightly flat to play in tune, and the 3rd in a minor 3rd interval has to be slightly sharp, so playing an unlined fretless makes sense in certain ways if you want to play perfectly in tune.

    Anyways, I play 6 string fretless exclusively right now, and no, it's not hard to acceptably intonate with a little practice, even way up on the neck. As for Steve, he plays in tune when he wants to, and as an in demand session bassist, I'm sure he can live up to any producer's expectations. When he's playing his own stuff, he plays however he wants to play, and apparently, he likes playing out of tune. Hey, if Lemmy Kilmister sang in tune, he wouldn't be Lemmy anymore, would he?
  15. Ricky Caboverde

    Ricky Caboverde Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2004
    Miami, FL
    Also, not forgetting to mention, Manring...who by the way plays chords in almost perfect pitch on an unlined fingerboard.:bassist:
  16. Planet Boulder

    Planet Boulder Hey, this is a private residence...man

    Nov 10, 2001
    6,482 feet above sea level
    I once had impure thoughts. Oh, and I pluck my ear hair.
    For anyone looking for a vague point of reference:


    I like Steve's playing. Sure, the glissando can play tricks with the ears, but I've always dug his style.

    Plus, and this probably isn't relevant, I've heard nothing but great things about him as a person. My brother met him down in Myrtle Beach and thought he was super nice.
  17. Hoover

    Hoover Banned

    Nov 2, 2007
    New York City
    I've never heard any of Steve Bailey's recordings (at least none that I knew was Steve, nudge-nudge, wink-wink) and I only heard him perform once, and that wasn't even a concert, it was a clinic. And it was 15 years ago.

    And I thought his intonation sucked.

    Meh, he's got a good agent...
  18. Asaf


    Jun 9, 2003
    I just listened to his latest solo album yesterday, and while I do think he has great technique i have to agree he plays out of tune too much to my ear.
    it's more noticeable on the albums he played his Aria signature (I heard him on a heartfield bass, Warwick and his latest Fender Signature and he sounds less out of tune with them...or maybe it's just me).
  19. Baryonyx

    Baryonyx Banned

    Jul 11, 2005
    Marathon Man
    He does seem to fly into some dodgy areas at time.

    What irks me is his constant overuse (imo) of artificial harmonics. When Jaco used them in Birdland, it was okay, when every line Steve does has them in, it irritates me. He just doesn't seem to be able to coax nice melodies out of his bass.

    I'm sure he's a nice guy though.
  20. simonlittle


    Jan 22, 2008
    West London
    Endorsing Artist: Warwick Basses & Amps
    Steve Bailey is a great player. If you were going to play fretlless bang in tune, you might as well play a fretted bass. Half the colour and richness of the fretless sound comes from the intonation. Eberhard Weber (I knw this is electric upright but the principal is the same) is one of my favourite bass players and his tuning is all over the place, but it's so musical.

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