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Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by reddog, Jul 2, 2018.
I play fretless because of "Mwah"
Not to purposely play out of tune.
Interesting. I learned fretless before the internet by reading about double bass technique and cello. I discovered that positioning my thumb in certain spots and using my fingers correctly that I can place my fingers almost exactly where the frets should be by holding my fingers naturally.
When I learned cello later, I already had much of the technique from playing fretless. Left hand technique and listening close for the F you WANT to play, plus practice, made the difference for me. I switch from fret to lines to smooth board fairly effortlessly because my hand does all the work.
Ps: I thought I'd add this....it took me a while to play fretless well enough to take it into the band and longer to not stare at the side dots during a gig. Keep playing it, fooling with it, improvising on it and checking your tone and technique.
All of the above, and all of the advice you've got here, create gung fu ... excellence through time and practice.
throw on some lines or dots with pencil. unless you're sliding into every single note you play you'll need some visual cue to grab those notes (especially higher ones) out of nowhere with any sort of accuracy.
your ear is the ultimate arbiter but you have eyes, too, so you ought to give them a runout sometimes, too. jaco had lines and, on upright, edgar's got dots.
I also learned fretless bass before learning cello... taught myself fretless bass by buying one (unlined Fender Precision) then playing along with the music I liked which at the time was Brand X (Percy Jones) and Joni Mitchell (Jaco Pastorius). I've only ever had unlined basses except one brief period with a lined Jazz which I didn't take to. I've also never been able to completely stop looking at my left hand even though I don't really need to. I learned cello later on like @Old Blastard, and had classical lessons which means reading what you play from sheet music so looking at your left hand is not an option. Of course you just do it and mostly play in tune, but you need a good ear so you know when your intonation is in. If you can hear when you're in tune, then practice will get you the muscle memory after enough time.
Tape all the fret postitions. Remove them when you find you don't need them. Get your eyes off the instrument. Use your ears.
I have a Pedulla fretless with lines so I were always looking at them. That way you can play using the same technique as on fretted bass (4 fingers left hand, long leaps across the fretboard), only must be a bit more careful with finger placement, which can be learned fairly soon.
This worked for me for a few years, until I needed to play from a sheet, making looking at the lines impossible. I didn't have a problem with fingering, but had quite a problem with precise transfers of positions. Nowadays I think that the muscle memory cannot be really precisely learned for long jumps (like fret 2 to fret 14) on a bassguitar. At least for me.
Instead, I started to use double bass fingering (3 fingers left hand) much more. This makes you run around the fretboard much more, but the leaps are smaller, following each other, and way much easier to learn. This goes hand in hand with the technique of sliding into the right tuning, getting your ears much more involved.
If I were to buy a new fretless, I'd buy with no lines, so it would force me to use my ears, where lines would tempt me to use my eyes.
Brb, practice time. First unlined fretless.
Install temporary side dots as reference points as others have suggested. Not every half step (fret).
Use open strings as a pitch reference rather than
a tuner. Match the 7th “fret” note with it’s corresponding string. I.e. E on The A string to the open E; A on the D string to the open A string.
Then move on to intervals: 5 ths and 3rds are usually easy to hear.
Can you play a major scale on your fretted instrument? Then do it on your fretless while listening but not looking at your left hand.
Proper fingering and positioning is important-
If this is not part of your current technique,
It might be time for a teacher.
If you really want some temporary guides, you can find very thin (1/8") painters' tape in craft stores. Only a few bucks, and easy to take off the training wheels.
Having to play from sheet music actually helped me alot too. It forced me to rely less on eyes and ears. Especially since I’m a lousy sightreader
Entered the fretless world about 3 weeks ago. 2 Cents:
*Proper fundamentals will take you farther AND quicker than forcing it by attempting to play music you are already familiar with. Posture, fretting hand/finger placement, and SLOWING down to almost continental drift speed. If your technique is sloppy, the fretless WILL allow you to embarrass yourself in private.
*Practice intonating by playing "against" an open string. Play an open E and then find it on the A string, D string, and G etc.
*If playing an unlined, play "on the dot." If you intonate on the E string at the first dot at the dot, that IS the G and so on. If playing a lined fretless, play ON the line as if the fret was there. At least with my fretless, there is only about 2mm of "forgiveness." I would presume with a higher quality instrument, the "forgiveness" is about 1mm.
*Practice simple scales and arpeggios...SLOWLY.
*NEVER practice your fretless without TUNING it FIRST. If it is out, you are out.
*After a bit it becomes almost second nature. However, IMO every single time my intonation was/is out it is almost ALWAYS my improper fretting hand/finger placement. Stop, take a deep breath and then begin again.
*I learned that the more proper and accurate I am on fretless, the BETTER my tone/sound is on my fretted bass; no sh*t. Silky smooth, and quicker.
*I do not use an in-line tuner to practice/play with my fretless. You WILL know you're "out" when your ears tell you.
Just my personal observations and experience(s). Slow is smooth, and smooth is quick. Be quick.
Painters tape works but easily comes off. Tape for car detailing will hold up longer and can easily be removed...but as I mentioned in a earlier post and others have also said, side dots are really the way to go...
I'm in the technique is of most importance camp.
If you play fretted with you're left hand fingers right behind the fret and are good enough at it, that it comes natural and is something you always do without thinking you'll be a-ok on a fretless.
Another thing I just thought of, What scale is that Wishbass? it will make things easier if it's the same as what you're used too with your other basses.
You don't even need side dots. String players have been doing it for centuries.
learn about the neck positions and practice. I don't think it's a good idea to go from fretted to fret-less, since you aren't putting your digits in the proper spot for fret-less.
postitions on cello and double bass - Google Search
Sorry if this has been mentionned (didn't read the gazillion replies), but one important thing is to practice in the same position than you're going to perform. I mean, if you're going to play standing, then you should practice standing. And leave you strap always at the same length.
If you change your bass' height or angle because you've been practing while sitting, then all the muscle memory you've acquired will go out the window.
I find that true for newbies. I find it totally untrue once you get some decent experience under your belt.
If you can clearly hear the note in your head before you actually strike it, chances are you'll hit it right, or within a whisper of it. If you don't have that note in your head first, you don't stand a chance
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