fretless intonation.... drawing the line!?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by reddog, Jul 2, 2018.


  1. micguy

    micguy

    May 17, 2011
    Me too - I play fretless for the mwah. The intonation issues come along free of charge.
     
    reddog likes this.
  2. john m

    john m Supporting Member

    Jan 15, 2006
    You must be thinking of the last elementary school orchestra I heard not the Boston Pops.
    Even the violins and cellos were in tune with the violas.
     
    reddog likes this.
  3. john m

    john m Supporting Member

    Jan 15, 2006
  4. Great post and insight. This is the first post that I felt the need to Bookmark.
     
    SteveCS and reddog like this.
  5. xnewyorka

    xnewyorka Owner, John Fox Bass Inactive Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 26, 2006
    NYC Area
    Dealer for Adamovic, Alleva-Coppolo, Bergantino, Dingwall, Richter, Skjold
    I started on URB then went to unlined fretless when I started on electric, so my perspective maybe a little jaded, but I would suggest that you practice with your eyes closed as much as possible. This will teach you to rely on your ear heavily, and that will greatly accelerate the training of muscle memory, which is all that is needed to make it work.

    Once you have spent enough hours playing, you will be playing a fretless exactly as if it were fretted without even giving it a second thought. There is literally no substitute for putting in the hours. But they have to be quality hours, where you are really listening and paying attention. If you have some way to hold a continuous chord and play scales and solos over it, that will help a lot. Depending on what you feel might be more useful in the long run, you could look at either a EHX Freeze pedal or a TCE Ditto pedal for that.

    If you feel you absolutely need a tuner inline to see how you are doing, you need one that responds very fast. I don't know of one that responds any faster than the Sonic Research ST-300.
     
  6. Whippet

    Whippet

    Aug 30, 2014
    some of you guys amaze me. I can't even play fretted with my eyes closed or the lights turned down. Never mind closing my eyes. LOL
     
    gebass6 and reddog like this.
  7. When I started fretless, my ears were terrible. Using an inline tuner was nice to hear what in-tune should sound like until my ears were able to hear it on their own.

    As soon as I reached that point though, I put the tuner in the drawer.

    It was nice to bring it to a few jam sessions/gigs, just in case you can’t hear yourself too well. It’s also helpful if someone else’s guitar is out of tune and it confirms whether it’s you or them... You should obviously adjust to be in tune with the out of tune instrument (if they can’t/won’t retune) but it’s good for your confidence.
     
    reddog likes this.
  8. xnewyorka

    xnewyorka Owner, John Fox Bass Inactive Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 26, 2006
    NYC Area
    Dealer for Adamovic, Alleva-Coppolo, Bergantino, Dingwall, Richter, Skjold
    As I said in the earlier post, I'd recommend a Sonic Research ST-300. But I want to also suggest a training technique for using an inline tuner for fretless intonation. Play a passage with eyes closed and stop on a random note and ask yourself whether the note is sharp or flat or in tune. Then open your eyes and look at the tuner to see how you did.
     
    reddog likes this.
  9. xnewyorka

    xnewyorka Owner, John Fox Bass Inactive Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 26, 2006
    NYC Area
    Dealer for Adamovic, Alleva-Coppolo, Bergantino, Dingwall, Richter, Skjold
    You know why that is? It's because you haven't tried it! Do yourself a favor, be patient with yourself and give it a try. You may be pleasantly surprised at the results.
     
    reddog, mmon77 and Whippet like this.
  10. Atshen

    Atshen

    Mar 13, 2003
    Grim Cold Québec
    Yes, but we're talking about learning to play fretless in tune. :) Even for experienced players, I wouldn't recommend learning technically challenging songs while sitting if you're going to perform them standing.
     
    reddog likes this.
  11. Whippet

    Whippet

    Aug 30, 2014
    I just tried and surprisingly, it feels natural! All these years of boring exercise on the work book is paying off! Seems like my muscles are smarter than my brain.

    Obviously as I play faster, it gets much harder but I think I am getting a hang of it!

    Thanks for the advice! Much appreciated.
     
    SteveCS, reddog, JimmyM and 1 other person like this.
  12. nilorius

    nilorius Inactive

    Oct 27, 2016
    Riga - Latvia
    When you start learning fretless - try to playmuch more with a look on frets, later you just would't need that so much or even - none.
     
    reddog likes this.
  13. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    I tried turning the lights out once, tripped and busted my ass something fierce. I will never do it again. Eyes closed or (preferably) not looking at your neck with your eyes open is much safer.
     
    thmsjordan and Whippet like this.
  14. xnewyorka

    xnewyorka Owner, John Fox Bass Inactive Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 26, 2006
    NYC Area
    Dealer for Adamovic, Alleva-Coppolo, Bergantino, Dingwall, Richter, Skjold
    Sorry you busted your butt. I didn't suggest walking while playing. I think you need to dig up your old lesson books and look up the definition of a Walking Bassline again!
     
    SteveCS, Mushroo and JimmyM like this.
  15. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    HA! Well unless it's right next to you or you have a Clapper installed on your light switch, easier said than done.
     
  16. xnewyorka

    xnewyorka Owner, John Fox Bass Inactive Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 26, 2006
    NYC Area
    Dealer for Adamovic, Alleva-Coppolo, Bergantino, Dingwall, Richter, Skjold
    Clappers are so 80s. I use these in every room of my house except bedrooms and master bath:

    Lutron Maestro 2 Amp Motion Sensor Switch, , Single-Pole, White-MS-OPS2H-WH - The Home Depot

    My wife ridiculed and criticized me when I bought them, then after I put them in, she asked how we ever lived without them. In fact, I never even gave it a second thought, but I do have one in my music room where I practice, and I do very often practice while sitting or standing in complete darkness, and the light turns on by itself as soon as I move. Can't beat it.
     
  17. thmsjordan

    thmsjordan

    Jan 10, 2010
    Eschew Obfuscation
    Let me clear up what may be a simple misunderstanding and if I wasn't clear, allow me to apologize. The stuff I was talking about was for the practice room, and not full-time either. You should have the correct technique internalized to the point where nothing more than an occasional glance is necessary once you hit the stage. Acquiring correct technique is for the practice room and these things I mentioned, particularly a mirror were for the practice room, not the stage, so I agree with you there. I did not mean to imply you constantly watch your neck. There are far more important considerations onstage during a performance, watching the leader for cues, making eye contact and smiling with your audience etc. and of course, watching all those pretty girls dance!

    That is my answer to your response. Venture further if you want a some orchestral humor.

    Now, again with respect, you do sound to me like you have never played in a professional orchestra before, which is just fine, but there are some things that gave me a giggle - and I mean in a good way. I like your post and I like what you are saying so, this is not a slam and I am not flaming you, but let me just put a few things out there for the record. Here is how section playing in a doublebass section differs from what you wrote, or at least how it feels:

    1. >>Well firstly, I agree on using a mirror to iron out physical constraints, and with using visual markers when first starting out<< No, the work never ends, it is constant effort until death. <weeping as he chains himself to his doublebass again>
    2. >>Thankfully the string bass is littered with physical landmarks to get you in the ballpark.<< I am gonna half agree with this one. There is the heel of the neck which is a great landmark, and the gradations of neck thickness on the doublebass are more pronounced than electrics, so maybe! But then again get past the octave and abandon all hope ye who wander in thumb position, and shame on any of you for ever thinking anyone wants to listen to a bass solo up there!! <again weeping>
    3. >> In the orchestra, a few cents either way adds to the lush thick chorused sound of the string section. << I am sorry to have to disagree, but in light of all that money I spent studying with really good people I must say no, absolutely NO. So, if there are 2 bass players playing a few cents off, meh, not great but tolerable. 9-11 players and you've got something that sounds like a swarm of angry bees - BIG ONES!! There simply isn't that kind of wiggle room, trust me. That thick chorused sound is actually the sound of well made, well played instruments playing in tune together, the overtones mixing is like a really good drug. Played slightly out of tune together - no. Play a few cents off and you are no longer anonymous. You are "That A--hole" that everyone else in the section has to put up with because no one better was available. (Trust me on that one. I have occasionally been "that A--hole"!) I am going to ask you not to take my word on this playing pitches a few cents apart sounding awful. Instead, go you your local high school orchestra rehearsal and listen closely to the viola section who seem to make it their religion to play a few cents apart from the person next to them. Nuff said. (Yes I am talking about you - freakin Viola players!)
    4. >>you do not have to directly engage with the audience so you can indulge yourself with looking at the fingerboard. << Ok, well yes and no. Yes to not having to directly engage the audience. No to indulging yourself with looking at the fingerboard. (This is when I knew for certain you weren't a professional classical double bass player. Lol. For those of you that are, you know what I am gonna say next, because...) In an orchestral performance, you have two things taking up 99% of your visual real estate. The first is the written part which is full of pencil marks with changes because the conductor is an ARTIST and likes to do it his way. So everything is changed and different from the last ARTIST or orchestra you played it with three months ago, so you gotta watch not only the notes but all the extra dynamic, and stylistic marks in the part, and what they were changed to by ---> ARTIST <---. The second thing is of course the ARTIST or conductor themselves. In classical music (unlike much of pop music, jazz, country etc.) the tempo is changing constantly for expression in the music, and it is frequently different from take to take, rehearsal from performance etc. because, you know, >>ARTIST. So you gotta watch like a hawk man!! Once you are done with those two things there is precious little time for anything else. I guess the takeaway here is: When you hit the bathroom during intermission, please check that you fly is zippered before you go back on stage.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2018
    Papageno, bkbirge and SteveCS like this.
  18. thmsjordan

    thmsjordan

    Jan 10, 2010
    Eschew Obfuscation
    I double as well, and while I think they are different, certainly comparisons can be made. But I think having lines is indeed better. Hell, even the great Edgar Meyer uses dots for position markers on his Doublebass fingerboard and started a bit of a trend. I see more and more players using them on the doublebass. I think once bassists saw someone that good using markers to help with intonation they figured it was OK.
     
    reddog likes this.
  19. thmsjordan

    thmsjordan

    Jan 10, 2010
    Eschew Obfuscation
    Mine keep going on and off when I am listening to anything that has a drum solo!!
     
    reddog likes this.
  20. thmsjordan

    thmsjordan

    Jan 10, 2010
    Eschew Obfuscation
    I had to laugh when I read this. I was trained in the vomit exercise by the great Gary Karr himself. It is aptly named isn't it?
     
    oren likes this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Jul 27, 2021

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