fretless intonation.... drawing the line!?

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


  1. SteveCS

    SteveCS

    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    I don't know wether to feel busted or vindicated. I'll settle for a bit of each! Indeed, i don't play in an orchestra, but, and I've never said this before, I'm quite handy with a fretless electric bass.

    My point throughout the thread is that I don't really care what visual cues people choose to use, if you cannot hear what is going on and you don't trust your ears to tell you, then no visual aid is going to help. Ears have right of way.

    And, incidentally, my daughter is an accomplished cellist, both in orchestra and ss a soloist. So ive spent time listening to youth viola - man did you state that right...
     
  2. thmsjordan

    thmsjordan

    Jan 10, 2010
    Eschew Obfuscation
    Consider it vindication and some teasing humor thrown in. I only mean the best for everyone in here and love to have a good laugh too. I am in total agreement with your statement that if you can't hear what you need to hear, then all is lost. Total agreement. Consider the rest some good natured kidding from someone I hope you consider to be a new friend! I occasionally make it to London, next time I am in I will see if you are playing anywhere. I'll buy you a pint to make up for the teasing.

    All the best to you sir! Tell your daughter to get back to practicing.
     
    Fredrik E. Nilsen and SteveCS like this.
  3. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    Completely absurd thread. A newbie fret less player posts a perfectly reasonable Q; and what they mainly get is that he doesn’t any visual marks at all. For shame.

    You are all such superlative awesome better than everybody players that you surely know it all. Looking forward to hearing all of you awesome players on a completely blacked out stage playing the head to Billies Bounce with perfectly flawless intonation at 200 bpm. Blindfolded. I’m SURE you can do it.

    What a freaking joke.

    It’s one thing to participate in a size measuring contest; but to get so carried away that you mislead people is shameful.

    Sure, you have to have excellent pitch and use your ears. You also have to understand the instrument. Visual marks are useful and do not make the player any less musical. Pay attention to the music and stop proclaiming how large yours is. Please.
     
    Lackey and Fredrik E. Nilsen like this.
  4. SteveCS

    SteveCS

    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    Not absurd, really. Markers are fine, and useful if not essential, but the ear is more important.

    I do play in the dark from time to time - it's amazing what you can hear when deprived of sight...

    I don't hear anyone laughing...

    So once more, for the record. If you want to play a fretless instrument in tune, get singing lessons...
     
    Papageno and Matthew_84 like this.
  5. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    Great. Please shoot me that YT link where you are playing Billies Bounce blindfolded with flawless intonation. That would be most impressive.
     
    Fredrik E. Nilsen likes this.
  6. thmsjordan

    thmsjordan

    Jan 10, 2010
    Eschew Obfuscation
    Why 200? Parker made it sound really pretty at 162 bpm. Not sure why everyone feels like they need to play these things so fast. Billies bounce is a pretty tune, and not at all hard to play at 200 in the original key of F. Ever heard the original bucephylus?

    I love Billie's bounce. Nice Blues riff.

    Not sure why this thread upsets you so but you can always change the channel. There are a lot of ideas on here, some of us are just sharing experiences.

    But I like your idea - lets all play along!! I don't have a recording of this at 200 - so sorry!

    By the way - if you ever run into a drummer, Ron Amistati in Tuscon, tell him Tom, bassist from PA sends his best - wonderful guy & a good drummer as I recall.

     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2018
    Brad Johnson likes this.
  7. thmsjordan

    thmsjordan

    Jan 10, 2010
    Eschew Obfuscation
    +1000 No better ear training than sight singing. Solfeggio is still a rite of passage at every major Musical conservatory, and one of the best kinds of ear training a person can put themselves through. I HATED IT!!!
     
    Atshen and SteveCS like this.
  8. 1501557028101.png
     
    bucephylus likes this.
  9. ficelles

    ficelles

    Feb 28, 2010
    Devon, England
    Strangely enough I had a gig recently where I was playing 5 string fretless, my amp decided to croak, the monitors were so freakin’ loud the onstage volume was like being in the mosh pit at a Rammstein gig so all I could hear was the sonic equivalent of a mashed potato, and the lighting guy decided for the most dramatic effect the default stage illumination should be like a black hole, at night, with the curtains drawn. I won’t even listen to the recordings.
     
  10. thmsjordan

    thmsjordan

    Jan 10, 2010
    Eschew Obfuscation
    YIKES!!!
     
  11. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    I admit to being ever so slightly sarcastic. Thanks for the correction on the bpm.

    What upset me? In reality, nothing much upsets me.

    But, a couple of things here on TB are mildly obnoxious. First the never ending sophomoric dick measuring by fretless players on TB to show that they have better intonation than anyone else, with no recordings to back up the claims. Second, using said claims to falsely encourage newer players to head off in an unwise direction.

    The combo of arrogance and ignorance gets rather tiresome. But, you are probably correct that I should say nothing and just tune to another station. If it weren't for the negative influence on new players, I would just leave it alone.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2018
  12. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    No, I was born yesterday. Never heard of it.

    I look forward to hearing your rendition of the head for that tune on fretless blindfolded. Since it is so easy. Please entertain us.
     
  13. ficelles

    ficelles

    Feb 28, 2010
    Devon, England
    If anyone really feels like listening to my fretless playing, pleas check out Visions by The Emerald Dawn. All fretless, although I might have glanced at the side dots occasionally.
     
  14. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    Where’s the link? I’ll check it out. Probably sounds great.

    Of course you glance at the side dots for reference. What else are you supposed to use, the Force?

    And the thing is that you have some experience. The thing I went off on is that the OP is an INEXPERIENCED fretless player. And we have people posting that they shouldn’t look at any marks on the fingerboard ever and just use their ears?!?!? That’s like telling a person learning to drive a car to use the Force instead of looking in the rear view mirror when they are backing up. It’s ridiculous.

    I could care less what kind of visual marks a player wants to use. If you think lines make you less of “a man,” then use the side dots. By all means. But, telling a learning player NOt to use visual references at all is mean spirited.
     
    Atshen likes this.
  15. SteveCS

    SteveCS

    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    You really need to lighten up and read the whole thread in context. The OP is starting on a journey, and whilst some people offered advice on what tuner to use and what type of pencil to draw lines on with, some of us also offered a glimpse into the future, what the destination of that journey might look like and what the priorities might be in order to get there. Anyone can put their finger on a line but you still need a way to know if you are in tune. An inline tuner might help, but will not train your ears.
    If the OP only follows visual aids he will never get off the starting blocks...

    You know, a while back I posted a picture to help someone use the lines on a fretless bass, you know, roughly how to position your finger over the line to get reasonably close to pitch. I added the caveat that your ears are the ultimate arbiter, just like here. Then, because the image did not look like what others saw on their basses people started saying that the image looked like pitch would be flat. It was a static image with no audio - how the hell did they reach that conclusion?
     
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  16. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    Look; I completely agree that playing musically with a sense of pitch is ultimately a function of using your ears and the senses nature gives each player.

    But, in the beginning, there are mechanics to deal with as well, which will later become more automatic.

    Now, that said, there are also a whole host of major issues that have huge variation from player to player. Some players on the fretless bass guitar are so stuck on the mechanics learned with frets, that they want to finger a fretless board with lines in between the fret lines, as they did on the fretted instrument. Which makes no sense to me at all; but a LOT of players are so oriented.

    There is no constant, except what goes to tape. Each player has to figure out a system that works for them. But, here’s the thing. There aren’t any physical landmarks on the bass guitar, such as found on the upright. So, you have to have some kind of visual reference. If not lines, then side dots. Otherwise, large position shifts at rapid tempo are most likely guess work. So, telling a new player to simply use their ears is a poor idea; because by the time the ears register rightly or wrongly, the line has moved on. It isn’t one or the other; both parts are required. Arguing one vs the other makes no sense.
     
  17. mmon77

    mmon77 Supporting Member

    Jul 9, 2008
    Southern MN
    I am fairly new to fretless. I didn't need lines. I simply offered my experience as an example, even with the caveat that everyone learns differently. My point is to at least try not to get to hung up on the visual cues. You may not need them as much as you think. If you do, that's fine, then use them.

    I'm not using the lined vs unlined argument as some sort of a male anatomy measuring contest. Chill out.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2018
    reddog, Matthew_84 and SteveCS like this.
  18. SteveCS

    SteveCS

    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    If youve changed channels then I guess you won't read this, but yes and likewise to the first part. As for your bass playing - res ipsa loquitur...
     
    reddog and thmsjordan like this.
  19. bench

    bench

    Dec 28, 2007
    Germany
    to come back to the op question: whatever you decide to do, please take the following into consideration.

    if you use lines there will only be one position on your neck where the correct pitch will be exactly on the line. for example, if you set the intonation so that the 12th "fret" is exactly on the line, you will have to play more and more in front of the lines the further you go to the lower positions and more behind the lines the further you go up the neck. so don't make the mistake to try to place your fretting fingers directly on the lines all the time... you'll still have to listen and find the correct positions, lines or not.

    same is true for the different fingers. you'll probably find that fretting a note with the index vs the pinky will need slightly different positions

    have fun, bench
     
    reddog and Matthew_84 like this.
  20. This is ultimately why I went to unlined. I, personally, couldn’t tell my brain to avoid the lines or to fret above them in the lower positions (for example). I also seemed to go right for the line and adjust. I also didn’t have much fretless confidence and pretty much had to stare at my hands/lines.

    I decided that for me, unlined was better, and it felt that way almost immediately. I felt free and learned to hit the note more accurately from the get-go.

    Now, had I stuck with an unlined and built enough confidence to not rely on the lines, maybe it would have been the same, but unlined with side dots was just easier for me.
     
    reddog 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 25, 2021

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