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Fretless left hand technique

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Hachimitsu, Feb 11, 2020.

  1. Hachimitsu


    Jun 6, 2019
    New Zealand
    So here's an example of a line that uses a lot of root > fifth below. In the video I'm playing it two ways. The first time through I'm using one finger to go between the root and the fifth, second time I'm using two fingers (either 2nd and 3rd, or 3rd and 4th depending on the position).

    I'm new to fretless. My priority is to play cleanly, smoothly and relaxed. I feel like using two fingers here allows me to play more legato. Using one finger takes less energy but there is always more of a gap between the two notes.

    I'd like to know what other more experienced players have to say... do I need to build more strength to use two fingers or work on using one finger more smoothly?
  2. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism

    I would play it with two fingers but I wouldn't rule out using a single finger. I don't think one is inherently right but I feel most "pros" would suggest the two-finger method. It gives you a lot more mobility and a cleaner toner in my opinion but, as they say, to each their own.
    SteveCS likes this.
  3. SteveCS


    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    Personally I would tend to play such lines with 2 fingers for the 5th below.
    You will have noticed the difference in feel between the two methods. In that style of line, the mix of shortened detached (not quite staccato) notes and connected legato notes are an important aspect of the groove, and using one finger naturally creates the space. I don't know if its luck or judgement, but your timing of the lifts when using one finger is spot on, and creates a really good feel. But is lacking when connected notes are required, which is where the 2-finger approach comes into its own.

    I have two thoughts for you to consider:

    1: With the one-finger method, you can create a more legato feel by rolling the fingertip between the strings. So not such a marked lift and place. Taking this to its logical conclusion you end up with a barre...

    2: With the 2-finger method, be sure to train yourself to 'play the rests' to get the detached feel as well as playing legato.

    This way you will develop a general facility to play detached or legato with either method, so either feel with either method should be the goal. Then you can choose based on the other demands of the music - for example what comes next or where you have come from - rather than being bound to a method for how it sounds and then playing yourself into a corner.

    Once more, I think that example demonstrates a great feel and solid timing in your playing, which is also very clean and noise-free, so these suggestions, which you can take or leave, are more about expanding your options rather than anything 'corrective'.

    YMMV, IMHO, etc...
    DiabolusInMusic likes this.
  4. Lagado

    Lagado Inactive

    Jan 6, 2020
    I would use one finger for the better intonation and ease. Look up "rolling fourths", what you are doing is skipping between strings, use one finger across both and roll the pressure of the finger between them.
  5. Lagado

    Lagado Inactive

    Jan 6, 2020

    On guitar but same principle.
  6. 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.

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