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Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Hookha, Apr 20, 2006.
do you have any fretless playing tips?
technique tips and more...
I'm not much of a fretless player but I do like to practice on an inexpensive one that I have. It helps to sharpen up my ears and be precise and when I switch back to fretted I can play 3x faster.
Any more suggestion?
A few years back, Bass Player Magazine ran a few excellent articles on improving your fretless playing. I can scan them and send them along if you'd like...
Don't allow yourself to become too visually dependent on the bass in order to play with proper intonation.
Develop your ear.
Learn to listen carefully in order to refine your intonation.
Experiment with your physical technique, recognizing that the fretless lends itself to a wider range of potential tones that you can control through touch alone than does the fretted bass - if you master the nuances.
For maximum "mwah", keep the neck almost completely straight, and the action low.
Lighter-gauge strings are more supple and expressive than heavier-gauge strings - so they are well-adapted for use on fretless.
Play with a light touch & technique.
Buy Gary Willis' book: 101 Bass Tips
It's full of stuff especially for fretless players
Steve Bailey's instructional tapes are great too . His fretless vol is pretty right on for getting your intonation together .
Practice playing in proper positions and try to play as many notes as you can without shifting your hands . It will help keep you in the right area .
One thing that helped me , was instead of practicing with a fretted bass at home I would shed on the fretless . Go back to all the songs you can play effortlessly and then you can concentrate on the finer points of the fretless ie , tone , intonation , attack and phrasing .
Also play songs that are a little slower in tempo , this will require you to hold the note long and tell if you are off . It will give you time to adjust you intonation as you play .
Something that worked well for me on cello when I was having trouble with big shifts. Play the first note and the second not to get them in your ear. Now close your eyes, play the first note and then take your hand off and then finger and play the second note. Keep doing this until you get it right several times in a row. Now try the shift, and you should get it easily. It really forces you to know where the notes are by touch, so you know exactly where to go on the shifts.
Best advice I ever heard was play in the dark... 1) can't see the fingerboard 2) forces your ears to dial in. Try it with and without fixed pitch accompaniment.
Since the "mwah" attack is a little slower than many fretted basses, experiment with playing right on the beat vs. jumping it ever so slightly. Letting different parts of the attack synch with the exact beat changes your expression. Also, some drummers seem to perceive the slower attack as you playing a little behind the beat, and it messes with them... can drive tempo down a little.
I play constantly on an old fretted bass of mine in the dark, helped a ton when I finally got the fretless one, without lines just the way I liked it.
+1 on playing in the dark.
Related - I also check my intonation with my tuner while I run my scales / play my warm ups. I keep my eyes off the neck and on focused on the tuner. A great self check, if you have a real good tuner!
I have a lined fretless!