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Fretless?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by nubassplayer, Apr 11, 2001.


  1. nubassplayer

    nubassplayer

    Mar 26, 2001
    Indiana
    I have a question for all of you veterans. I'm new so bear with me. Everyone is always posting about fretless. How can you play one of those? I went to the guitar shop and tried one. It was impossible! I tried to play something for 15 minutes. Then I just gave up b/c it didn't sound right. Is it just me or are these things hard as hell?
     
  2. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    California
    It really depens on how long you've been playing. Had you started on fretless, you wouldn't find it so hard. In your case, owever, you've become accostumed to the fretted bass feel although you don't have much actual playing experience. You weren't specific as far as what problems you were experiencing on the fretless, but it could have been any of a number of factors, from whether the bass was properly tuned to where you placed your hand on the fingerboard.

    No one picks up a fretless and sounds great right off the bat. It's great you want to get into it, but since you're just getting your stuff together, I'd wait a bit before plunging into no fret land.

    Will C.:cool:
     
  3. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Hm, to play a fretless for 15 mins and expecting to sound as good as on fretted is not very realistic.
    Fretless is a totally different animal and requires some serious woodshedding, especially when you're a novice bass player.
    But it's not impossible. If you really go at it, you'll get it.
     
  4. nubassplayer

    nubassplayer

    Mar 26, 2001
    Indiana
    that's not what I meant. I meant that I picked it up and it was just so strange feeling that I couldn't play it well.
     
  5. nubassplayer

    nubassplayer

    Mar 26, 2001
    Indiana
    I reallt want to learn how to play one of these though. I have heard other people play them and they sound awesome. Should I try to learn now, or should I wait? If I do start playing it, will it ruin me for fretted basses?
     
  6. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    California
    No it won't ruin you, but what's the hurry? I played fretted bass for eight years before I got my first fretless. Some people never play fretless, period.

    Will C.:cool:
     
  7. nubassplayer

    nubassplayer

    Mar 26, 2001
    Indiana
    I really like the way they sound. What can you do on a fretless that you can't on a fretted?(please explain how these are done too.)
     
  8. Suburban

    Suburban

    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Will C wrote:
    "No one picks up a fretless and sounds great right off the bat."

    Well, I did. But I cheated on a DB a few times, and had played the trumpet (which has no fixed notes) for ten years.

    First thing with a fretless is that it *feels* different, due to the level fingerboard. To some it feels great, to others it feels - empty.
    Second thing is that it takes precision in playing; the "precision" of the P-bass isn't there.
    Third thing is that you can actually obtain perfect intonation! This is just as disturbing to those who are used to frettes instruments sligth mistuning, as the latter mistune is to those used to finetuning.

    So, if the problem is the first: just leave it.
    Is it #2: get it and do *lots* of practice - you'll end up a precision bassist!
    If it's #3: i don't know - it may be that you are a lost soul, like a few geetar players and keyboardists I know:( - or you can still save yourself:)