1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

frettless bassist, this is for u

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by pierreganseman, Sep 17, 2008.

  1. alexis=bassist


    Sep 4, 2008
    I like to think of music as a language.I learned this from Victor Wooten when I talked to him about it at a clinic.So just like him,I like to change a music question to a language question.In this case,its basically,if we always have to be in tune.And in a language question,for me,it would be,do we always have to speak english perfectly?And the answer is no.

    U always hear sum people mess up or say some words weird and not "dead on".Do u go up to them and say,"hey that wuz wrong!"Some people will and others wont even notice or care how they say it.Its just how we are.If some people play out of tune sometims and not perfect,we will still respect them.It all depends on how u look at it,on for me,its like i just explained.

    anyways,i hope i helped u out.:)

    take care

  2. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    I don't think one has to be perfectly in tune, but it helps if you're really close.
  3. blowinblue

    blowinblue Blue in name only. Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2006
    SoCal USA
    Point taken, sir. My post was somewhat 'tongue in cheek', but not entirely. I empathize with those who like to share their enthusiasm regarding fretless electric. I love fretless and own an incredible 'no fretter' myself. In keeping with my previous post, I just try not to make too big a deal about playing it. It's like, duh...aren't we all supposed to be playing fretless? :)

    M. M.
  4. I think the "big deal" about fretless is the perceived difficulty when bound by frets. Although, I'll still contest that fretless bass is different than violin or upright due to the different necks that don't allow for anywhere near the muscle memory of a bowed instrument.
  5. Hoover

    Hoover Banned

    Nov 2, 2007
    New York City

    Begs the question: What type of tuner are you using?

    You do realize that the margin of error in a typical pocket-sized battery operated tuner (e.g. a Korg or Boss etc.) is on the order of ±0.75 cents, don't you?
  6. BigKahuna13


    Nov 21, 2004
    LI New York
    that's cool because i'm not either. we're probably using different definitions of "perfect." when I said perfect i wasn't meaning
    "good enough so that people can't hear the difference" (the rest of my note implies that). i meant "if the note is supposed to be 440Hz you play exactly 440Hz all the time."

    my comment was mostly aimed at people who might check their intonation with a tuner and obsess over being out by minuscule amounts that the human ear can't hear.
  7. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    This may be of interest:
    Depending on the individual and which octave, when comparing two sine tones the JND (Just Noticeable Difference) is typically around 4 cents (4/100th of a semi-tone). It is somewhat larger for LOWER pitches. :eyebrow:
  8. BigKahuna13


    Nov 21, 2004
    LI New York
    Interesting. What I've read is that typically humans can't perceive pitch changes of less than 2Hz when listened to in isolation. When comparing two pitches played simultaneously you can hear smaller differences.

    The pitch change between the low E & F is a hair over 2.5Hz. I know when using my tuner I can't tell the difference between "in tune"
    and eighth scale "out of tune" for E.
  9. NickyBass

    NickyBass Supporting Member

    Nov 28, 2005
    Southern New Jersey
    I have been an avid jazz player and listener for many years--both upright and electric. I have heard many many intonation problems and, yes, the band can still be swinging even when the bassist is slightly out of tune......

    However, DO NOT MAKE EXCUSES. Just because your influences have hit some bum notes, doesn't mean that it's ok. We should always strive to be the best we can be, and finding examples of intonation problems on classic jazz records doesn't allow us to be lazy.

    It reminds me of the people who say that learning theory gets in the way of feel. A good bassist is well rounded and versed in many stlyes.

    Besides, some of the classic bassists (I don't want to mention names, because it could lead to other arguments) have played on, literally, thousands of records--most often, with one take only. Of course they are going to have some intonation issues now and again.
  10. Heh, I always love those debates. Basically it's in place to defend that people don't want to learn about music. Due to a strong indie presence, it's a common theory that stuff like reading music, knowing theory, having good pitch, and using a metronome leads to a sterile vibe. It's kinda entertaining debating with minimalist elitists, but ultimately it seems that everyone wants to be equal in about every single way, which is probably why they're the first to bash basses that cost more than a Fender, too.
  11. pierreganseman


    Aug 23, 2008
    thx guys, interesting to have all of ur opinions. :)
  12. thehamilton


    Jan 14, 2008
    I play in a trio with a Rhodes and drums. I find it's best when I tune to the Rhodes and just keep an eye on what I am doing.

    A few times the Rhodes player has kicked me in the pants and told me to keep an ear open.
  13. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Key word: perfect. Which fretless player plays perfectly in tune all the time?
  14. renejaime


    May 25, 2005

    It's always good to practice vibrato for expression value and it does help a little w/ perceived intonation and eventually you will become better at Relative Pitch correction while playing fretless... There are those few out there have may have "perfect pitch" but for the rest of us it's your job as a musician to "practice" your recognition of Relative Pitch and that will help you stay in tune from phrase to phrase... note to note.
  15. Me. ;)
  16. bh2


    Jun 16, 2008
    Oxford, UK
    Kick him in the pants and tell him you're just expressing yourself.
  17. renejaime


    May 25, 2005
    this goes to my point of knowing and understanding relative pitch... That should always be rule #1 whatever group you play with needs to be in tune with each other and choose some tuning starting point. The entire band can be out of tune and sound fine as long as they make sure the are all in tune with each other.

    A fourth is a fourth and so on... find a tuning to come together on and everybody stick to it.
  18. BillyRay

    BillyRay Supporting Member

    Jan 20, 2008
    And this means what exactly ? If the band is still swinging even if the bassist is stlightly out of tune, the band is still swinging and to me, that's all that matters... Same thing goes for singing. If you constantly come in flat, that's another matter entirely, but accepting a bum note or two in the heat of battle isn't what I call making excuses.

    Thus, thriving to get better intonation for the sake of trying to get better intonation when the audience/your fellow musicians don't notice it isn't what I call a very efficient endavour. It surely is a noble one though, but when I hear some PC lines where some notes are clearly flat or sharp and think that Coltrane himself hand picked him to play those and kept him for years, I clearly don't see the need for improvement.
  19. NickyBass

    NickyBass Supporting Member

    Nov 28, 2005
    Southern New Jersey
    It means that we should strive to be the best musician that we can be. I'll bet, dollars to donuts, that Paul Chambers didn't dismiss 'perfect intonation' because some of his heros had some rough spots on record.

    I'll be the first to admit that my intonation isn't where it needs to be, though. I'm not saying that it's THE most important aspect of music---but it is up there.

    I am agreeance that if a band is really cooking, I don't notice the bum notes---and if I did, I probably wouldn't care. However, off the bandstand-in the practise room-it's important to practise intonation.
  20. BigKahuna13


    Nov 21, 2004
    LI New York
    Absolutely agree that intonation needs to be regularly practiced and checked up on. However, if your intonation is good enough to the point where your bandmates and the audience don't notice slightly off notes, you'll probably make yourself an even better musician by focusing more time and effort on something else.

    I know my intonation could be better. I cringe when I make mistakes. But virtually no one but me notices so there are
    other things I can practice more that will pay off bigger towards making myself a better bassist.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.