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General Help and Fretless Advice Needed

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Raum, Jun 13, 2007.

  1. Raum


    Jun 13, 2007
    Last summer I was at my friends house and picked up his bass and told him to teach me something. I learned smoke on the water and have been fidling around with basses ever since. I can play a few death metal songs, some classic rock riffs, a few tool bass lines, wrote some riffs of my own, can do basic chords, do some 1 and 2 finger tapping, have toyed with slap a bit and so on. I bought an Ibanez 4 string Soundgear last summer and learned to play on that.

    Yesterday I traded in my 4 string for my dream bass, a 6 string fretless. I think in a sense it was a dumb move because it's going to make everything much more difficult than it already was for me, but regardless it's the bass I wanted and it's now the bass I have.

    I have two specific requests for the members of this forum.

    One, what things should I know about my fretless bass to improve my ability of playing it? I'm determined to get good at it because the sound of it and the way it feels when you play it blows a fretted bass out of the water IMO. I like being able to wiggle my finger up and down slightly to make what I think it called a vibrato, I love fretless for fingertapping etc. I know with a fretless you need to play with your fretting finger a little closer to where the fret would be instead of in the middle like a fretted bass, but that's about the only difference I know when it comes to playing. The fretless I bought came with normal strings and when I got the money I was thinking about getting round wound strings for it for better sliding action and to preserve the fretboard longer. What do you guys think of that?

    The other thing I wanted to bring up is I'm completely clueless when it comes to a lot of things with bass. I have a lot of techniques fairly down and can play a good variety of stuff, but to give you an idea of how lacking my basic knowledge is here are some things I don't know:

    -What the strings are called (AEBG I dunno?)

    -How to tune my bass (With my 4 string I tried the 5th fret method and I could get somewhat close, but I still didn't understand tuning to a certain key, or what a key is. I understood that you need the lower string at the 5th fret to sound like an open note at the higher string, but I never knew where you got your starting point to be tuned in say, "drop d," I just matched up the strings and that's all I knew. Tuning this fretless 6 string is going to be hell for me)

    -Should I turn on my amp, then plug in my bass? Unplug my bass before or after I turn off my amp? I don't know the order of doing these simple things.

    -On my fretless it has the fret markers on the side (none on the fretboard) for 3rd, 5th, 12th fret etc. Is it marked like a normal bass, meaning I should place my finger slightly ahead of the dot since it's fretless, or is a fretless marked so that where the dot is marks where I should place my finger? Also, if I waned to put tape markers down in between them to note all the frets while I get used to my new bass, how do I figure out the exact spots to put them?

    -Is it normal to have a lot of difficulty hitting anything but an open note when you slap? If I'm holding down the 12th fret and try to slap nothing really happens.

    -Any tips besides just practicing when it comes to playing chords? This is one of the reasons I wanted a 6 string. I don't know any specific chords or their names, I just vary my finger positions and look for different sounds.

    One more question. My family bought me a KORG Chromatic tuner for my acoustic guitar and I Was wondering if I should use that on my bass. It was set to 440hz and I tuned my new 6 string with it and it seemed to do a decent job, but again the strings just match and I have no idea if it's in drop d, normal tuning or whatnot. I have no idea how to even tell.

    Finally, here are some photos of my new bass. It was 300$, my previously mentioned Ibanez was 180$ with soft case.


    Thanks in advance for any help you guys give, as you can see I need it :)
  2. Most people use flatwound strings on fretless for easy sliding and neck preservation not roundwounds.
    Most six stringers are tuned BEADGC or less often EADGCF.
    Plug lead into bass before turning on amp.
    The slap sound comes from the string hitting the fret - so no frets = very little slap sound.
    TBO do a search in TB and you will find some great tips on fingering, scales , chords etc.
    You can use the fret calculator at stewmac.com to give you the exact positions of each fret to draw your lines.
  3. DocBop


    Feb 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Run don't walk back to the music store and ask them for names and phone numbers of Bass teachers. From what you said there is a world of really basic stuff you need to learn. If you can't get a teacher get a Beginner Bass book and start reading some of the bass sites with tutorials. Buy lunch for your friend who taught you Smoke On the Water and ask him to teach you how to tune your bass. BTW even on a fretted bass you should be putting your finger behind the fret not in the middle. On fretless you need to be exactly where the fret would be or your out of tune.

    You'll do fine you just need some help getting the fundamentals down.
  4. Raum


    Jun 13, 2007
    Sorry I meant flatwound. After using my tuner mine is BEADGB, do you think I'd be better off changing the last one to C? I think it sounds acceptable as in myself, but I'd be open to trying that tuning.

    I can get a slap sound with this bass, but I have trouble with higher notes. Anything past the 8th fret or so and getting a sound from it becomes really hard. I'm trying to get slapped chords down because I love how they sound, but I feel kind of limited only being able to utilize 1/3rd of the fretboard.

    I'll check out that link, thanks.

    Whenever I have the cash I know of some good teachers my friends have suggested I'm gonna go to. In the meantime I think I'll spend some time on here in between playing and just see what I can learn from reading.

    Thanks for the tips so far.
  5. 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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