Going Fretless

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by Mohter, Nov 8, 2004.

  1. :) Hi folks,
    I crossed over to bass a few years back and am just about
    completely sucked in :cool: and don't really have a yearning to play anything else now.
    Taken to it's logical conclusion this means a DB sometime in the future - I've already pulled the frets off an old P copy
    (poor thing). Thing is when I started BG after playing guitar most of my life, the whole dynamics of string wieght - spacing - height thing took about six months to start feeling natural. Anytime I played guitar it seemed to blow away my forming feel (so I stopped).
    Remembering this made me wonder if in mucking about on my ratty 'fretlost' I'm setting myself up for problems later. A fretless BG of the same scale length would be a start, is there a common scale length or do they vary? Are there any techniques usd on fretless BG that would carry over?
    I didn't have much musical education - some in my preteens, the rest I found out for myself or off friends so my technical knowledge is like an old net - tenuous strands linked together
    with a lotta holes all round. :oops: Something I'm trying to remedy on my own at the moment. I read and will heed the advice about a teacher for DB because of the dynamics of the beast, is it worth it playing fretless BG or should I just fuhgetaboutit
    and jump to DB? That way I could fill the holes and learn DB at the same time mabe :help:
    Any advice appreciated .... Moh
  2. Hi ! I believe that there is no rational reason to play the upright bass. It costs a lot of money, it is hard to play, heavy to carry around, and it takes half of my living room in space.

    It is a question of love, you fall for the upright and you sacrifice a lot for it. Otherwise, the electric bass is a great instrument, less expensive, easy to carry around, ... You can even get great instruments such a the godin A4 and a5 to imitate well the upright bass.

    You'll need theory with the upright bass... You won't find tablature for upright bass stuff !
  3. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    The fretless might occasionally be helpful to work out specific details of a bassline or exercise on a small scale before playing it on 41+ inches. I used to sometimes do this early on, but since I now have no slab chops :rolleyes: , its easier to just do it on the realbass.

    Other than that, there isn't much crosstalk between the two. I keep a fretless around for when a record producer insists on that sound. It doesn't really mimic the DB in any way. If you want to learn DB, it takes all the time you can spare.

    Bottom line...if you hear the DB in your head, and that's where you see yourself heading, make the jump. Life's short.
  4. Thanks for that guys. I realise it's a commitment and, as I think I said, not something I'd try without guidance :D
    Marcus - I got so many instruments muckin' around up there
    :meh: I write in my head so it get's a bit crowded, but when I've got bass puddling through the soup on anything barring rock or some blues it's always at least fretless :bawl: tell me ......... have I got 'it' :bag:
    I guess I'm just trying to see what possible path to DB might
    look like.
    Thanks again ...... Moh.
  5. Matt Ides

    Matt Ides

    May 12, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
    What you learn from fretless is to play with your ears (not eyes) and muscle memory. Those skills will transfer over to DB, but that is about it.

    If you want the fretless sound, go fretless.

    If you want the DB sound, go DB.
  6. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004

    I guess you are joking. Judging from your public profile you play and own a DB. :)
  7. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    The technique invloved in playing the DB is totally different. Your p-bass still has lines on it 'cause in once had frets. Whether you intend to, you are getting visual cues. If you really want to get good at fretless or DB you have to rely on your ears (as folks have said). One practice technique that I use and recomend to my students is to practice things you know from memory in the dark. This forces you to listen carefully to all the nuances of your intonation.
  8. From a non-musician point of view, what is the idea of giving ourselves that much trouble ? Even the salesmen at most of the music stores in my town know very little about the upright bass. It's way more simple to stick to a Fender and 90% of the people won't hear the difference. Maybe 40% of the people won't even see the difference with a synthetiser. :eyebrow:

    I play my upright bass, because it makes sense to me. The feeling I get is worth all of that trouble. But that trouble surely exists !
  9. It's that sound, my man, and the feel you get when you produce that sound out of something that's as big as you are....and those vibrations against your body.
    Go for it!
  10. :D Thanks for the advice people, appreciate it. Lots of wisdom - especially practicing in the dark, it is a sound/feel
    urge I'd be trying to satisfy.
    I used to get a bit frustrated that I couldn't just concentrate
    on the guitar and get to that point where you know where it's
    going and it just flows. As a singer/guitarist/songwriter there wasn't time to spare.
    Playing bass & singing harmony and occasional leads gives me time to fill some technical gaps, get on top of that feeling of
    almost knowing so I can fly at will :hyper:
    Regards ..... Mohter
  11. Mudfuzz


    Apr 3, 2004
    I think that playing fretless can help you develop your ear, but other than that I wouldn't compare the two. Actually I got my DB before I got my fretless BG so for me it worked the other way round. If you want more of the DB thing put some flats on it, crank up the action and try a mute. It's not the same but atleast it is muwha- [how do you spell that anyway] -less.
  12. larry

    larry Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2004
    What style(s) of music are you interested in? What do you want to achieve musically? Garage band, weekend warrior, full time pro?

    Here's my $.02:

    If you want to work a lot, play both. Playing both on a working-pro level requires a lot more time in the woodshed. They are different instruments, but if you can cover both well you will get more calls.

    If you are more towards being a hobbyist with limited time to spend practicing or gigging, pick one depending on what style of music is more appropriate for the bass. You'll achieve a higher level if you devote your time in one place.

    Just my opinion.
  13. :)Thanks Larry - Aaron,
    I'm 51 and used to play full time from the early '70s til the mid '80's - all original/independant bands. I played for my own pleasure when the family was growing and we were establishing a home.
    Around the mid ninties a Didge (Yidaki) player I knew ask me to play bass for them so that they could finish the songs they were writing. That was it, I was gone. I played a borrowed bass through my JMP Marshall 50 'til I got the svt. That project finished about 3.5 years ago, left me in a bit of a hole (now filled).
    What do I want to do? Well I've always done original music basically exclusively, knowing I could do covers anytime and I think that time has come. I've got 40 years of tracks to pick from that'll feel fresh because for me they will be, plus I'm playing a different instrument ( another adventure), so I'd like to attack a broad pallete, using varied influences.
    I s'pose that sounds like a dodge but really I listen to and appreciate anything that's done with passion. If you want to write music and you don't 'write music' then you can only learn by listening. Heh heh, sometimes i'd get inspiration for a guitar line from trumpet or sax heard playing jazz - you know what I mean - you can't afford NOT to listen - the least you can learn is what not to do :) :eyebrow:
    A quality eclectic cover band, with mabe just a few originals :) Hmm, Regards Mohter