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I need some advice about playing fretless!

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by 43apples, May 23, 2005.


  1. 43apples

    43apples Guest

    Nov 9, 2003
    Hey guys, i'm sure this questions have been asked before, and i searched, but i couldnt find an excact answer to them ;).

    Anyway:

    I got a fretless last december, and i've tried to play it as much as i can. But, i don't find it as inspiring as i want it to be. I'm not sure what it is, but i can't get it to groove and sing as i want it to. I'm having trouble with getting the intonation rigth, getting the rigth sound using my fingers, and in the end i struggle so much that i just put it down and pick up my fretted one. :rollno:

    Any advice what i should do? I really like my new bass, and i want to play it, but...... :crying:

    Sorry for my bad description of my problems, i have a pretty limited english vocabulary (i'm norwegian :D )

    Thanks,
    -Erlend
     
  2. You should concentrate on intonation first, and not worry so much about tone. Your tone should get better on its own, but you intonation may take some work. You're going to have to play it a lot to get that right. Using one finger per fret can help you get your fingers in the right place. Don't try to play difficult stuff for a while. It's frustrating not to be able to play things that you could play just fine on a fretted bass, but play simple lines for a while, and concentrate on sounding as much like a fretted bass as you can. No sliding. That's the way to get good control, and then you can let loose. Playing with accompanyment (either other musicians or a CD) will be a helpful reference to keep you playing in tune.
     
  3. Monkey

    Monkey Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Dayton, Ohio, USA
    Erland, your English is fine, and your question is well-stated.

    I would recommend that you force yourself to stick to the fretless for a period of time. You may find that the fretless really is your "voice", or it may find that fretted is more your style. I have played fretless exclusively for a long time, and haven't even owned a fretted bass for over ten years. The fretless allows me to express myself, so I play it all the time. There are some people who can switch back and forth and sound equally good on both, but I've chosen to only play fretless.

    I'm not suggesting that you give up fretted bass, but I think you need to really immerse yourself in the fretless and see where it leads. Playing fretless is not easy to do well.
     
  4. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Erland, I feel the same way you do about fretless. I don't think they groove like a fretted bass either. I like to play my fretless sometimes, but usually on songs that need longer notes. Practicing on it makes me play fretted bass better also. But for grooving with a band, I think fretted bass is better. Not saying you can't groove with a fretless bass...I'm just saying that I'd rather use a fretted.
     
  5. 43apples

    43apples Guest

    Nov 9, 2003
    Thanks guys!

    Yeah, i guess you are rigth. I realized that i have been too eager in my quest to be "the new jaco" and therefore overplayed :smug:. But you know, it's like getting a new car, let's say a ferrari.... you want to drive fast all the time :D !

    I'm going to try making a sound file on my PC playing a couple of scales, and then try to play together with it! :)

    Oh well. Now i just need a latin jazz band :hyper: :bag:

    Thanks alot! ;)
    -Erlend
     
  6. You need to hear yourself well to get the intonation right, some loud/boomy rooms/situations are really hard to play fretless on.

    I practice playing fretted putting fingers right behind the frets to simulate fretless, instead of cheating and landing anywhere between the frets. That and use one finger per fret.

    Then your muscle memory starts to get used to doing that, its not as big a switch to go fretless.

    But if you're left hand technique is careless, and the acoutic situation isn't good, fretless can be really tough. A lined fretless can make the adjustment easier, and if I can't hear myself well enough to guarantee intonation, the lines give me some assurance I'm not too far off.

    Randy