I need to learn to walk before I can run...

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by ZoomBoy, Jun 11, 2001.

  1. I just bought my first fretless bass on Friday (like new used Fender MIM Jazz, yahoo!). So it was a fretless only weekend: working on my intonation (the fret lines are a big help right now) and tweaking the bass's setup.

    I have a question for the experienced fretless guys out there. Can someone recommend some CDs/tunes that have some fretless playing on them that will be "reasonably" easy to pick up? Me just getting a fretless and trying to play along with "Hanova" would just be too frustrating right now. I need to find some songs that will encourage me not discourage me! :)

    Thanks in advance!
  2. Well, Sting played fretless a lot when he was with the Police, and most of that wasn't too difficult.
  3. Doh! I didn't even think of that! Thanks alot.

    Baby steps, baby steps baby steps!
  4. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    another suggestion - practice scales and playing with a quick-acting tuner, so that you can hear yourself playing and be sure you are in tune. fretless is really ear-dependant, so you need to learn what "in tune" sounds like on your bass. the best way that i've found for learning this is to practice with a tuner.
  5. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    "First learn walk, then learn fly. Nature's rules Danielson, not mine." - Mr. Miyagi. :) (Hollywood's sage)

    Tuner tuner tuner! Big time. Very nice. Very helpful.

    You must train your ear as JT said. A technique that I use, is to start with an open string, say E, then fret the next semi-tone, and the next. Do this with the tuner on so you're sure that you're E is in tune, but also that you're fretting the correct place. Playing the open string first helps establish relative pitch. Once you've played E, E# :))), and F# in tune, play them one after another fairly slowly, making sure that the tuner says you're right on! Then turn the tuner off, and keep playing those three notes for a minute or two. Now, turn the tuner back on, play exactly as you were a moment ago, and see how far you drifted.
  6. Thanks for the tips guys! I have been using a tuner and I'm not doing badly so far. I get a little fuzzy in the upper registers but I'm getting better. I'm also looking for recordings of songs played on a fretless that will be within my reach so I can snap out of my practice routine for a little bit. Sometimes practicing scales gets boring and I just want to play and have some fun! So I'm thinking of revisiting some of my old Police stuff and maybe some Pearl Jam. The Jaco-ish stuff will come in time (I hope). Of course practice doesn't make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect!

    Thanks again!
  7. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Guys, that is such great advice. I've been afraid to tackle playing a fretless bass, because I just didn't think I'd ever get the intonation correctly. The idea of using a tuner to check, correct and train the ear is such a simple idea, but sounds very effective.

    Now...maybe I can fuss for a fretless bass for Christmas. (I already have the tuner.)
  8. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    One excellent song done on fretless is "New York Minute" by the Eagles.
  9. I don't have a tuner, so what I do to practice intonation is to play along with mp3's in front of my computer. A lot of times I'll think I'm playing in tune when I'm by myself, then I'll play with the mp3, and I'll really notice the difference. Ugh, not there yet, but getting there.
  10. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    i bet you can get a tuner on line for free - you need to have a tuner.
  11. What do I need a tuner for? I just tune to my piano, it seems to work fine. And when I play with my friends, we just tune to each other. I can understand where you need one, you have a band and and you record, but I mostly just play in my basement, and sometimes in my friend's basement. I've never had a situation come up where I needed one.
  12. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    oh, well, there ya go - i didn't know you had a piano. that's a good source for an in-tune note.
  13. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    Hey! That's my uncles neighbor! Poor guy, people drive by and yell "Hiiiiiiyaah!" at him, and he just sneers and waters his plants.