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!  

Is it bad technique not to fret directly on the fret?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by BrandonBass, Mar 7, 2013.

  1. BrandonBass


    May 29, 2006
    I understand that if you're playing fretless, the intonation will be off if you dont fret at the fret. But is there a need for it on fretted basses?
  2. Dash Rantic

    Dash Rantic

    Nov 12, 2005
    Palo Alto, CA
    I've always understood it's better technique to fret *just behind* the fret (for fretted instruments obviously). Makes it a little odd when switching between fretted/fretless, but sounds better on fretted, and possibly leads to less wear on the frets.

  3. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    Just before it works for me. Maybe 1/16" away from it. I don't look down most of the time so I'm sure it varies just a bit. IMO there's no right or wrong but if you push too hard you can force the note sharp. Less chance of that when you're closer to the fret.
  4. steelbed45

    steelbed45 TRemington Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2011
    Nolanville, TX
    As was pointed out a long time ago, (and for which I'm grateful,) by fretting in the middle, it takes more pressure for your fingers to get the string down. Over time, this could add up. Efficiency and less wear and tear works for me, I know quite a few fellow players in my age range with CT issues from poor technique over the decades.
  5. phillybass101


    Jan 12, 2011
    Artist, Trickfish Amplification Bartolini Emerging Artist, MTD Kingston Emerging Artist. Artist, Tsunami Cables
    The minute you say one thing someone else will say another. I've read where guys actually play on the fret. I say when it comes to anything technique related, experiment and find and use what best works for you. And when asked, just reply with what you do as it works best for you. No one owns anything in terms of how best to play the instrument.
  6. mrbell321


    Mar 26, 2012
    N. Colorado
    If you're right ON the fretwire(as in, part of your finger is on both sides), then you're likely damping the sound a bit. If you're way behind the fretwire, you can get buzz, intonation might be off, you'll have to press harder, and you won't be able to play as quickly.

    SO, you want to be just behind the fretwire for many reasons.

    That said, when doing a spread, or moving quickly, I can't always reach up to hit it right.
  7. :meh:

    ON topic: Just make it sound good- THAT is what matters
    Radio likes this.
  8. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    It's quite a different experience for me now that I switched to TI Flats on My Ric. I can actually feel the fret through the string and can use a much lighter touch.
  9. Liam76


    Dec 28, 2012
    Playing fretless, both lined and unlined got me into the habit of pressing just behind the fret on a fretted neck. When things speed up, that tends to go out the window.

    When I play chordal on guitar, though, I just do what I can to make the notes ring
  10. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    On a fretted bass I play anywhere from middle to close to the upper fret. No rules, no problems with my fingers or hands from it after decades of playing.
  11. Ezmar


    Jul 8, 2010
    Unless you're really musically and sonically unperceptive, it will correct itself on its own. You'll naturally start fretting the optimum amount behind the fret, because as you play more, you'll pick up on if you're fretting too far back and fret farther forward without even thinking about it. Of course, I still fret a little farther back sometimes if I'm doing fast improv on the fly, but that's the thing about fretted instruments, you have a little wiggle room on where you can place your finger.

    This is In My Experience, of course.
  12. PlaysAJunker


    Feb 21, 2013
    Play behind the fret, not on top of the fret, but just behind the fret--so your finger is touching the back side of the fret, but you're not on top of it.

    This is an ideal and if you are not exactly there it's okay, but that's a better spot for sustain and tone than fingering dead in the middle of two frets.

    Work on it in practice, don't even think about it at a gig.
  13. mbeall


    Jun 25, 2003

    It will save your hands over the long run. Try lightly fretting a note directly between two frets so that it buzzes when plucked; then increase the pressure until it stop buzzing. Repeat this process just behind the relevant fret and note how much less pressure is required to get a good sound. Less pressure also means less influence over intonation by accidentally bending the string if not perfectly attacking the note perpendicular to the fret board as well.
    So at the very least I will say that it is inferior to fretting at the fret and if your goal is to play more than just 8th notes lines you are going to be sabotaging yourself by not doing it.
  14. +1.
  15. SemiDriven

    SemiDriven Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2012
    Milwaukee, WI
  16. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    + 1 left,right,up,down which way?
  17. dvh

    dvh Supporting Member

    Sep 1, 2006
    Halifax, Nova Scotia
    I don't know, physics suggests to me that it takes less pressure to push the string down farther from the fret rather than closer.

    Regardless, this is WAY overthinking it. As was posted above, just play and it will find its way... anyone who thinks they've hurt themselves by not fretting correctly has made the wrong diagnosis IMO.....
  18. mbeall


    Jun 25, 2003
    Nice to see that you took the 30 secs. to do the experiment before posting a contradiction. And it's not over thinking it. Perfecting good technique should be a component of a practice regimen, especially in the early stages of development. Without focus on particulars a person will just develop bad habits that need to be corrected later. One practices these things so they become automatic and require no thought as was said by another player in a earlier post. And there are lots of people who have had pain issues from bad technique that alleviated those issues by correcting their technique. I'm one of them as I used to use a grip of death on the fretboard, partially because I wasn't paying attention to where I fretted the notes. I also had the intonation issues partially for the same reason. It took many hours of focused practice to correct these things and rebuild my technique. Hours that could have been spent on learning music instead of correcting mechanics.

    In short, practice does not make perfect; practice makes permanent.


  19. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    No, that's why it has frets. When Leo Fender introduced his electric bass guitar he dubbed it the Precision Bass, because precise intonation by placement of the finger on the fingerboard (fret board) was accomplished more easily than it was on the upright bass.

    Anywhere between the frets is just fine so long as the string makes solid contact with the fret without buzzing or deadening.
    quickfix likes this.
  20. dvh

    dvh Supporting Member

    Sep 1, 2006
    Halifax, Nova Scotia
    With all respect mbeall, many, many players have excelled on the instrument without having any such fretting issues. They may have weaknesses in other areas, no doubt, none of us is perfect in every regard.

    With regard to the "death grip". Was it an outsider who advised you pay attention to "proper fretting" to fix the problem? Who's to say some other kind of attention/exercise would not have also alleviated the problem?

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.