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Learning curve of a fretless

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Brick Top, Apr 5, 2009.

  1. Brick Top

    Brick Top

    Dec 7, 2008
    I have never even held a fretless in my hand...but it seems to me that the transition from fretted to fretless should be fairly simple...especially if the top of the fretboard has the fret dots.

    Am I missing something? Is there more to playing a fretless than fingering in the right positions?

  2. good technique is vital to great intonation. If you have a good left hand the switch should be virtually seamless.
  3. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2006
    Northern California
    Well, remember that the side dots won't be in the same position as a fretted. It will always take work to transition to a fretless. But with practice and good technique you can have pretty passable intonation in a couple weeks.
  4. HaVIC5


    Aug 22, 2003
    Brooklyn, NYC
    It actually depends on the bass, some have side dots where you are supposed to put your fingers, and some have them where the side dots are on fretted. I much prefer the latter.

    Fretless bass basically just requires more finesse in your technique than you've ever been required to have on fretted. It's not a large leap from one to the other, but be prepared to be in the shed for a bit getting your chops together.
  5. There's nothing more but it's more than enough. ;)

    My first fretless was also my first 5-string. The extra string gave me more trouble at first but good intonation is a never ending process.

    Check yourself often with open strings.
  6. raymondl3


    Dec 10, 2007
    Depends on the style of music. If you in a band where you are mostly chugging away on the same note with a monkey grip it , then pitch issues are minimal. However if you have to play faster lines where you don't have much time to correct your pitch, and if you play a lot in the upper register, you've got your work cut out for you, meaning a few years of constantly playing with the fretless supplemented by exercises with a pitch reference (keyboard/sequencer).
  7. Brick Top

    Brick Top

    Dec 7, 2008
    Thanks folks. I really would like to get a fretless as my 2nd bass....and I think I'm gonna go ahead with it.

  8. Hi! I've been playing fretless for about a year now and loving it. I think the things that have helped me the most have been ear training (I had singing lessons and got some help with my pitch) and listening to a lot of vocalists. I think it's the singing quality of the fretless that got me hooked. Good luck!

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