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Michael: Tapping intonation above the octave

Discussion in 'Ask Steve Lawson & Michael Manring' started by Aaron Saunders, Jul 7, 2004.

  1. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    I've got this tapping thing that sounds good on fretted basses, but it sounds SOOO much more...expressive, on fretless. It also sounds soooo...out of tune. The RH tapping is all starting just above the octave, where intonation is a real bizzatch playing NORMALLY, but tapping is...dang. Just ridiculously difficult. Is there any advice? I hold my forearm about parallel for this method of tapping (it goes mostly up and down the strings, not crossing them where I would have my arm perpendicular) so is there any way I can adjust this position for fretless tapping? How do you maintain tapping intonation on an unlined fretless?
  2. Michael Manring

    Michael Manring TalkBass Pro Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Tapping on a fretless really is a little tricky, Govithoy. As you mention, it’s tough enough to play the dang thing in tune pizzicato! I have only a few small bits of advice: First, try to keep the right (or plucking) hand parts relatively simple. Personally, on fretless I think of tapping as more of a rhythmic technique than a melodic or chordal one. It’s easier to stay in tune if you keep the right hand intervals relatively close and consistent. Second, you’ll have to adjust the intonation concept for your right hand. I think you’ll find that, because your fingers are striking the strings at such a different angle you’ll be tapping at what seems like a different place on the string than you would with your left hand. Always practice with a tuner and stop often to check the pitch of each tapped note. Finally, practice, practice, practice! Although some passages may seem impossible at first (or even at second or third!) if you have patience and focus you should eventually develop the accuracy you’re looking for.