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new fretless

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by j-bass, Sep 7, 2004.


  1. j-bass

    j-bass

    Feb 5, 2004
    well guys...just got me a new fretless

    http://www.eazi-k.com/guitar/fretless

    and was wondering if any experienced players out there would be able to give me some tips of playing especially on intonation.

    I seem to be able to play it pretty well as the fret gaps are filled with maple providing markers but fretting the note slightly off center does not seem to be very forgiving !

    Working on Paul Simons "Diamonds on the Soles of her Shoes" at the moment.

    Ernie
     
  2. kobass

    kobass Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Outside Boston
    Try Steve Bailey's instructional video, "Fretless Bass." (original title, eh?). It's available through Musician's Friend. Lots of good advice for developing good intonation. Plus, there's a few sections where Steve jams with some buddies of his. Steve is a monster on the fretless!

    Nice looking bass! Enjoy! :cool:
     
  3. j-bass

    j-bass

    Feb 5, 2004
    thanks I seem to have to fret very close to the fret line to be in tune especially on the higher strings is this normal ?
     
  4. Juneau

    Juneau

    Jul 15, 2004
    Dallas, TX.
    Yes, technically speaking, you intonate a fretless right ON the fret line. This of course is assuming intonation is set correctly on the bass. You fret behind a fret, but the fret is what makes the string stop, so when playing fretless, you fret ON the fret line.

    You might think about having a professional setup done so your intonation is set correctly for each string.
     
  5. j-bass

    j-bass

    Feb 5, 2004
    thanks !

    you've set my mind at rest thought my bass was faulty for a minute there !!!

    you can tell I'm a total fretless newbie :hyper:

    Ernie
     
  6. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Playing fretless will improve your fretted technique as well. The lazy man's way is to fret the note between the frets. I did this for almost 20 years. Then I bought a nice fretless and got serious about my intonation. Now I play my fretted basses the same as my fretless, with my finger immediately behind the fret, instead of between the frets. It has really cleaned up a lot of excess finger noise that I used to get, and help me gain better control of my dynamics.
     
  7. PunkerTrav

    PunkerTrav

    Jul 18, 2001
    Canada & USA
    +1 Ever since I got my fretless, my technique on my fretted bass has imporved greatly. My playing is significantly cleaner. My ear has also developed alogn with my teachnique. I can now play most of my material on te fretless without a visual reference, which would have been impossible for me on a fretless a few months ago.
     
  8. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    Practice. Lots of practice.

    Remember, the lines are guides, that's all. IMO intonation is not as critical as on a fretted because YOU decide where the string's vibrating length stops, not frets.

    Practice. Then practice some more. Try playing ANYTHING you play on the fretless. Don't just save it for special occassions;)

    Get familiar with your bass. Then the lines function to get you in the neighborhood of the desired note, you'll still need to hear whether it's correct or not. It's not uncommon to find a fretless where you have to play behind the lines in the lower positions and ahead of them in the upper registers. Always remember, the right pitch is in there... it's up to you to find it.

    I love playing fretless.

    :D

    A friend of mine who works at a local store told me of a customer who brought his fretless back in after owning it a few days. The reason? It was defective... it wouldn't play in tune.

    Practice.

    See above... and practice. There's no substitute. Incorporate open strings in your playing when you can, they can make good points of reference.

    There isn't as much difference between playing fretted and fretless as most people think. This becomes obvious after the initial fear of playing the dreaded WRONG NOTE passes. Heck, I played a wrong note on a fretted bass last night... and nobody died.

    Have fun... and you know...

    the "P" word;)
     
  9. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    LMAO! I guess I should blame my poor intonation on my Zon, huh?:D
     
  10. j-bass

    j-bass

    Feb 5, 2004
    thanks guys...

    been playing on the lines a couple of hours this evening and I think I'm getting used to it :)

    Ernie
     
  11. Juneau

    Juneau

    Jul 15, 2004
    Dallas, TX.
    Just to clarify, suggesting a pro setup was a way to get the notes to be as close to on the lines as possible so he has a more reliable marker. You could of course forgo intonating the bass properly and adjust to play wherever the note is in tune, instead of a reliable place hehe.
     
  12. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    Not saying setting intonation is useless. Even with as close to a perfect intonation setup as possible, you're still going to have to deal with the particular bass and your ears. Heck, just by slightly rotating your wrist you can go from flat to on pitch to sharp in some neck positions. Change your strap length and notes will appear to be in a different position than before.

    OTOH on a fretted you don't have the flexibility of a fretless (it's hard to slightly "flatten" a note on a fretless;)), hence the greater need for a good intonation setup haw haw.

    :D

    BTW...
    "suggesting a pro setup was a way to get the notes to be as close to on the lines as possible so he has a more reliable marker".


    Not necessarily. Depends on the bass. A proper setup may actually move him away from wherever the builder put the lines. Any rigid thought about fretlines should be tossed IMO. Be flexible... and listen. Play where the desired pitch is;)
     
  13. johnvice

    johnvice

    Sep 7, 2004
    Once you get use to playing intonation on yoru fretless (read: practice!) try playing a note ever so slightly flat and slide up to pitch.
     
  14. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings

    ...or down.
     
  15. Nice bass ya got there, or basses. I seem to see a jazz with a pickguard and one without? Can you tell me the difference, and which bass I should be looking at? I like the jazz without the pickguard, it draws attention to the colour, rather than to some lump of plastic on it.
     
  16. j-bass

    j-bass

    Feb 5, 2004
    its the same one actually.

    the sunburst jazz bass came with an optional pickguard so I took a pic for comparision.

    looks better without ehhh ?!

    Ernie
     
  17. j-bass

    j-bass

    Feb 5, 2004
  18. Dr. PhunkyPants

    Dr. PhunkyPants Guest

    Aug 11, 2002
    USA
    lord, that thing is a dead ringer for the USA Artist series Jaco fretless.
     
  19. j-bass

    j-bass

    Feb 5, 2004
    and now even more so as I've fitted chrome p-bass knobs ;-)