Played my fretless with other people for the first time today

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by zontar, Mar 17, 2014.

  1. zontar


    Feb 19, 2014
    ...and it went fairly well.

    I've had it for a month now.
    I've practiced with just the bass.
    I've played to recordings.
    I've recorded guitar parts to play along with.
    I've recoded the bass as well and listened back to it to see what it sounded like.

    it's all gone well.
    Not perfect, but well.

    So today for the first time I played it with other musicians.

    I got lots of good comments from people who would say something if I'd sucked.

    But I think I hit more wrong notes from losing my spot than from misplaced fingers (Although I did do hat.)

    But overall it went well.

    I feel encouraged.
    I've figured out where to best place my fingers, and I can play more stuff now without looking as much. (At first I looked constantly.)

    I'm not a master of fretless bass by any means--but it's going more smoothly and more quickly than I originally thought.
  2. spanndrew


    Oct 14, 2013
    Atlanta, Ga
  3. BassChuck


    Nov 15, 2005
    That's what you have to do. Just get out there and play it. Always make sure you can hear yourself, that's critical. After that it just practice and get used to it. If you wait for perfection before you take the first step, you'll always be in the same place.
  4. jgroh

    jgroh Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2007
    Cool. Ive had my fretless for a few years now (I have 6 other basses besides that) and I have only used it at one gig. I can play it in tune pretty well. but there is too much going on for me at a gig to have to worry about intonation...however, I keep threatening to bust it out for a set or two and may just do that soon.
  5. LeeNunn

    LeeNunn Supporting Member

    Oct 9, 2012
    Charlottesville, VA
    Congratulations! Playing a fretless with others for the first time makes anyone anxious. You'll keep improving every time you do it. I recommend recording your sessions or rehearsals and listening to the playback to evaluate your intonation. Experiment with different fingerings if you hear something that needs to be fixed. Good luck!
  6. zontar


    Feb 19, 2014
    Thanks everybody who replied.
    I was going through a PA (helping out some guys who were learning how to use it) and in addition to the monitors I also was playing through my practice amp--so I heard myself fine.
    I was waiting for an opportunity, and had one.
    I'll keep at it.

    One of the first things I did was record some guitar parts and then record myself playing bass along with it so I could go back & listen to see if I went off.
    I know sometimes you play something and think it sounds great, but then you hear a recording and it's crap.
    So great tip for all of us (To record yourself.)
    All part of my original plan.

    As for fingerings--I always experiment with them.
    I started on classical guitar and know to play some pieces you need to use unusual fingerings, and then sue a completely different one in another song or even later in the same piece.

    But thanks for the comments & tips.
    I'm really enjoying this bass.
  7. I got my first fretless last Wednesday and used it on stage on Saturday.
    It went very well, my friends were blown away by the smoothness.
    There is definitely a different technique involved and the finger position is more critical than with a fretted bass.
    I was switching back and forth from fretted 4-string to fretless 5-string so I had to get my bearings quickly to avoid getting lost.
    The first thing I did when picking up either one was key in on the location of the G note on the E string.
    Overall I was jazzed that I pulled it off without messing up.
    No guts, no glory. :)
  8. zontar


    Feb 19, 2014
    Cool, thanks for sharing.
    There is an adjustment to it.

    But it's worth it.
  9. bobalu


    Oct 1, 2004
    above the 49th
    Zontar, what kind of fretless did you get? (I'm looking myself).
  10. zontar


    Feb 19, 2014
    I got an Ibanez SR500F.

    Apparently they don't make them anymore--but some stores will still have new ones.
    Of course you may find one used as well.

    I looked around at stores for a while-trying many types.
    Other than the SR500F I also liked the MIM Fender fretless Jazz Bass.
    I was strongly considering trying one of those, but wanted to try an SR500F first--and I did find one, and loved it.

    I also considered an ESP LTD B-204SM fretless.
    It was nice too, and similar to the Ibanez, but while it cost less, and I love the look of spalted maple, it didn't speak to me the same way.

    I would have been happy with any of the three, but the SR500F screamed "Buy Me!" where the others whispered it.
  11. 1958Bassman


    Oct 20, 2007
    Looking isn't cheating. The best players I know of look at the neck when they play and they're not just playing local gigs- they play international tours.
  12. zontar


    Feb 19, 2014
    Never said it was cheating, but I've always felt that if I can play without looking then I know the song better, and my technique is better.

    Plus it allows me to do other things with my eyes while I'm playing.

    But it's not cheating to look, and it's a good idea to do from time to time.
    With my fretted bass I check when I start a song and sometimes don't look until it's over (Same with guitar), but I usually check with a larger change in position or a tricky part.

    It also forces me to use my ears more if I'm not looking.