Playing blindfolded

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Vorago, Oct 7, 2005.

  1. Vorago

    Vorago (((o)))

    Jul 17, 2003
    Antwerp, Belgium
    I was wondering if it is a good idea to practise fretless with your eyes closed, or stick with the lines for a while. I've only been playing fretless for 11 days or so. Minutes ago I played along most of Californication, and it worked out pretty well, only playing along the guitarsolo's was tricky, and the lowest notes caused some trouble too.

    Ideas, suggestions, people who did the same thing?
  2. I'd say you should learn to play without looking as soon as possible.
  3. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    It might help you not be overly dependent on looking at your left hand. And it might help with muscle memory. However, it won't make you hear or play better in and of itself. Unless you also develop your hearing (and I'm not saying you're not doing that), practicing blindfolded will only enable you to play out of tune without looking at the neck.

    I think it's a mistake to worry *too much* about looking away from the FB, especially in the earlier stages of the game. True, it's good not to be so tied to looking at your LH that you can't read a chart or look at another musician or the audience, but basically it's much more important to worry about playing good lines in tune and to develop your sense of pitch. Get your **** solid, and then worry about practicing blindfolded. If you don't, you'll never have a good idea of when you're out of tune.
  4. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    I think that playing without looking at the fingerboard is an excellent practice not only on a fretless but on your fretted as well. Try it as a challenge! Pick a song with relatively big shifts and play it without looking. I started to practice this not so long ago (I'd say like three years) because I noticed that my sight reading (which is average but not so great) was much better on double bass than on bass guitar. The problem is: If you don't have enough muscular memory of the fingerboard, you'll have to stop reading the sheet for putting your hand in the right place and you'll get lost for sure when trying to read again. I try to do it every time I can and right now I think: "If someone told me about the importance of this when I was a beginner, I think I'd overcome many playing problems during my career easier and faster and hence I'd be a better player now". Trust me: I've felt the benefits. It works!

    Hope this helps.
  5. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    Practice tunes you know really well and use open strings as reference tones to help you stay honest.
  6. spc


    Apr 10, 2004
    South of Boston
    Unless you were planning to play out blindfolded, and in that case, it would probably help... ;)
  7. Zachass

    Zachass Peavey Partizan

    I have played cello for 10 years and my teacher taught me a method for when you miss notes on difficult shifts. Find the notes on the string, do the shift so your know where the notes are. Then close your eyes and do it, take your hand off and repeat several times. So playing blindfolded or without looking is a good way to get the shifts into your muscle memory.