Well.....What about fretless?.....

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Stanley Design, Mar 10, 2003.

  1. Don't flame me for asking, but I would really like some information about upgrading to fretless. I've been playing for a while, and want to know, do you just memorize where you put your hands like with a fretted and such? you know, I guess I really just want the "A fretless-illiterate's guide to upgraing" or whatever. thanks if you can help.
  2. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    I'd say yes, you memorize where you put your hands. You learn where the 1st, 2nd, 4th etc. etc. frets are, and you learn where you should be playing in relation to the dots (e.g. just behind them or right on them).

    That's if it's unlined. If it's lined, then I guess it's a case of learning where you need to stop the string in relation to the line - e.g. just behind it or wherever.

    However - your ear is a very important part of this. Ultimately, you need to be relying on your ears, not your eyes. You need to learn the fretboard, obviously - and what 1st fret, 2nd fret etc. "look like" - but your ears will be the tool you use to tell whether you've got it right.

    Ultimately, you won't need to be looking at the fretboard too much. You'll find you can play in tune without looking at it.

    I've been finding that the key is to hear the note in your head first - this helps to play it in tune. You'd be surprised, once you've learned the fretboard well, what your fingers can 'remember'.

    My current thinking on this is as follows (any more experience fretless or DB players please feel free to confirm or deny this):

    Your fingers actually have a good memory for positions - and when you hear a note in your head, your fingers are able to 'recall' the position. It's like singing - when you hear a note in your head, you are able to pitch it with your voice, and you can actually come straight in on the note. Your vocal chords 'know' how to produce that note. It seems to me, that in the same way - your fingers know where to go to produce the note on a bass.

    But - it takes practice of course. The beginning singer isn't able to pitch notes from hearing them in their head (necessarily) - and the beginning fretless player isn't able to pitch notes from hearing them in their head. Your fingers need to get real familiar with the fingerboard.

    Oh - and once you switch to fretless, you won't wanna go back :D
  3. i think that doesnt sound too overly hard, it would be wortyh it to get rid of all those awful looking frets and dots, ide rather have a nice dark sleek neck
  4. ConU


    Mar 5, 2003
    La Belle Province
    Get a fretless,practice real music on it,and the intonation comes, you have to listen...lines and memory don't always work...the ear never lies.What a beautiful instrument...it's a link to your own voice...
  5. junglebike

    junglebike Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2003
    San Diego, CA
    I love my fretless.

    Only downside is that it just doesn't slap the same...
  6. Chris A

    Chris A Chemo sucks!

    Feb 25, 2000
    Manchester NH
    slapping is different on fretless. You get more percussive sound and less pitch. I was never a big fan of fretless slapping, although I've read that some guys around here still do it. I play fretless most of the time except when I know I'll slap.

    Chris A.:rolleyes: :bassist:
  7. Bardolph


    Jul 28, 2002
    Grand Rapids, MI
    You could practice for fretless I suppose. If you have something metal like thymbals you could stick to your fingers you could just touch the strings with them instead of fretting a note... I don't know if that's a totally bogus idea or not, I thought of it just now.
  8. 5stringDNA


    Oct 10, 2002
    Englewood, CO
    Yah me no likeyfretless slap. I do however love teh tone of fingerstyle fretless. Its all about muscle memory and having a good ear/intonation liek was said before. I just sold my fretless 5 but am gonan get a new fretless 5 or 6 soon here to replace it...
  9. junglebike

    junglebike Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2003
    San Diego, CA
    Forgot the most important thing:

    Rondo's Cheap fretless basses

    You can get a fretless bass for $140 here, and throw it in the garbage (or sell it on ebay for $120) if you don't like it...

    If you do, you can upgrade the bridge and pickups for around $100 and have a bass that kicks the crap out of a MIM Fender.
  10. jaybo

    jaybo Guest

    Sep 5, 2001
    Richmond, KY
    Certainly muscle memory plays a role in good intonation on a fretless instrument but your ears are what you should pay attention to the most. Fretless bass is fun and is great for your ears.
  11. wow thanks you guys, what do you think about this one? I would love it, but is it worth it?HERE I wonder if they will ship to canada too? (oh yeah, i want the red one not the blue one, the red one has no fret lines)
  12. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    I like how you refer to moving to fretless as "upgrading" I've never thought of it like that....in a sense it is an upgrade, but thats not to say that the fretted world isn't full of depth.

    Some people have a thing against lined fretlesses, but I think its essential, especially if its your first one.

    the best fretless advice I can give you, is to practice in the dark on your fretted.(or with your eyes closed)
  13. Ryan K

    Ryan K

    Dec 11, 2002
    New Jersey
    i definately think ill get a lined one too before a leap to a blank fretboard though...
  14. ConU


    Mar 5, 2003
    La Belle Province
    The lines don't work without the ear,am I on the line?just before it?am i tuned?how come that position worked last week?Listening and adjusting as you play(I have a lined)takes time but it comes if you sing what you play,pitch and rhythm,perfect intonation is a lifelong pursuit...
  15. Sorry but I couldn't resist it. You could get black lines on an ebony fretboard like mine.:D This way you can see the lines but everyone else thinks it is unlined![​IMG]

    The best of both worlds

  16. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Hah, there's a sneaky, underhand trick! :D Pretend you're playing an unlined, eh? Never thought of that one... :D