Pulling away the veil...

Pulling away the veil...

Postby kennans » Thu Mar 15, 2012 2:59 am

Stuff I always hear;
"Playing fretless looks so hard."
"I wish I had the guts to play fretless."

The other night, this came up again, from some musicians I really respect. My standard response is along the lines of "it's not that hard", or "yeah, but I'm old and have been doing it forever."

Whatever the reason, I was having none of it the other night, and said "Look, right now there are probably close to a million 6 year old Asian girls who play little tiny violins with AT LEAST as good intonation as I do. Plus, nobody ever makes a big deal of upright players playing fretless either."

Right? Wrong? Discuss.
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Re: Pulling away the veil...

Postby noahvale » Thu Mar 15, 2012 3:58 am

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Pulling away the veil...

Postby ghiadub » Thu Mar 15, 2012 7:46 am

I am thinking we might need an international intonation throw down with Kennan and a few six year olds.

My main thing is being able to hear myself enough to have good intonation but not bee too loud.
"Play the music, not the instrument"

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Re: Pulling away the veil...

Postby DigthemLows » Thu Mar 15, 2012 9:37 am

I'd say the minute you feel comfortable on the neck of a bass, fretless should be fine. I'm talking "positions". I'd say the only time I've had problems with fretless would be playing a fast/steady disco type groove gets more tiring in the first position just because I need to press only a little bit harder without frets and my lazy ass isn't getting younger...........Other than that, you're right, nobody questions the upright, which is a physical workout compared to an electric (whole nother story [smilie=icon_biggrin.gif] ). I have been playing only fretless for a little over 2 years now and switch between electric and upright (sometimes on the same night) and don't think it's anything more than being comfortable. Hell if you're strings get out of tune, you're still good, I love that, just don't play open notes and make it through a song............Note sounds off?? move your finger a tiny bit, and whaa laaa! you're good to go!!
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Re: Pulling away the veil...

Postby GonzoBass » Thu Mar 15, 2012 10:04 am

I have a fretless.
It spends a lot of time in it's case.

... and I find this truly inspiring.


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Re: Pulling away the veil...

Postby aussiemark » Thu Mar 15, 2012 2:53 pm

Playing a fretless bass with the same neck profile, scale length, and neck width as one of your fretted basses is not difficult at all - the hand and fingers know where to go. It only gets tricky if you try to be Jaco, but playing basic rock, blues or country on a fretless on a bass type you are familiar with is not that scary. I used to alternate between a fretted and fretless Stingray on classic rock and blues gigs and my left hand just knew where to go.
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Re: Pulling away the veil...

Postby Golem » Thu Mar 15, 2012 4:57 pm

ghiadub wrote:
My main thing is being able to hear myself enough
to have good intonation but not bee too loud.

+1 ... emphasis added [above].

Occasionally, when someone asks to sit in I'll hand them
my ax. Some turn it down for lack of frets, but there's a
coupla friends that will just ignore the "problem" and do
OK, even tho they are not fretless players, except when
sitting in playing my ax.

Maybe what enables them is that they actually CAN hear
themselves. It's the Diva duo, no drums or geetards, and
they have her KB for a continual pitch reference.

As to what puts peeps offa trying FL is, I think, the myth
of intonation. When the Petersen Strobo Tuner was still
a new phenom, I recall a thread [somewheres] by some
anal-esque FL'er who practiced to a Petersen to perfect
his pitch. Now this is a nuanced carefully worded thing,
but I'll say he mighta been perfecting his pitch, but NOT
his intonation ... if ya read me ?

Now you just click here, and you'll see something to put
a heap of myth to rest, IOW to tear away the veil:


What you'll see is a fretted bass with zillions of extra
frets, cuz it's designed to compensate for the reality of
frets ... that they're often NOT where the music wants
them to be !



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Re: Pulling away the veil...

Postby 57RIP » Fri Mar 30, 2012 8:40 pm

I've dabbled with fretless before. I've dabbled with 5 string before. Didn't really bond... About 6 months ago I bought a 5 string f'less, lined. And it was built in Westerly, RI where I was born. A little extra incentive... I started to play it when practicing and things actually began to gel. Then I traded a kala Ubass for a Boulder Creek fretless ABG, 4 string lined... Whoa this sounds nice! Recently snagged a very sweet lined fretless Stngray that i just love. I'm up to maybe 10 out of 30 with my acoustic thing.

Singing lead is not easy with fretless yet though. I can get through some country root five stuff but keeping eye contact with the audience is iffy and presentation counts, so I usually pick up my Godin with speed bumps.

The take away ? Get an instrument that will make you want to buckle down... Lined v unlined ? Well unlined sure looks better. The lines sure do help with the singing... Even backup singing. If it weren't for that, I would already be practicing on an unlined board.
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