My intonation sucked!

My intonation sucked!

Postby Armybass » Wed May 23, 2007 4:49 am

I played a jazz gig with one of the quartets I play in. It was a great gig and I love the group. I used my jazz and decided to bring the new fretless Sterling along. It wasn't horrible but playing in a jazz group with a guitar player who uses a hollow body and plays lots of low notes kinda outed my intonation last night. It has been a good while since I have had a fretless (although I ply upright a lot) and I had a bit more confidence than I should have I guess. Oh well, I will bone up a little more and plan on taking it to my trio gig next Friday.

Postby kennans » Wed May 23, 2007 8:53 am

Intonation is the lesson you never stop learning. Seems to me that the people who tell you that they nail it actually have the farthest to go.

First fretless gig in how long? With a new bass? And a guitarist who plays low notes on a hollowbody? Why didn't you just wear a blindfold too?

I think you'll be okay, Scott!
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Postby harleyyy » Wed May 23, 2007 9:20 am

Leo, considered it as inspiration. [smilie=cool-smiley-031.gif]
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Re: My intonation sucked!

Postby ghiadub » Wed May 23, 2007 9:29 am

Armybass wrote:guitar player who uses a hollow body and plays lots of low notes

This is one of my pet peeves, especially if they have an amp that projects the lower octaves well.
It just makes everything sound muddy and hard to distinguish your note from the mush.

How the hell anyone can play a fretless "in tune" when a guitarist or keyboardist is stepping all over their aural territory is a mystery to me.

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Postby onamission » Wed May 23, 2007 10:23 am

It is what it is Scott, Don't sweat it. I'd rather have the Keys than the Guitard. Usually the Keys pretty much stick to chords or at least a left hand "Bass" chord while doing solo stuff with the right hand. The guitar can just hose the whole thing up if they like playing low end arpeggios etc. Hey Guitard's, Stick to chords or the high end!!
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Postby Chuck M » Wed May 23, 2007 3:15 pm

One of the guitarists I work with plays frequently with only a singer/drummer. She plays a 7 string Benedetto and plays a lot of bass notes. However, she respects the bass chair and stays out of my territory when I am on the gig.

Played a little gig the other day. I was having to play very sharp to make things sound right. I asked for time to check tuning and found my Jaco bass was right on. Someone had turned the tuning pot on the keyboard! LOL. I could hardly ever get my fingers in a right sounding place before we corrected that!

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Postby nolabass » Wed May 23, 2007 3:31 pm

Standing waves are bad. Mmm-Kay

I wish more people understood sonic territory and if players stay in their sonic space there is a lot The band has a "sound" and it breaths and makes it easy to hear on stage. This is the big reason I play flats and stick mainly to fundamental registers. What sounds dull and flat by itself blends great under a band.

Ask any recording engineer and they might say acoustic guitars or low hollowbody guitar tones and frettless is a mess to record. Your ear drum just spends so much time trying to discern a note in all the warbling its almost impossible to get it right all night long in a less than perfect acoustic environment.

My ear has trouble hearing well with a lot of ambient room noise anyway.... you guys have way better ears and skills than me. I wouldn't have a prayer even getting through that gig Scott.
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Postby Armybass » Wed May 23, 2007 4:48 pm

Don't let me give the wrong impression of my guitarists.
He is a gem of a player and a great guy. When he goes low, I go high with my lines. I love his playing but it was just a bear last night with the fretless. If I were on it would not have been a problem. This cat is a very accomplished jazz guitar player. Much more accomplished than I am on fretless. I just need to shed more before I try that in front of peeps again.

But thanks for all the kind words of support.

Postby froover » Wed May 23, 2007 7:23 pm

Chuck M wrote:
Played a little gig the other day. I was having to play very sharp to make things sound right. I asked for time to check tuning and found my Jaco bass was right on. Someone had turned the tuning pot on the keyboard! LOL. I could hardly ever get my fingers in a right sounding place before we corrected that!


thats a bit of a classic

the thing that drives me mad (although its not something i have to deal with in my normal situatuions, just when i get roped into musical theatre) is neglected upright pianos in freezing cold village halls

it is liberating playing with my on and off live drums/dj/me trio tho, having no conventional pitched instruments to clash with

However, at the end of the six months they decided to keep Judy on, so Sharon got pushed down a flight of stairs and Judy was given a pacemaker
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Postby Father Gino » Thu May 24, 2007 6:49 am

+1 on the sonic space idea. I'm usually playing these days in this SRV kinda trio but once in a while we've done some duo things with no drummer. I thought the fretless would be so great in that situation… visions of old Hot Tuna dancing in my head. But the reality was sadly quite different. Couldn't hear shit under the rather bass heavy acoustic guitar.

EQ has a lot to do with it too. If you're playing an acoustic guitar all by yourself, those bass tones are not so bad. But if you've got a bass player, thin that thing out some! Same thing in spades for electric keyboards.

It's just another instance of musicians not really listening to what's going on. Not realizing that it's the sound of the whole band that matters more than any one instrument in it.
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Re: My intonation sucked!

Postby Trane Francks » Fri May 25, 2007 3:48 pm

Scott, I know you probably already tweaked everything really well, but in such a situation, getting out front of your cab and upping the high-mids would probably help a lot. Just a thought, bro.
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Re: My intonation sucked!

Postby jfh4242 » Sat May 26, 2007 5:00 am

Dividing up sonic space is a necessary discussion in any jazz band. It would be nice if it could be done with no discussion, but often it is not the case.

Interestingly, I am often pretty guilty of messing things up, not others. A lot of the cool notes on the fretless are around the 10th to 12th fret. I like to play there, but then the keys have to adjust to me being in that range.

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Re: My intonation sucked!

Postby oogie boogie » Mon May 28, 2007 10:15 am

A lot of keyboard players especially are bad about sonic territory, but that comes from them playing solo rather frequently. They just get yused to covering the low end. Another thing of course is tonality. I mean just listen to the tones Bernie Worrel uses along with Billy Bass in old P-Funk stuf. That Mini and that electric are right in with each other. Listen to Not Just Knee Deep and you'll see what I mean. As far as how it relates to fretless, you just have to shape your tone and play your notes accordingly. A fretless has a pretty wide range of tones, so use why not use them? You don't necessarily have to have an out-in-front tone either, just one that does the job of filling the space out and making the une work well.

And regarding intonation, yup it's life long, and nobody ever gets it perfect all the time. Mine's still shaky when I'm not at top form, and for now, there's no way I'll play fretless in the studio. It just costs too much getting the intonation dead on, and I'm not cool with autotuning.

Funnily enough, I was just watching Alain Caron blow a few sour ones, and I could even see a little twitch in his face as he "oops"'ed. No biggie, we all just keep working on it.

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