#1
This is really beginning to bug me.

I have two basses, one fretless and one fretted. Now I tend to go back and forth on them and usually I can ear-play OK-ish using either.

Now recently I've noticed I'm beginning to struggle to differentiate between semi-tones, but only on my fretless. On my fretted bass I can tell the difference straight-away.

Any ideas what the problem can be? My hearing isn't brilliant, but I've been getting far better scores on hearing tests than in the past, which is a good thing.
#3
About the only way you are going to play or hear semi-tones on a fretted bass is by bending the strings, and this imparts characteristics and nuances to the sound that may be what is tipping you off - in other words, you are hearing the bend more than you are identifying a semi-tone. On a fretless bass, this isn't the case. The subtle differences in intonation can really throw you off. They aren't apparent when you are practicing by yourself or with a drum track, but throw in a guitar or a piano and suddenly you fell as if your intonation has gone straight to hell.

Fretless is a combination of muscle memory, feel and ear training. If your fretless fingerboard is unlined, use masking tape strips to mark the fingerboard until your fretting accuracy becomes second nature. Try playing notes with the bass plugged into a tuner and see how close you get to the actual note (do NOT do this with some hyper-accurate strobe tuner or you will drive yourself insane). You'll get it down in no time if you truly apply yourself. It isn't the easiest thing to do, but consider the fact that violins, violas, cellos and just about every other classical stringed instrument has a fretless fingerboard and you'll realize it isn't impossible.

EDIT: As a major Rush fan, it might help you to know that Geddy Lee has said in several interviews that he is having exactly the same problem with his Fender Relic Jaco Pastorius Jazz bass. You are in good company.
"Maybe this world is another planet's hell?" - Aldous Huxley
Last edited by FatalGear41 at Jun 11, 2010,
#4
When you learn a fretless instrument like violin or cello you get stickers to mark the notes to start with, until you've developed your ear enough to not need them, so makes sense to do the same with your bass. The masking tape thing sounds like a good plan to me.
#5
Quote by FatalGear41
EDIT: As a major Rush fan, it might help you to know that Geddy Lee has said in several interviews that he is having exactly the same problem with his Fender Relic Jaco Pastorius Jazz bass. You are in good company.


his solution was to play fast enough that no-one could hear he is out of tune

x
Fender Geddy Lee Jazz
Warwick Corvette $$
Rockbass Streamer Fretless
Hartke HA5000
SWR Triad

Quote by Victory2134
I happen to enjoy every mankiss from shinhoman.
#7
Scales, scales, scales, scales. Everybody knows what a major scale is supposed to sound like. Make sure you're starting note is right and then play the scales up and down (preferably in two octaves) listening to each interval.