#1


Got this new thing a while back. I've been fiddling around with it ever since, but I'd like to know a couple good starting points when tackling fretless bass. What are some good fretless songs to start with? Thanks in advance.

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#3
The thing with fretless is to build up your muscle memory- remember, your fingers are going in different positions to your fretted instruments. You also need to train your ear. I would scrap songs and woodshed with scale practices, and drone practices. This is where you record a tone, then play the note on your fretless, trying to match it.
#4
One of the all-time fretless bass classics is Weather Report's A Remark You Made. Jaco's fretless work on it is spectacular, and it is not difficult at all. It is just a lot to remember. Try it. You'll love it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F02mBkBoMQw
"Maybe this world is another planet's hell?" - Aldous Huxley
Last edited by FatalGear41 at Oct 10, 2014,
#6
I've been playing fretless for almost a decade but I only started getting good at it in the last year or so. Here's my list of handy hints:

1. If you have an bare rosewood fingerboard then invest in some light gauge flatwounds. Roundwonds don't only tear up the wood but they dig in which reduces the sustain and mwaaaah.

2. When people say you put your finger on the fret instead of behind it, they don;t actually mean that. What they mean is that the end of your finger should be where the tip of the fret would be. You'd think this means you don;t have to alter your technique but nope. This means you need to completely change your technique as the mass of your fingertips is taken into account, i.e. your little finger needs to be further along than your index finger. Have fun with that one.

3. Setup is a hundred times more important on a fretless, especially string action and neck relief. Fretless requires a lot more stamina and high string action will **** about with your intonation.

Practice tips:

4. Ignore the virtuosos for now, start simple. Try playing things you already know how to play on a fretted.

5. Practice with a song or backing track at all times, this is the only way your intonation will get better.

6. Practice exercises or songs with lots of 4ths, 5ths and octaves. Your ears will more easily pick up on any bad intonation. Using harmonics in chords helps a lot.

7. Always practice with a fretless, it can only improve your overall technique and will take nothing away from your fretted playing.

Quick list of songs that are great for learning fretless (but aren't all played on a fretless.) In order of difficulty:

RATM - Bullet In The Head
Stevie Wonder - Master Blaster
Paul Simon - Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes
Jackson 5 - I Want You Back

Songs that you all should learn anyway but I found them particularly helpful in improving my technique.

p.s. Slap technique is exactly the same on a fretless.
p.s.p.s. Impress your friends with slide harmonics.
#7
After playing fretless for 8 years and upright for slightly less, I'm only going to stress one thing. Intonation is paramount. Do exercises that will get your intonation in line. Because you can play like a demon, but if you are off key, its going to sound like shit.
#9
It's pretty unhelpful to have bad side markers but due to the angle you view the bass at, I've found side markers to be more of a hindrance in general on fretlesses.
#10
Thanks everyone. I threw flats on it immediately. Rosewood is the devil. For a short review, this is a pretty nice bass for being a poor man's Tony Franklin. Really nice setup out of the box. The only issue I'm having right now with it is there are side markers on EVERY fret. Pretty silly. I've gotten a better feel of where I should be on the fretboard, but I usually get lost with some more complex material (Wynona's Big Brown Beaver).
#11
Here's something that will give you a work out physically, as well as stretch your theory muscles. I was having a FB back and forth with a guy who plays a lot of layered solo compositions on fretless. He said the hardest thing on fretless is to hold some of the chords he does. Get yourself some funky chords and inversions, and do some guitar-esque fingerpicking stuff.
#12
Quote by FatalGear41
One of the all-time fretless bass classics is Weather Report's A Remark You Made. Jaco's fretless work on it is spectacular, and it is not difficult at all. It is just a lot to remember. Try it. You'll love it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F02mBkBoMQw

I'm really digging this. A Weather Report song that I can actually play
#13
Quote by Black Ox
I'm really digging this. A Weather Report song that I can actually play


Take a listen to the original Heavy Weather recording. Much nicer tone IMO.
There are transcriptions of this tune on the net.
#14
Quote by Black Ox
I'm really digging this. A Weather Report song that I can actually play


Yes; Jaco took pity on us mere mortals with this one! It is without a doubt, one of his most soulful compositions. Even the video does not do it justice. We should all play it at least once per day; every day!
"Maybe this world is another planet's hell?" - Aldous Huxley