#1
This is mostly a hidden "how should I do it" topic, but hidden well.

How did you learn Fretless? Did you start on lined and work the muscle memory or jump straight into fretted? I'm soon to get a cheap, lined fretless that probably plays like crap, but I assume it'd be good to learn on untill I feel comfortable splashing out on a much more playable, unlined bass. Or would this idea still force me to rely on sight as much as memory?

Either way, how did you break yourself into it?
#2
The key to fretless bass isn't muscle memory or sight. It's about your ears. Sure you can look down and see where you are but even the lines will be out of tune some days, others it will be spot on. It all depends on your ear.
#3
I started on a lined. Now I can play that thing pretty well up to the 19th fret, but I sound like I'm murdering small woodland creatures when I play my unlined. It's a trickier transition than I thought.
#4
Start on lined for sure. Constantly play your fretless and youll get the hang of it..I would recommend getting lines just because visually it helps when your jumping up and down the neck, other than that just basic practice will help you Im sure.
#5
Start on a fretted bass. When playing a fretted bass, you shouldn't be like a guitar player and press anywhere in the box - you need to put your fingers right beside the frets so you can feel them. Make sure every time you fret a note, you feel the fret. Once you get the hang of that, playing fretless should have little or no learning curve at all. The reason I bought a fretless was because I was so amazed at how 'easy it was' and how well I could play it.
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#6
Quote by Hergiswi
I started on a lined. Now I can play that thing pretty well up to the 19th fret, but I sound like I'm murdering small woodland creatures when I play my unlined. It's a trickier transition than I thought.



The comment about the small woodland creatures made me lmao. That pretty much describes how it sounds when I try to play chords on my unlined fretless.

However, I am going to buck the trend and say, start on an unlined. Jazz is right; playing a fretless is more about ear training first and then matching the muscle memory to that. Lined its going to train your eyes rather than your ears.

Play open string scales at first, this will allow you to tune the scale to intonate to the open and in "tune" strings. Then from there work the thirds, fifths and even 10ths. Your ear should be able to tell if you are in tune to the root notes Play songs you already know by muscle memory. Most unlined have "dots" on the side of the neck as a guide as well. This is where you finger goes (or in the case of my Stingray, slightly in front of it).

Good luck--fretless basses are damn sexy and fun to play.
#7
Well, I play completely from muscle memory, but then again, it's how I trained my fretless playing up, and I check my intonation every week without fail. Like a Satanic ritual, but with with less Satan and more allen keys.

And Tam, are you actually setting aside that money for the Urge?
#8
Quote by Deliriumbassist
Well, I play completely from muscle memory, but then again, it's how I trained my fretless playing up, and I check my intonation every week without fail. Like a Satanic ritual, but with with less Satan and more allen keys.

And Tam, are you actually setting aside that money for the Urge?


Yes--I am but I may have to let the fund sit for a bit and play catch up after the new year with Christmas coming and my husband's birthday in Dec. He's been drooling after some really nice Zildjian cymbals. And I though bassists were massive gear freaks

And Ben, If I remember you have a bit of unique challenge with your overall hearing. I am amazed on how you play fretless--you must have amazing muscle memory and a precise mind.
Last edited by anarkee at Nov 3, 2007,
#12
I've just defretted an old bass so I got the lines. I'm gonna see how I go without looking at the fretboard and maybe invest in a lineless one when i get the money
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#13
Right now I am training myself to play fiddle which has no markers and not even very much space between them. On my fretless bass I can be a few cents off without anybody noticing, but any sloppiness on the fiddle will have the audience run for the emergency exit and clear the building within seconds, so to avoid dangerous stampedes it is important to be accurate. The trick is to recognize and aim for the Really Sweet Spots. A spot on note has that particular right feel to it, as if you can really feel the harmonic resonances getting together. It is that subtle but important difference between hearing only with your ears and hearing with all your body and soul. It's like getting in tune with the beauty of the universe.
Recognizing the Notes of Devine Purity is not difficult and neither is learning them to play. Hitting a sequence of them is so utterly satisfying that it works as a hard drug. Once you've had the kick you'll crave for more, so you'll keep practising for sure. After a while the Really Sweet Spots will present themselves as if they were real, physical holes in the fingerboard where your fingers fit better then elsewhere.
#14
Upright helps you with your ear, strength, speed and voicing. And you can apply the learning techniques. You take the hand positions from the fretted e-bass and transfer them to the fretless, and use your trained ear to stay in tune so you can develop your positioning better.
The jazz student
#15
Yes the whole playing with the side of your fingers thing is really starting to tick me off. I got a couple of huge blisters the other day but lack of practice has allowed them to die back down, and I'm typing in perfect time with For those about to rock- Ac/Dc. Just thought I'd point that out.
#16
This reminds me, how did you all train your ear? I have tried and tried but I find it near-impossible to tune from ear, I can barely recognize notes. How did you become accustomed to it?
#18
See I use my theory as in, I know what note is where on my fretboard. I don't...hear the note, I guess, I just know where it is.
#19
Quote by RJayZ
This reminds me, how did you all train your ear? I have tried and tried but I find it near-impossible to tune from ear, I can barely recognize notes. How did you become accustomed to it?

Tuning with one of those pitch whistle things will help you a lot. Or even better, search google for an online tuner which should have all the notes, not just EADG(BE). They should have audio for each note. Practice by using that. Lastly, you can also tune to a piano/keyboard.
#20
I have a shiny lined fretless. I've found it to be a matter of learning the intonation quirks of the instrument...and playing accordingly. I feel like im getting better everytime I pick it up
Granted, that might have something to do with not having a very good ear...

>_>

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