Fretless Playing: From Rookie Too... ???

Hardy

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Hi mates! And ladies? No, ok: I just start with playing fretless. I bought the Infy fretless maybe 5 years ago from St. Schlo who as always sold a nice Wick to a thankful forumer. So far I wept away the dust and installed Rotosound strings with black coatings. Today (after this video tbh) I the first time made a proper setup, low action, good intonation. Not perfect intonation, but this may be another story. In the background you hear one of our own songs. I started playing this bass maybe 4 weeks ago. Now I want to improve. Means: tips and critical comments are welcome!

Please don’t share the video, it’s for training only. Cheers!


 

Stainless

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I prefer Flats on Fretless Basses but anyway :) Nice sound, the PU-Configuration of the Infinity is perfect for fretless sound :cool:
Sometimes it looks like you would press too much your thumb of your left hand against the neck. Relax it a little bit more, I do it also sometimes :)
And you don't like to use your little finger, do you?
 
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Hardy

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I prefer Flats on Fretless Basses but anyway :) Nice sound, the PU-Configuration of the Infinity is perfect for fretless sound :cool:
Sometimes it looks like you would press too much your thumb of your left hand against the neck. Relax it a little bit more, I do it also sometimes :)
And you don't like to use your little finger, do you?

The strings are Rotosound RS88LD Black Nylon. The click you hear because I have increased treble. I still need this to check the intonation of the played tones. I have to reduce this later.

And yes, you are right: always when I play a new technique or a difficult passage I use too much pressure. Later this gets more relaxed.

The little finger I don´t really need in this song imo. The tones are all within three "frets", only one passage (fully played on the D string) I could maybe play with the little finger. Or what do you think?

Thanks for the reply!
 

Hardy

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The best way to get better at fretless bass is to play more fretless bass. simple..

Maybe, maybe not. I used the wrong paying technique with fretted basses for more than 10 years. Now I already try more than 2 years to wash away these wrong experiences. That´s why I want to start playing fretless in the right way from the very beginning.
 
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Whats a wrong technique?

Just play heaps and develop your own. many great bass players have whacky techniques and thats what makes them great.
 

Florin

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By far the best advice I can give to you is take it out to a gig, and prepare yourself for it :) It is scary I know it, but otherwise you will probably never do it because you are never "good enough". It is just an instrument, and it is quite fun to play it. Put some big ass white stickers on top of the frettboard, about the right edge of the finger (not in the middle), and just put the finger there. And listen to the band, there is no other way to play in tune :) Listen, and adjust the finger after each note, you will be quicker and quicker.
Then you will see you get much more ways of expression, the sound is cleaner, it cuts the mix better, and you might be better in tune too, since you don't really have visual refference, you play with what you hear, and if your guitarist or vocal is not exactly in tune, you can play with them in a musical way.
That worked for me mate, I decided to have a gig with fretless, and as scared as I was I did it. Never looked back. Well until now (sold my fretless unfortunately)
For training- my approach was to first set the refferences. I first got the 7th fret octaves right, 5th fret unison with next stings, then fifths and octaves in position. Let's say open E, E on A string 7th fret, 5th on D string 9th fret, octave on G string, etc. Playing fretless is all muscle memory. It is good you are studying proper left hand technique, it should make the transition to fretless really smooth.
- Don't use mwah too much- look for a clean steady sound, then mwah will shine in the right places.
 

DiMarco

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Great song to start with, there is lots of space in there to play little fills and go up the octave just for practice. It allows you to further develop your feel for fretless playing.

I sense you're playing very carefully here, trying to 'do it right'. This will automatically disappear when you got used to the fretless, and you will then play from the heart rather then the mind. Keep it up!
 

BrusselsBass

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KEEP IT UP - its fun.
Exercising on scales give muscle memory, playing chords /arpeggios also help to get the intonation right. Walking bass ... After 3-6 months you will improve a lot.
I'm now since 2 years into fretless, so still at an early stage...
The good thing is, if you're not on the fret, it doesn't buzz.
 

PaulS

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More than anything , it’s about your ears. You have to play it a lot, and the only way to really know if you are doing well, is to play with the band, and listen to make sure you are in. It’s tough to start, but once you get used to it, you won’t even think about it. When I first started playing fretless, I made sure to bring it and a fretted bass to practice. Did this because eventually my ears would get “tired” and I couldn’t hit the right notes. It eventually went away. Good luck buddy.
 

Hardy

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So after 9 months: I took my fretless out to a gig and played the first set with it. And it worked! Not perfectly but now I dare to say I can do this.

This is s short vid from today. Comments and critics are welcome! I want to learn.

 

DiMarco

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I find setting up a fretless bass is very meticulous work.
You want to aim for the strings resonating just enough with the fingerboard, but also keeping its sustain.
Whenever the seasons change I find myself readjusting the trussrod on my fretless.

I haven't played it in a couple of months now though...
 

Hardy

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I try to use fretted, fretless and 8 string regularly. Also playing with pic and fingerstyle, slapping, hammer ons etc. But right, setting up the basses, changing strings, warming up eats a lot of time.
 

BrusselsBass

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Rookie Jazz (with Bill Evans)
difficult to start the camera & play :)
Don't know why appear to be left handed
 
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