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MacDaddy

Playing fretless bass?

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Time for me to interject as the OP.

My bass journey began on classical guitar and that is the technique I brought to my bass playing. 

I've always played fretted. Over the years I've had a fiddle with fretless, but never got on with them.

That is until I played Frank Black's Rob Allen Mouse at the last SE Bass Bash.

I have being fortunate to procure my own, which is lined, and after initially having my gaze locked on the neck, I'm now playing with a mixture of neck glancing, positional play, and by ear. 

 

IMG_20190329_003730.jpg

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2 hours ago, MacDaddy said:

I've always played fretted. Over the years I've had a fiddle with fretless, but never got on with them.

 That is until I played Frank Black's Rob Allen Mouse at the last SE Bass Bash.

 I have being fortunate to procure my own...

So glad you are liking the Mouse and so glad I could be involved with your choice to get one.

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Posted (edited)

On what you should and should not be doing:

I delight in doing what I am not supposed to be doing, that way can lead to unusual and unexpected outcomes. I don’t wanna be a cookie cutter bass player.

Edited by PunkPonyPrincess
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When I started playing bass I bought a fretless, it’s all I’ve ever played.  With practice it becomes second nature. 

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2 hours ago, Ambassient said:

When I started playing bass I bought a fretless, it’s all I’ve ever played.  With practice it becomes second nature. 

I think that does this whole thread. Just play it, a LOT and often. Keep it on a stand nearby so you pick it up frequently. You'll soon find you are listening to pitch (not a thing you bother doing on fretted, generally) and feeding that back to the left hand. It's just time and effort (and decent ears I suppose).

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I took my fretless to a rehearsal and managed to play everything on it. Once or twice I got cocky and tried to do a big position shift without looking...

Decided not to use it for Sunday, although back when I was gigging regularly I used to use it on a few songs each night.

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I love playing fretless, am in a “ feeling really positive about my intonation” phase, which means I use it as much as possible. Won’t last, but such is... just keep on practising :)

 

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Times I do use fretted  bass is when I am asked to play bass and gonzo punk guitar (via a pedal that needs a bit of unused string muting) at the same time as singing main lyrics — that’s a little bit much for me right now. 

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Great thread, thanks for all of the thoughts and experience shared here. Yes, even the disgruntled poster contributed valid ideas, please don't judge them too harshly - I have been there it's not a pleasant place. 

One aside, as a result of the Pino chat I decided to listen to a few of the recommended tracks. I knew nothing of the man other than his name, it does get bandied hereabouts so it's hard not to have heard it. 

Sowing The Seeds Of Love was a massive hit when I was in my 20s and Tears for Fears very much on my radar, especially as they grew out of a local band.

I doubt I've listened to the song for decades now and was astonished on hearing it again. I honestly had no idea it was a simple tribute to the Beatles. At the time it seemed cutting edge but it could have been written by Neil Innes! 

Anyway I'm off to listen to more recommendations. Carry on. 

 

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I've just reread the thread and can't find much mention of using drones (not the flying variety) when working on intonation* - I'm definitely one of those awful 'phony' fretless amateurs who bought one on a whim and gets it out of the case once a year, but I've found that working with a fixed pitch reference has been invaluable in getting my intonation together on upright, so I don't see why it wouldn't translate to fretless

 

 

*If you've mentioned this and I've missed it then apologies.

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57 minutes ago, TKenrick said:

...but I've found that working with a fixed pitch reference has been invaluable in getting my intonation together on upright, so I don't see why it wouldn't translate to fretless

It does. I use this method a lot.

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5 hours ago, Frank Blank said:

It does. I use this method a lot.

What is this method? Please explain this black magic 😁

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Just bought a fretless. As I was en-route to a gig it came with me. He'd a playful noodle in the sound check. Sounded gorgeous so I went for it. Half time break and only a couple of dodgy moments and only a handful of gratuitous sliding into the final note. 

I'm loving this

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My main 'squeeze' is a fretless Jazz/Musicman hybrid. I have fretted basses for playing live with bands etc.. but at home I'll plump for the fretless every time; there's just something about the timbre of the notes that I love. 

I don't approach it as a 'fretless' instrument, just another bass. My technique doesn't (consciously) alter though. Occasionally I'll drop in some of the techniques that are associated with fretless bass (sliding/vibrato etc...) but I honestly can't remember the last time I did it during a performance. 

 

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On 31/03/2019 at 14:53, Frank Blank said:

Man alive... That's some frothy playing right there!

Yes, but no-one has mentioned the Elephant in the room - guitarist is looking at his hands... ;)

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