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Zoe_BillySheehan

Best basslines for a FRETLESS beginner?

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Hello!

I haven't been around on this forum in ages! It's good to be back!

 

Today my Fender Jazz Special made a friend! I purchased my first fretless bass, a Squier Jazz Fretless.

 

I'm just getting to grips with playing it, and I'd love to know what fretless songs you think would be good practice for me.

 

Thanks!

 

ZH😁

 

 

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I'd say practice the songs you already know to start. Playing a fretless takes a little getting used to at first. You have to finger the notes slightly sharp - on the fret-line rather than behind it - so it's handy to start with something you are familiar with. You need to concentrate on getting good, solid accurately intonated notes before moving to things like slides and vibrato. Have fun.

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1 minute ago, Dan Dare said:

I'd say practice the songs you already know to start. Playing a fretless takes a little getting used to at first. You have to finger the notes slightly sharp - on the fret-line rather than behind it - so it's handy to start with something you are familiar with. You need to concentrate on getting good, solid accurately intonated notes before moving to things like slides and vibrato. Have fun.

Cheers Dan!

 

This is what I've started off doing, getting used to playing sharp has been a little strange!

Starting to get used to it already though, started off with making sure I could hit the octaves to open strings to check intonation etc... excited to learn to new stuff! 😊

 

ZH

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In my experience of fretless playing, the meat of your finger needs to be behind the fretline, so the side of the fretting finger meets the fretline. Because fingers are quite fat, if you play directly over the the fretline, then part of your fat finger will be behind the line and some past the line, and will make the note sharp.

You will also find that the further up the neck you play, this finger position will change slightly, due to the physics of fretless. 

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Congratulations on your new bass! 

And welcome to the wonderful world of fretless 😎

In addition to the above advice, maybe have some fun practicing playing familiar patterns/riffs/songs without looking at the fretboard too much. Great way of training your ears, hearing intonation, and not as scary as it seems. 

 

 

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I play my Cort fretless more than than my fretted. If rock's your bag then I'd say try out some of the tunes on Pearl Jam's 10. Other must listens are No Parlez by Paul Young, Graceland by Paul Simon, a Sade hits compilation and any Police albums. Sting mainly played fretless, though I could be wrong but he did in the earlier days

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Posted (edited)

Police - Every little thing

Double bass ideas, try So what

Eagles - One of these nights

Sade and that song, where the bass has a short solo... Smooth operator

Oleta Adams - Get here

Morphine, any song (fretless two-string with slide...)

Fernando Saunders - The Spin

Some harder and really hard stuff: Peter Gabriel - So, Paul Young - Secret of association, Tribal Tech, CAB (Bunny Brunel)

Here are many more: https://www.talkbass.com/threads/what-are-some-good-fretless-bass-songs.7100/

Edited by itu
forgot the great and elegant Larry Klein
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I've been doing this chromatic exercise on my upright bass & also on my fretless, and I'm finding it good for intonation.

 

 

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Bad Company - Can't get enough of your love, Feel like making love. Hackneyed but you may decide to abandon fretted altogether as you can play everything fretless.

Marillion - Sugar Mice. Like much of Pete Trewavas's work, it's more like an extended bass solo than a song, as he plays so many variations. Gets you up the neck (and discovering what an impediment the Fender neck joint is).

Any Paul Young/Pino Palladino song.

Any other song that you fancy. Just because it was originally done on a fretted bass doesn't mean you can't play it on a fretless. I generally use a fretless for gigs with the covers band and the originals band.

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Pino played some lovely stuff on the early Nick Heyward and Julia Fordham albums that is well worth a listen.

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Don't know your ability on fretted bass so its a little more difficult to suggest something that you are comfortable with plus i don't know what style of music you listen to altho having Mr Sheehan in your name i'm guessing its more rock based.

How about some Tony Franklin 

 

 

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For simple, Larry Klein's playing on Boys of Summer is nice and understated, but requires precision. For nice and busy with a challenging outro Pino on Paul Young's I'm Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down. You could actually do worse than just study Pino's '80s work with: PY, Go West, Joan Armatrading, Gary Numan, the list goes on. Of course much of the early Stones' work was done by Bill Wyman on a fretless. For me, although he has already been mention, Boz Burrell is often overlooked, as he often avoids the slides and vibrato we usually associate with fretless.

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9 minutes ago, dmccombe7 said:

How about some Tony Franklin 

 

 

I hadn't heard of TF until I was at a guitar show and saw him beating so much hell out of his Fender signature that I thought it was going to scream; just fantastic. An amazing player with quite an aggressive technique - I like him.

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11 minutes ago, dmccombe7 said:

Don't know your ability on fretted bass so its a little more difficult to suggest something that you are comfortable with plus i don't know what style of music you listen to altho having Mr Sheehan in your name i'm guessing its more rock based.

How about some Tony Franklin 

 

 

Thank you! I've been listening to some Tony Franklin and he is incredible! 

 

I'm mostly into rock, but when it comes to bass playing I'm open to all genres 😊

 

Cheers again, 

 

Zoe 

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As already said, don't think of fretless as a different instrument to a fretted. Its exactly the same but just has a different voice and tonal expression due to having no frets. Play exactly the same stuff as you would a fretted but use your ear to hear if your technique is slightly off and adjust. If your technique is strong, transitioning from a fretless to a fretless will be a breeze. Just gets tricky up at the dusty end as intonation is much harder.

 

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Check out some Mick Karn, definitely my main fretless inspiration.

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2 minutes ago, Linus27 said:

Just gets tricky up at the dusty end as intonation is much harder.

This ^ for some reason I tend to write bass lines ‘up the dusty end’ on fretless, I just like the tone up there, but intonation is harder but then again that will make you a better player.

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8 minutes ago, ezbass said:

I hadn't heard of TF until I was at a guitar show and saw him beating so much hell out of his Fender signature that I thought it was going to scream; just fantastic. An amazing player with quite an aggressive technique - I like him.

Saw him with The Firm back in mid 80's and was hugely impressed by him. Think he was using Jaydee basses at that time.

Loved the sound on the album with Jimmy Page and Paul Rodgers.

Exceptional bassist. Little odd at times but can't take away his ability on fretless. Very aggressive style.

Dave

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Others that influenced me over the years of varying degree Jack Bruce having the biggest influence :-

Jack Bruce

Percy Jones

Pino

John Giblin

Mo Foster 

Michael Manring

Steve Bailley

Mark Egan

Mick Karn

Jaco

Alain Caron

Steve Lawson

 

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10 hours ago, Zoe_BillySheehan said:

Hello!

I haven't been around on this forum in ages! It's good to be back!

Hey Zoe :D welcome back! Great to see you again.

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Welcome back Zoe!


Once you're getting comfortable try 'New York Minute' by Don Henley (Pino Palladino) and 'Breathing' / 'Babooshka' by Kate Bush (John Giblin)

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A song I'd recommend is "April" on Brand X's "Product" album - its by John Giblin.

As it's not fast or with the bass buried under vocals and other instruments, it's easier than many to figure out and is just a nice, melodic line that sounds so good on fretless that I still keep coming back to.☺️

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Some of Pearl Jam's songs are played on a fretless. Nice and simple, so you can get used to playing a fretless.

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