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Best basslines for a FRETLESS beginner?


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John Myung plays fretless on a handful of dream theater songs - "Through Her Eyes", "Far From Heaven", "Hollow Years", "Peruvian Skies", "Hell's Kitchen" and "The Silent Man".  More as a novelty piece for him I suspect. 

Also have a listen to Peter frampton's 'Frampton comes alive' Stanley Sheldon plays fretless throughout. 

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"Alive" by Pearl Jam is a cover band classic, a great song, and a great way to get used to fretless without having to do anything too difficult. 

There's also a hal Leonard instructional book on Fretless Bass (I think it's called fretless bass techniques and one of the contributors is Bunny Brunel... I could be wrong I'll edit when I get home if I need to) and that book has some great exercises for tastefully applying slides, vibrato etc. 

As others have said fretless is not a different instrument, you don't have to slide and vibrato all the time and you can just play anything on it... It is fun to whack in a sliding harmonic every now and then though :)

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Edited by uk_lefty
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I would like to suggest starting with the Intro for Wherever I Lay My Hat (Paul Young) with Pino on bass, arguably it has to be the classic fretless bassline of the past 40 years?  The intro is not that hard to play but challenging enough to get it completely right and, hopefully that will inspire you into the rest of the song which is more challenging but not impossible

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People often forget one of the first bassists in a popular band using fretless was Boz Burrell of Bad Company. And some great bass lines he produced as well.

Songs like I Can't Get Enough of Your Love and Feel Like Making Love are on Fretless and sound far better on one in my opinion. They're also not too difficult and thus excellent for a fretless beginner. Best of luck with it. 

Edited by drTStingray
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19 minutes ago, bearhart74 said:

 

Whilst this is a reworked/cover version. New York Minute combines one of the most beautiful songs of the last few decades with some of the most musical fretless work you will ever hear. It brings a tear to my eye every time I hear it even after so many years.

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Any of John Giblin's work from Fish's solo album 'Vigil In A Wilderness Of Mirrors'. This is a particular favourite; the mid 2.23 to 3.14 is just genius. Proper goosebump stuff. The whole album is a bass masterclass.

 

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And for the love of God... make sure your bass is in tune. Every time...

 

I have a cheap Precision style bass that I had converted, with D'Addario nylon tapewounds and a Model P pickup, and it's got a lovely lovely sound. I have owned a couple of 'better' fretless basses but sold them and kept this.

Anyway! I'm mostly a fretless owner rather than player. I play it at home sometimes, then go for weeks or months without touching it... as a result I haven't yet built up a very consistent touch with it.

Last weekend I was meant to go into the studio to put some bass on one new song for my band's new album. It was just a jam that happened at the studio between the drummer and one guitarist, and then things were added to it and we decided to turn it into a song. I didn't know what to play and thought I could maybe use the fretless to make it sound a bit different and maybe it would inspire me...

So the previous two days I used the fretless exclusively, a lot, playing a long to various things, working out alternative basslines for the new song... and then, on the day, I checked the tuning and it was slightly flat across all strings. No problem! I tuned up. But then... I could not play in tune! I was always playing slightly sharp as I got used to putting my fingers slightly forward to compensate for the tuning being off. :D

Not fun. Because time is money, I ended up picking up a fretted bass instead, as it'll take me a couple of sessions to get used to playing the way I should. 

Check the tuning!!! That way you'll get into the habit of placing the fingers in the right spot from the beginning... don't be a silly billy like me 😛

 

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