Having good Intonation is the art of being in tune the vast majority of the time on the Fretless bass.

This is one of those things that sounds easier than it really is.

If this were easier, there wouldn't be as many articles or lessons on getting better at it out there as there are now.

It also has the ability to show the difference between someone who never plays the Fretless bass and someone who knows how to handle one properly.

When you're practicing, It's important to learn to trust and use your ears over and above just your eyes. While you can and should use your eyes when you're starting out, eventually, you'll want to be able to look away and remain in tune, regardless of what you're playing.

The most important thing when learning to play the Fretless bass is to try to place your fingers where the frets would be on a Fretted bass. The whole point of the fret is to cut a string off at a certain point, making sure that the string vibrates at a certain length and a certain tone is emitted.

Since the Fretless bass is all about the ears, you might want to try playing in the dark after you get more comfortable with your Intonation. This will make it so that you have to use your ears and You'll get better that much quicker.

At first, when learning to play in tune, practice simple musical pieces that you know and work on making those sound good and in tune. Playing along to other music and stuff you already know will allow you to get a good idea of how close you are to being in tune.

If you have the opportunity, record or play a droning note or tone and try to play along on your Fretless to that. Doing that will give you a static base that you can practice over to get an idea of how close to being in tune you are.

Overall, this is something that comes with time, so while it's a good idea to practice this lots now, you'll eventually get good enough at it just through playing the bass over time that you wont have to practice JUST intonation, but you'll be able to practice it while practicing other pieces and exercises as well.

Return to the Fretless Bass page from the Intonation page

Return to the Homepage