Fretless Bass Tips
Here are some tips and things to keep in mind when it comes to the Fretless bass:
1. It can take quite a while to get accurate intonation on the fretless bass.
This is not an understatement. Even the pros sometimes have difficulty when it comes to Fretless bass, so don't be too hard on yourself if you seem to be having trouble. Keep working on it and you'll eventually have no problem hitting those notes accurately.
2. Don't always play with Vibrato.
This one is subjective and if you like vibrato, cool. I love it, but I know that some people equate playing with a lot of vibrato with cheesy 80's music and covering up for bad intonation. Just make sure that you play with taste and no one should put you down. If they do put you down, just tell them that you are expressing yourself, and that anybody that doesn't like vibrato is a satanic communist and hates babies.
If they are actually a satanic communist, I can't help you. Sorry. You're on your own :)
3. Fretless is not for everyone.
You should play the fretless because YOU want to, not because someone tells you that you have to.
If you don't want to, don't. You shouldn't feel pressured to play it because someone criticizes you about it.
4. Beware the round-wound!
Round-wound strings tend to eat through the fingerboard of a fretless bass like Jabba the hut at a buffet. if you are going to use round-wounds because you really like that "mwaaa" that comes from that combo, consider going with a harder wood like ebony or something similar. Many companies now make fingerboards out of graphite or similar man-made materials that can withstand round-wounds like nothing else.
As well, you could look into getting your fingerboard coated with polyurethane or epoxy to help with the fingerboard durability. This can be expensive, but very much worth it if you just have to have that tone. Its up to you.
5. Slapping a fretless.
I love to Slap the fretless bass. The tone is very unique and rather "snappy" and funky.
However, it doesn't cut as well as a fretted bass does usually.
If you are big into slap, consider getting a fretted bass. It will be heard easier and cut through the mix much better.
Those are just a few tips for playing the fretless bass. Remember, these are just tips (especially that part about the satanic communists) and in the end, the decision is completely up to you.
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