some pretty dumb questions...

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Posted by Richard Malone on February 06, 2002 at 16:17:57:

...but I'm going to ask anyways :)

For the longest time, I've loved the sound of the fretless electric bass. So, I've decided that I want to learn how to play this beautiful sounding instrument. *BUT* I've never played an instrument before in my life! So...

1) Is the fretless bass too much for complete beginners?

2) I've seen many fretless basses available with fretlines and/or dots. How accurate are these markings and are they "enough" of a visual aid to help a beginner with proper intonation, at least until I can train my ear/mind/fingers?

3) Also, when fingering with a fretless bass that has fretlines/dot markers, where do you put your finger(s)? Behind the line, on the line, or...? Or are there many variables that are involved, such as the size of my fingertips, etc.?

4) Really dumb one here: when playing on a fretless, do you fret notes the same as you would with frets, or is "proper" to slide back and forth to each desired note? (I've heard some fretless players that seem to slide constantly.)

I went to a Mars Music store this morning and a salesman/bassist looked like he was gonna faint when I told him that I wanted to learn the fretless. He said it was a bad idea due to the fact that since I've never played an instrument before (much less a bass), that I wouldn't learn proper intonation because, as he put it, I "wouldn't know what I was hearing." This sounds logical to me. What do you guys think?

Couldn't I learn "what to hear" (so to speak) and proper intonation from a qualified fretless bass instructor? My desire is quite strong to learn this instrument. I recently turned 30 and I don't want to put off this "fantasy" any longer.

Thank you,

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