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Re: Why don't stand up basses have frets?

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Posted by ben on February 08, 2001 at 19:21:52:

In Reply to: Why don't stand up basses have frets? posted by Travis Dwyer on February 07, 2001 at 18:37:15:

: I just joined the jazz band at my high school and i play electric bass. I have been thinking to look in to getting a stand up bass. Why don't stand up basses have frets? I am asking this because i saw so pictures and they did not have frets. And if all basses have frets, how do you know what note you are playing?

hi. First, you must realise that double-bass and electric bass guitar are quite different instruments.

"stand up" basses don't have frets for sound the sound quality.

Frets leave less possibility for expression, especially for the "vibrato", which is common to all stringed instrument.

Fretted string instruments are less common than unfretted ones throughout the world, and are a more recent development.

In many cultures you need to be able to play intervals lower than in western music, so fretted instruments are a problem. In such cases, frets are often moveable, and offer more possiblities for bending notes (like the curve on a sitar's frets). In western music also, certain note movements are theoreticaly

smaller than others (look into the subdivision in "comas")

If the double bass had frets, they would probably be made out of gut, for sound quality, especially when played con arco, with the bow.

To "know what notes we're playing", you'll need practice.

You'll learn to play/ practice with a bow, which makes you hear better if you're playing the right note or not (intonation).

You'll learn positions on the fingerboard, and develop your ears.

Knowing where a note is comes through practice : you learn a gesture, like someone learning to throw a javelin. Your body, you arm wrist and hand memorize that gesture, your mind and ears do the rest.

good luck, and get a teacher too.


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