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

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Posted by Get a teacher on February 09, 2001 at 11:31:27:

In Reply to: Re: Why don't stand up basses have frets? posted by David Kaczorowski on February 08, 2001 at 11:52:38:

: You know what note your playing with your ear. People have been doing it
: that way since the late 1500's when the instrument was invented.

Yeah, one thing any decent teacher will tell you is that you shouldn't be looking at your fingers, the fingerboard, or anything else to visually find where the notes are. You need to be listening carefully - with long, *bowed* tones at first, and learning *kinesthetically* where the exact finger placement has to be in order to produce a precise pitch.

One of the reasons why the violin family instruments have no frets is so that you can actually play *more* in tune than with frets. If your out of tune with a fretted instrument...your pretty much out of luck. If there's no fret "getting in the way" - you can always adjust the pitch with your fingers.

Even when the strings are in tune, there are many times when really precise adjustment comes into play - for example, when playing really loud. Also, you may need to adjust to match people your playing with, and even to enhance tonality. Did you know there's a difference between F-sharp and G-flat? That's where really precise intonation comes into play.

Also, as mentioned in other posts, what we conventionally think of as fretted instruments are pretty much irrelevant to some non-western music.

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