Posted by Kasmra. on June 27, 2000 at 08:46:41:
In Reply to: Re: Sound of a Fretless Bass posted by Robbie on January 21, 2000 at 00:51:59:
: The biggest difference--which it seems no one has ventured to point out--is that you can play infinite number of notes--both the standard 12 chromatic tones of Western music, as well as any number of tones in between. This makes for very interesting and especially more expressive music. With a fretless, you can more closely imitate the human voice, which is also capable of an infinite number of tones and semi-tones. This is more difficult to play than a fretted bass, but, contrary to the comments of others, does not require that you "memorize fret positions" but rather, that you train your ear to hear correct pitches in relation to each other. This is essential to the playing of any instrument, and fretless bass is perhaps one of the most readily noticable examples of the need for a good ear. I do not mean the all-powerful "perfect pitch," but rather relative pitch--being able to find the correct pitch of one note in relation to another. The best way to learn this is by playing the fretless on each of its strings, using various intervals, periodically using the open notes as references. After a few weeks of this type of exercise, you will have a noticably better understanding of relative pitch and will be well on the road to being a talented fretless player.
Now that's the point you don't come across too often. The reason I
defretted my J-bass was not only the fact that I love the fretless
sound but also to be able to reach the notes BETWEEN the frets and
have a microtonal instrument that I can play. (I also have a recorder
but the microtonal fingerings require a MUCH more developed playing
technique...) The only thing that bugs me now is that my friends who
play, they don't have microtonal instruments, so when playing with
them I still have to stick to the traditional 12-TET, mostly.
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