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How To Play Fretless Bass  E-mail

How To Play Fretless Bass

Knowing how to play fretless bass guitar is one of the most rewarding experiences I've ever had as a musician. The first fretless I owned was a Rickenbacker 4001 Jet Glo fretless. Growlll...

How To Play Fretless Bass

If you haven't played a fretless before, this will be an amazing experience for you! I have a few tips for you to get started playing your "new" fretless bass guitar.

  • Play the notes where the veneers are located. This will be a great beginning reference point for the initial tone of any note. If you start just a tiny bit flat, you can quickly and easily compensate.
  • Roll your finger on the string slightly to vary the frequency of the note ever so slightly. You can use the combination of slide -n- roll to achieve the exact note you're trying to play.
  • Experiment with your new style of playing. You will find a vast array of finesse-effects that you can achieve by simply attacking the neck in subtle and slightly different ways!
  • Plucking the string in different places gives different attack and tonal characteristics.
  • I find that plucking directly over the selected pickup gives the optimal attack and tone for my taste. When both are selected, plucking right between them is the best compromise (again, for my taste).
  • Generally, plucking nearer the bridge gives a staccato attack and 'punchy' tone, while plucking up toward the neck heel gives a mellower, rounder tone with a softer attack.
  • And I'd like to mention that one of the best ways to learn some of the subtleties of fretless bass tone and technique is to listen to and watch fretless players. Fretless bass seems to lend itself more readily to tonal variations due to hand techniques than does fretted bass.
  • Experiment with different string types (round, flat, semi-flat, etc.) to determine what YOU like best. If the finish wears down on the neck, you can always re-finish it, right?
  • Most of all, enjoy your new fretless bass guitar. You have chosen the ultimate electric bass upgrade! (Pesky little metal pieces!)

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