Fretless Bass… For Beginners

Paolo Bass Lab PLUS Membership, blog

Hey Groove Masters,

James here…let’s talk about fretless bass… for beginners.

I didn’t know if I was going to make to the next show.

The house lights went down.

I was in a dark orchestra pit in London’s West End.

Depping (or subbing) for one of the UK’s most respected bass players... on what was widely regarded as a complete ‘roast’ (or… a very hard show)

All I could see was a brightly lit music stand and a little TV screen with the conductor on it.

Everything else was in the shadows.

This was second show syndrome.

Many players say this show is harder than the first.

I can see why.

A lot more relaxed this time, I was still nervous.

There’s no rehearsal for this sort of work.

Straight in at the deep end.

You get a ‘pad’ (sheet music) and a CD to prep.

It’s still nothing like real thing.

Feedback from the first show had been great, but I still felt I’d got a lot to live up to.

Directly in front of me was the double bass.

Behind me was the 5 string fretted bass.

To my right first was the fretless.

This is known as ‘tripling’

Half way through the first act I picked up the fretless.

Nothing could have prepared me for the terror (yes, that’s the way it felt) that was about to happen.

One of the scariest moments of my professional career.

Thankfully I didn’t get fired, but that’s what I thought could have easily happened...

In this lesson I’m going to share with you the biggest lesson I ever learnt about playing fretless bass.

It’s changed the way I approach the instrument ever since.

In this lesson you'll discover:

  • Why I had my fretless made the way I did
  • The best fretless to start learning on
  • 5 tips to help picking an instrument, intonation & position shifting

Do you play fretless? If so, please comment below the video and let us know your top tips...

As always, keep groovin' hard.


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