Should I get a fretless? [Video]

Fretless Dreaming! [Video]

When is the “right” time to add a Fretless?

Asked & Answered Series

Victor asks:

I’m a beginner and have a medium scale four string fretted bass. When should I add a fretless bass? Do you agree when the time is right, a medium scale four string fretless bass similar to the instrument I’m playing will be the correct one to progress to?

First I would recommend you check your scale length.

Standard scale length (which is what I assume you mean by medium*) is 34 inches.

Short-scales are typically 32 or shorter. Longscale 36.

You don’t want your fretless to have different distances than your main axe with frets. So there is that. But there is more…

Watch this video…

*As one reader pointed out, there are famous 32-scale basses that are typically are referred to as “medium-scale”.
Since the nomenclature for scale lengths can be a bit ambiguous I am including this link for a nice summary of scale lengths: post by stringsdirect.

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Whenever I am able to open my waiting list to welcome new students I notice that while I customize content for each individual student quite a bit, I also draw from my sizable library of programs in very similar ways. I started thinking about possibilities to cater to students and get them in with me rather than have them sit on the waiting list for so long.  I asked myself: Would it be possible to pool students of similar levels and needs together?

We tested it in a few beta groups and by me going over several of the individual lesson-notes that I always prepare for students so they (and me, too!) always know exactly what to practice and what the next steps are. And I discovered – also thanks to a lot of feedback from the beta testers and my own students –  that there are actually quite a few things that one learns even better in a group. And that this can work very well, if levels are carefully matched.

One-on-one lessons can be a bit intense for some because the focus on them is illuminated when the teacher asks them to play an assignment or answer a question. Our own minds can start racing and tell us what might be expected at that moment.

The group setting provides some great advantages here:

  • Many learners are in a more relaxed mindset to absorb new material when the attention is not only and not always exclusively directly on them.
  • Someone may ask a question they never even thought they had!
  • Supporting others equals supporting themselves!
  • Seeing others stretch and take risks is inspiring.
  • Practicing and preparing becomes fun and motivating because you meet once a week and want to show up prepared!
  • By watching others stumble a bit (as they, themselves,  might stumble!) they realize that stumbling is a perfectly normal (and welcome!) part of the learning process!
  • When volunteering to play in front of the group, it is less scary.
  • If learners never “stumbled” I would not be doing my job right as a teacher. It’s easier to embrace that fact when there are others in the same boat!

New Groups of various Levels starting all the time, for example: 

  • A Beginner’s Group with the main topic: Basics, Grooves, How Music and the Bass is organized and how to be creative
  • A Higher Intermediate Group with the main topic: Fretboard Harmony, Improvisation, Grooves and Mental Practice

For more info and a whole lot of questions answered, click through to our Practice Groups Page. 


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Ear Confidence - Six Paths to Fearless Ears