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The 5 Best Fretless Basslines

I've taken the five best fretless basslines and transcribed them for you to learn at home. You're welcome!

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Pino Palladino - "Wherever I Lay My Hat"

Pino's fingerprints are all over this song. His unforgettable fretless bassline is transcribed below:

Bweeerr dee bweerrr burr buuuhhrrrbbb doob bruuhh

Bwweeeerrrr da bwuh bwuuuuh buuuuhhhhh boo wuh bwuh buhdabwhudabuuh bwuuh boo whuh bwhuuh brwuh bwuh burr bnuuuuhhhh

Jaco Pastorius - "Donna Lee"

Known for his signature style and impressive dexterity, Jaco Pastorius is considered by many to be the best fretless bass player of all time. His jaw-dropping bassline to "Donna Lee" is transcribed below so you can play along at home:

Brrrttt ttuth tuh tuh bwunt tut bwuh boo duh bwuh duh ba ba bukka duh duh dee duh buh duh

Burr duh doo duh bee dee duh da do duh bwuh nuh nukka bugga dunna dunna duh boo dah bee – do da dee duh dunna duuuuuuh boo nah nee nah

Michael Manring - "Bright Size Life"

Fretless virtuoso Michael Manring put his own spin on Pat Metheny's classic "Bright Size Life." We've included a transcription to his rendition below so you can learn it yourself and get your fretless bass a-tootin'!

Boo na nee na beeh da bee da bwoooah

Buh doo bnuuh bwwap bwuh bwaah nuh nee nan uh bwuuh

Juan Alderete - "Lisa's Theme"

Juan Alderete has made a name for himself with his adventurous style of play, but this gem of a bassline (transcribed below) from Big Sir's self-titled release shows he's more than capable of letting his lyrical fretless bass do the talking.

Brr bwuh nuh bwuh duh bruh nuh nuuuuh na nuuuuhh

Brr bwuh bwuh bwa nuh bwruh ba doh

Brr bwuh nuh bwuh duh bruh nuh nuuuuh na nuuuuhh

Bwaah bwuh da bwuh nuuuuh

Paul Chambers - "All Blues"

We know that's technically an upright bass, but this bassline is too good not to include on the list! Pick up your fretless bass at home and start learning Paul Chamber's iconic line with the transcription we've included below.

Buup beh nan uh bwuuuh boo nah nuh buuuuuh

Boo nee nuh bwnaahhh buh bee buh bwooooah

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