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Fretting over a fretless.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Zegie, Feb 17, 2014.

  1. Zegie


    Dec 8, 2009
    Likes Received:
    Just wondering what surprises might be in store and what 'adjustments' I might have to make if I were to splash out on a fretless acoustic bass.

    I've got a fretted acoustic and electric basses but never played a fretless in my life and thought "I've gotta give it a go - life's too short".
  2. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    Likes Received:
    Fretless does take a little time to get used to and some additional practice to deal with the intonation. It all depends on your current technique and ear training. Acoustic bass guitars don't really put out a lot of sound, be aware of that before you purchase.
  3. AlexanderB


    Feb 25, 2007
    Likes Received:
    To me, a big part of the "fretless thing" comes from a rigid, strong neck with a hard fingerboard and a solid body. Deviating from this will generally reduce sustain (give a more "thumpy" sound), make the sound less clear and defined (turn more "warm"/"wooly") and reduce upper harmonics (make it sound "bassier").

    Since I personally find most use for a fretless in slow, melodic songs and playing small "counter phrases" (word?), I want good sustain, clear pitch and good mids.

    For a more traditional "upright" feel, the fretless acoustic bass guitar might work OK, though. For more modern music, I'd pass.
  4. Lo-E


    Dec 19, 2009
    Likes Received:
    I didn't find the adjustment terribly hard, but everyone's experience is different.

    My two pieces of advice:
    Try some out before you buy if possible - especially if you can try some lined and some unlined to see which you like.

    Start with an inexpensive fretless to find out if you like it before 'buying up' to a better one.
  5. Nephilymbass

    Nephilymbass Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2011
    Likes Received:
    I think it really depends on your fretting hand control. For me I'm left handed and play right handed so the hand I write with is also the one on the neck. I didn't find picking up fret less hard at all. If you can play fretted decently without constantly staring at your fretting hand its really not that crazy. I'd definitely recommend starting with a bass that has fret lines or at least side markers where each fret/fret lines would be.

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