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Aaah... The joys of fretless!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by the ombudsman, Aug 24, 2004.


  1. Last week I got my first fretless bass in something like three years (the previous one was a Godin A4), and I have a hard time putting that thing down for eating or sleeping. It's a Brice V2 (in black) and you can read my review here.

    Yesterday evening I was practicing with my Spector (fretted), but I was hearing the fretless calling me. So after 3 or 4 songs, I switched. Wow! I practiced for about three hours, from classic rock to folk-rock to pop to speed metal. To me, it felt like I was more in control, and I was feeling more "intimate" with the instrument. Plus, the Brice is so sweet, it's definitely worth much more than what I paid for it.

    Now, who here is playing some fretless, and who is playing exclusively fretless, and what musical style are you using it for?
     
  2. Don W

    Don W

    Jan 30, 2004
    East Bay, CA.
    I bought my first fretless about six months ago and I love it. I mainly play fretted basses but when I pick up the fretless its like instant inspiration.
     
  3. kobass

    kobass Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Outside Boston
    I just started playing fretless this past January. I've been playing bass since '73. :eek: I started out with a Lakland Skyline 44-01 lined fretless. I love it so much that I just bought a new Pedulla Buzz (incredible fretless!). Anyway, I play in a classic rock/blues band. With my increasing proficiency, I am trying to work the fretless into more and more of our songs. I currently play it on eight songs during a typical gig. However, I don't see myself going strictly fretless any time soon. :D
     
  4. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member

    Since 1980, no frets for basses in my world. Took up EUB this year, hardly play anything else anymore. Play jazz, fusion, hip-hop, blues, classic raWk, stuff that's too hard to categorize.
     
  5. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    I love fretless! I will go through spells where I don't play my Zon at church for a couple of weeks. Then I will pull it out and play it, and I'm like 'Why do I ever play anything else?':)
     
  6. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    Congrats on your new fretless. I read this on the website:

    "Note that some of the photos below show fret lines. The fretless models of these bass do not have fret lines. Side of the neck fret markers are modeled after the Steinberger XZ-5. That is, the fret markers are in their normal location. They are not moved up to be where the frets would normally appear as on most fretless basses."


    That would drive me NUTS! But, then, I'm used to my fretlesses now. The black V2 looks great, and I'm amazed at how much bass you can get for cheap these days.

    I'm waiting on my fretless Bongo 5 string that is currently in electronics installation, and set up, so it should go out this week. :hyper:

    Once that arrives, I'll be going majority fretless. My fretted Bongo 5 string kinda took control, but prefer fretless. I always try to take two basses to gigs, so the fretted Bongo will still see gig time, but I'd say it's probably 3 sets fretless for every one set of fretted. My 8 string fretless even makes the occassional gig outing, too. :bassist:
     
  7. Fretless for under a year (fretted bass for 6-7) and although I gravitate toward the fretless, playing chords always makes me wish for the fretted. I'm always rolling my fingers to correct where I've landed and I can tell if I need to go up or not, but when I play more than one note at a time and it's sounding off, my problem is that I can't hear where to move/roll things?

    Any suggestions?

    Maybe I should ask this on the technique forum?..... sorry dindn't mean to hijack your thread.
     
  8. Dude... Fretless was made for Worship!!!:hyper:
     
  9. Hman

    Hman

    Jan 8, 2002
    San Francisco, CA
    Cuz you got a Nordie my friend :D

    Yeah, love fretless for worship songs. Can't wait till my JP6 is done. :bag:
     
  10. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    But the slap on the Cirrus sounds so good!!!:D
     
  11. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Horace, believe it or not, the Nordstrand doesn't do much worship duty. The tone is too aggressive. But it is perfect for my originals band! It looks smooth, but this baby was made to rock!:D
     
  12. bkirk

    bkirk

    Oct 2, 2003
    Austin, TX
    I love fretless and have played it about 98% of the time for the last 15 years or so.
    Jazz, rock, ballads, old blues, new blues, odd originals, you name it, it gets the fretless. I guess at this point, it's just part of my signature sound.
     
  13. I struggle with fretless at church because we have a pretty bad room, echoes everywhere and sometimes I can't even tell if my fretted bass is in tune.
     
  14. i have a fretless 6 string Cort Curbow (burl finish) coming from a fellow TB'er (Lmleaver)...It's converted from a fretted but he said it's got an incredible fretless sound...so I'm gonna get some TL flats on it and take it to my luthier and have him set it up for me....i really can't wait to get it!!!!
    :bassist: :bassist: :p :bassist: :bassist:
     
  15. Vegeta

    Vegeta

    Jun 28, 2004
    Skopje, Macedonia
    on some other forum some guy said that fretless was invented by Jaco. Is that true?
     
  16. Inseam

    Inseam

    Jun 17, 2004
    Pittsburgh, PA
    No, Jaco didn't invent the fretless, but he certainly put it on the map. Pre-Jaco, I think the fretless was just a curiosity that few people actually used. Jaco showed what it could do, and its popularity grew quickly.
     
  17. quallabone

    quallabone

    Aug 2, 2003
    Fury's been making them since 1962. As far as I know that's the earliest production fretless on the planet.

    My 2 fretli' get played 99% of the time while practicing and about 20% of the time while gigging. I wish I could play fretless all the time but it just isn't appropriate for a number of tunes and styles.

    On fretless I play, bebop, bigband, some funk, lots of blues, some rock, a bit of country, and a lot of showband type of songs (Chicago)

    On fretted I play, all of the above plus more percussive funk.

    My new fretless is by far my favorite instument I've ever owned. (Except for my 2103SGX trombone. Ohhh that thing is sweet)
     
  18. Taken from a musical dictonary...

    "Even during the early 18th century a three-string bass tuned A'-D-G or G'-D-G was normal. It had no frets and with the growth of the symphony orchestra it was logical that his more powerful instrument should supersede earlier models. Not until the 1920s was the additional E' string expected of most professional players. Until then any passages going below A' were transposed up an octave, resulting in the temporary disappearance of the 16' line."


    I don't think Weather Report was gigging in the 1700's but imagine where music would be now?!



    I have been 100% fretless since 2000. I play all sorts of Rock styles (like RATM, RHCP, Nirvana style rock), blues, hip-hop, jazz, classic rock, church music. The only thing you can't do on a fretless is slap. Its the only thing I miss, but I don't really use it anyways, so its all good. Tapping is really tough on a fretless, especially when its up high (Linus & Lucy). I love the flexability of the fretless though.


    I just played an older Peavey that had EXTREMELY low frets. It was basically fretless but you could still slap and still have the worry-free fretted intonation. You could also get fretless slides out of it. I may pick this bass up because its so much fun!! Best of both worlds!
     
  19. quallabone

    quallabone

    Aug 2, 2003
    Just don't tell Mike Manring you can't slap on fretless. He and others will be crushed.
     
  20. rogerbmiller

    rogerbmiller Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 16, 2003
    NYC
    I primarily play fretless and it has been that way for over 10 years. I started playing upright bass in 1983, and always had formal training (through college). I started electric bass in 1985 but had formal training only sporadically, and nack then training was not always formal depending on the teacher. So to make a long story short, even though I started by separating electic from upright, I have always thought of, and still think of the bass as a fretless (upright) instrument and so I am one of the few where fretless is more comfortable for me to play.

    So about 10 years ago I made fretted bass my secondary instrument. I have 4, 5 , 6 and 7 stringed fretlesses. They just feel better and more natural to me.Unless I am specifically asked to play fretted, I bring fretlesses to all of my gigs and sessions.