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Am I overthinking this?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by RandM, Jun 19, 2017.

  1. Hi people,
    I'm wondering if I'm starting to overthink things - situation is that after pretty much stopping playing 3-4 yrs ago at 60 or so that I'd still like to play and a friend would like to see if we can put something together again.

    Now at 64 I'd like to take a side road in the spirit of "now or never" and try to learn Fretless. After reading about the Sires M7 I started thinking of selling my Jazz Dlxe 5 to fund an M7
    Lined Fretless and any leftover to save towards an Acoustic Bass.

    I mentioned the idea of a Fretless under his Slide Blues to my friend and he likes the idea
    but then I had an errant thought - what about a Fretted M7 and an Acoustic Fretless? A fair bit of the material likely to be on his Acoustic, might fit nicer.

    What do people who actually know something think : )

  2. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Acoustic bass guitars are (in my view) virtually useless. They aren't loud enough to play with others.

    Get your fretless and spend the rest on an affordable fretted bass. Then you have both.
    btmpancake, mcnach, Honch and 20 others like this.
  3. chris_b


    Jun 2, 2007
    Don't think. . . . just do!

    I'd keep your fretted bass and get a fretless. Then when you sell the fretless (out of frustration) you will still have a bass you can play with your mates
  4. SteveCS


    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    As a lifelong fretless player, I'm duty-bound to say go for it. I agree with @two fingers that the majority ofacoustic bass guitars aren't worth the wood they are made from in terms of tone, volume, projection or nuance, and this only gets worse when they are fretless, IME.
    All I would recommend, FWIW, is to choose an instrument similar to that which you played for most of your fretted playing. Just to keep physical references like nut/octave/bridge position and string spacing in familiar territory.
    Good luck, and all being well, welcome in advance to the smooth side...
    Honch, BurnOut, shodan and 2 others like this.
  5. madidus


    Apr 3, 2014
    Before selling the Jazz Deluxe 5 (very nice instrument by the way, I have the P bass 4 string version) can you borrow a fretless for a few days? There's a fair difference in sound between fretted and fretless basses, so I'd want to be sure before selling that a fretless will give me the sound that will work for the music I play. I agree with two fingers, acoustic bass will be of limited use.
    DrummerwStrings likes this.
  6. bearfoot


    Jan 27, 2005
    schenectady, ny
    My 2 cents: if you really like the current bass, keep it. And look towards getting a fretless acoustic.
    lz4005 likes this.
  7. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru.......... Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2006
    To really get to know a fretless bass, and to determine if it will work/be right for oneself, requires quite a bit more time than just a few days. I have been playing fretless bass for over 40 years and am still learning new things about it.

    The OP should just commit to getting one, after some research to make sure it is at least decent and has future potential. Also, I too, would ditch the idea of an ABG for the above mentioned reasons.
  8. SteveCS


    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    I agree with this, except we all started somewhere. I took the plunge by, amd I don't recommend this, borrowing a bass from a friend and pulling the frets!! When he called up saying he needed it back I hastily replaced the frets. I then bought a Japanese Jazz copy and replaced the neck with a fretless MightyMite one that had been lurking on the wall of a local store for years. Maybe a replacement neck for an existing bass is an option for the OP? If it doesn't work out, put the old one back on...
  9. I'm the same age as you and had the same idea last year after playing a Tony Franklin at an open jam that I co-host. Fell in love with it. But I couldn't afford a Franklin so I opted for a Vintage Modern Squier fretless Precision. It's fantastic. A very good way to start my journey through the smooth side and I've had nothing but fun with it. Now I take my American Special Precision AND the fretless to gigs and have a blast. I also agree with many of the above posts, in nearly fourty years of playing, I haven't found an acoustic yet worth spending the money on. Around here there are many "acoustic only" jams and pickers circles-Luckenbach for one-that just won't have me even though I know for sure that I can fit in with my little Ampeg BA 108. But that's their loss. Oh well. I just stick with paying gigs-those guys are glad to have me!
    Lvjoebass likes this.
  10. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru.......... Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2006
    Maybe that's the idea: they don't want the bassist to be heard in their jams. :spit:
    Old Blastard likes this.
  11. Wow - thanks for the replies, surprised at the opinions on Acoustics are you talking about straight Acoust. or ones you can amplify? I may have given a wrong impression - I didn't mean Acoustic Gigs,
    it's one with a PUP I'm thinking of : )

    I've got no particular problem with the Jazz
    other than B that's a little soft for me.

    I have been thinking about fretless for a while, it's not sudden whim - geuss I'm just trying to figure which to put the most accent on for the fretless, Acous. or Electric. Just looking at different ways I can approach it.

    Looks like I should research the Acoustics Properly next, I may have assumed some things from the few clips I've seen.

    Thanks a lot for the advice - I'm not in a rush to make a decision - there's lot's to find out yet.

    Thanks again Maurie.
  12. SteveCS


    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    For my money, and IME, even acoustic basses with pickups don't really cut the mustard. I believe, other may not, that a lot of the characteristics of electric bass - full tone, long sustain, even volume etc, stem from the fact that the solid bodies and stiff necks create a low-rsonance frame for the strings. Low resonance means that energy is not absorbed from the string, leaving it free to sustain. An acoustic instrument, by contrast, relies on resonance to create volume. The main method is to have a hollow body with a top that is free to vibrate. So even a semi-acoustic design will have high resonance which, by order of Physics (conservation of energy), absorbs string energy. The inevitable outcome, IME and IMHO, is dull tone, poor sustain and squeezed dynamics. Undesirable in any event, but especially with fretless. Unless of course you can stump for a Takamine TB10...
  13. ELG60

    ELG60 Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2017
  14. Yeah, you are over thinking things. Your 1st idea is the best.
  15. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    I don't really think that belief is borne out by my experience with electro-acoustic bass guitars. If anything, you need to constantly rein in their volume and sustain. At least on every ABG I've ever played. And I've played quite a few.

    The other thing is that sustain is seldom cause for concern when it comes to electric bass. Most bass guitars (including electro-acoustics and hollow/semi-hollow bodies) will have far more sustain than you'll ever want or need. Which is one reason why mastering proper muting technique is such an essential skill for a bass player.
    HaphAsSard likes this.
  16. Duder


    Dec 6, 2014
    singlemalt and SakuBass like this.
  17. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    @RandM - the single biggest hurdle to learning fretless is overcome by the simple expedient of getting yourself one. After that, it's just a matter of putting in the time and effort. Which is no more than what's required to learn how to play any other musical instrument when you get right down to it.

    The earlier suggestion to check out the Squier VM Fretless Jazz as a first fretless bass is a good one. It's a more than decent enough bass to start with - and may well end up being your only fretless. They're quite nice. And for the $299 average price they fetch at all the usual places, it won't break the bank. Used they're an even better bargain.

    Good luck!
  18. The acoustic bass guitar is not really that impressive an instrument IMHO. You'd be better served by an electric (like a Jazz or a P/J). Learning to play a fretless is not as hard as it seems. Whether or not you choose a lined fingerboard, just remember the note is where the fret would be, not in front of the fret. Using open strings for E, A, D, G (and possibly B) gives you a point of reference as you play. Vibrato can be achieved one of two ways: the same pushing or pulling strings across the neck as on a fretted bass, or sliding the fingered note back and forth towards the bridge and nut. Other than that, it's a bass. Have fun and I hope this helps. Welcome to TB.
  19. DavC

    DavC Supporting Member

    May 17, 2005
    Trinity, FL
    being a very big SRV fan ... i'd keep the bass you have ... then ad a cheap P-bass w/Ti Flats , for a slightly more thumpy sound ... !! i'll be 60 this yr ... had 2 fretless basses this year ... for me they're OK , as long as i'd never need to sing .. !!

    i built a cheap 4 string P ( Sq/Fen parts ) ... then found a fretless neck if i'd really wanna swap it out .. !!
  20. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    IMHO keep your Jazz bass.
    Rob Allen basses sound great but are pricey.
    Fretless bass is a lot of work to get proper intonation.
    I have owned 3 fretless bass guitars over the years and gave up
    Get a used Godin or Yamaha or similar price range fretless and go at it.

    BTW I saw Blood Sweat & teras last night.
    The bass player, Ric Fierrabraci I beleive played a fretless
    Pedulla 5 all night. Sounded great.