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Anyone else think fretless is cheesey?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by THIRSTYGUMS, Sep 29, 2005.

  1. i just think that fretless was cool in the hands of Jaco or Pino, but when it comes to the average player im hearing a lot of 80's synth pop tones, getting those mental images of bad top of the pops 1986... just me perhaps :confused:
  2. To say that every fretless player sounds synth pop means you're not looking very hard for fretless players

    I can say that I play fretless almost exclusively, and my tone is anything but synth.
  3. Aerolithe


    Jan 23, 2005
    Columbia, MO
    *Looks at fretless bass I bought yesterday*

    I sure hope not. :bag:
  4. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    I'm not calling myself a good fretless player by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm NOTHING like a synth. I carry a fretless everywhere and use it where the song allows.
  5. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta (Grant Park!)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    I think people who play fretless on one song of their album just so they can say, "I played fretless on that song?" is cheesy. However, I think the fretless bass is a humbling instrument, and I admire anyone who plays one well.
  6. DanGouge


    May 25, 2000
    There have been many unforgivably cheesy uses of fretless. If anything though, it's makes me want to try and be more tasteful on the fretless. It's almost analogous to saxophone. There are lots of cheesy sax solos, but there also stunning jazz, soul, and ska saxophone pieces. Same with lapsteel, yeah, you can do hokey stuff with it, but it can also add these beautiful textures to a song. There are no cheesy instruments, only cheesy playing.
  7. Listen to Steve Digiorgio, and TRY to tell me he sounds cheesy.

    I LOVE the growl you can get with a fretless and roundwounds, it's unlike anythig else. The endless slides are fun too, and to me it's incredibly enjoyable to get that voice-like quality.

    Don't knock it til ya tried it, and go check out a fretless Stingray. Pure, unadulterated fun.
  8. adouglas


    Jun 23, 2003
    Bridgeport, CT
    Yes, it's just you.

    I could say something about that being a boneheaded comment, but I won't...oh, wait, I just did.... :D

    I play fretless. I'm certainly no Jaco, and I don't use it on many tunes, but for those that need it, it absolutely MAKES the tune.

    The best example in the current repertoire of my band is Peter Gabriel's "Solsbury Hill." It just isn't the same on a fretted bass.

    I will say that finding the right fretless tone is trickier IMHO than finding a good fretted tone. It's also soooo tempting to overuse effects (chorus, especially). Perhaps that's what you're referring to.
  9. TheEmptyCell

    TheEmptyCell Bearded Dingwall Enthusiast

    Jul 16, 2005
    Belfast, UK
    I hard consider it cheesy. It takes quite some time to become a good fretless player, and I think you just need to spend some time really listening to some good fretless players to understand. To say they all sound synth is just kind of silly.
  10. Reasons why I play bass:

    -I like expressing myself through music
    -Bass is challenging
    -Bass is fun

    Reasons why I play fretless bass:

    -I can be even MORE expressive on a fretless
    -Fretless bass is even MORE challenging
    -Fretless bass is even MORE fun

    I, too, admire those who can play fretless well. It is truly an art. Yes, there are a lot fretless songs that were produced in the 80's, but those that sound like a synth in 99% of the cases were SYNTHS!

    You can't fake the funk on a fretless. Since I picked one up a year ago this month, I've been stretched in ways that I never have before in my 15+ years of playing bass.

    What has fretless done for me:
    -Shown me that I had a pretty good ear, but not NEARLY good enough, so fretless is helping me improve tremendously in this regard
    -Helped me with phrasing...particularly around note lengths and spaces (this has paid HUGE dividends back to my fretted playing).
    -Helped me be more precise in my finger placement (again, HUGE payback on the fretted side).

    Even if you don't play fretless out at all...I think everyone should have at least one fretless bass, if for nothing else, than as a training instrument.

    go for it!
  11. phxlbrmpf


    Dec 27, 2002
    I love Victor Wooten's fretless playing on the title track of "The flight of the cosmic hippo". He proves that low notes on fretless can sound cool, too, and I don't think it comes across as at all cheesy.
  12. Snarf


    Jan 23, 2005
    Glen Cove, NY
  13. adam on bass

    adam on bass Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2002
    New Braunfels, Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Spector, GK, EMG and D'Addario
    should this be a different place??

    i like fretless.
  14. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    Not all Key-Tars are Cheesy, though.

    This one is:[​IMG]
  15. AuG


    May 22, 2005
    Fort Collins, CO
    I wouldn't go so far as to say fretless is 'cheesy'. Every instrument has it's place. I mean cmon an upright bass is exclusively fretless, and that's where it all started. Personally, I don't play a fretless, but if I had the cash I would definitely buy one. I wouldn't take a pass on expanding my musical ability. :) Check out Gary Willis, he's got some killer fretless skills.
  16. smperry

    smperry Administrator Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Martin Keith Guitars
    :) One of my favorite songs of all time, in fact I used to have four lines of the song in my signature! Do you have any recordings of your band's version? Maybe I can check you out when I visit my mom in Fairfield.

  17. Fawkes007


    Sep 13, 2005
    SF Bay Area
    Well, se now, that all depends. It's true that when Jaco put the fretless electric bass into the "mainstream" he influenced a lot of people, much in the same way Van Halen did. The problem is, everyone starts to sound the same on the instrument. Jaco was somewhat peeved that a lot of folks were copping his schtick. That's not to say that it sounds cheesy in everyone's hands. Doesn't matter if an instrument has frets or not, it's all about the player. Mark Egan, who was a student of Jaco's, has a nice way about the fretless as does Michael Manring. Percy Jones is another fine example of a fretless player who sounds NOTHING like Jaco. Pino Palladino is a mean fretless player as well.

    But, yeah, is it annoying to hear someone copping Jaco? About as annoying as it was in the '80's when every guitar player was copping EVH. When you have a person who has had a profound impact and how an instrument is played, it is bound to happen.

    I don't own a fretless, though I have picked them up to play them. It's way to tempting to turn down the front pickup and go "muaaaaaaaaaaaaah" *harmonicks* "doublestop" "muaaaaahhh."

    I like frets. So does Anthony Jackson, who once was criticised for saying "There is nothing the upright bass can do that cannot be done on the contrabass guitar." I'm paraphrasing, of course, but you get the idea.

    Now where's my "Portrait of Tracy" sheet music...
  18. adouglas


    Jun 23, 2003
    Bridgeport, CT
    Check your pm.
  19. Well, if you have a plate full of crackers, then cheese is just the thing! :cool:

    Last night I was playing my MIJ Fender fretless Jazz. One song actually called for a synth bass sound. Gee, no synth. That's okay, just avoided the "mwah" sliding stuff and played straight notes, plucking over the fingerboard. Pure, perfectly aged, smoked gouda! :D

    I have fretted and fretless Jazz basses. Different tools for different jobs. But I must say, IMHO, that all the *really* fun notes are in between the frets. :bassist:
  20. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    Thursty, perhaps it is just you.