Dismiss Notice

Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

Are frets needed?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by shaunze, Apr 7, 2004.


  1. shaunze

    shaunze

    Apr 6, 2004
    Astoria Oregon
    I'm tryin to find a good bass to start out with, so i don't know any notes or anything, and i am wondering if i need a bass with frets. i mean, it would be harder with a fretless, but how much harder? also, any recomendations for a good starting bass would be great! thanks!
     
  2. lyle

    lyle Guest

    Jan 10, 2004
    Vernon, B.C. Canada
    i recomend starting with frets, itll help you and you wont regret it. i dont know how hard it is to start from fretless but i played my first fretless a while back and had no trouble. but ive also been playing some time now.

    on to the other question. how much you willing to spend. i recomend the spector perf 4 if you have the money. its a great bass and will last you a long time. its around $600 canadian i think.
     
  3. If the fretless that you get has fret markers (lines on the fretboard but not actual frets) then it really isn't much harder to learn at all.
     
  4. shaunze

    shaunze

    Apr 6, 2004
    Astoria Oregon
    thanks for the help on the frets! and my pricerange varies, but i'm hopin pretty cheap, and that can mean whatever you wnat it to mean!
     
  5. grovest

    grovest

    Feb 26, 2002
    Oregon
    Many people start bass first with a "fretless"- the double bass. Violin players learn fine without frets, etc. If you had a good teacher you would probably be fine.

    On the other hand, it's harder to find a nice-sounding fretless for cheap than a nice fretted.
     
  6. bassmanjones

    bassmanjones

    Feb 23, 2002
    Boston, MA
    It would be more difficult than a fretted, but less difficult than an upright and people learn to play those everyday. I started on fretted but switched to fretless about a month later. From what I remember it didn't seem that much more difficult.
     
  7. shaunze

    shaunze

    Apr 6, 2004
    Astoria Oregon
    cool. thanks for the info. i also heard that fretless give you a better sound, but if you miss it by just a little it will sounds off key, is that true?
     
  8. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS
    Wouldn't say better, just different and yes without frets you are relying on your intonation to keep you in tune.
     
  9. grovest

    grovest

    Feb 26, 2002
    Oregon
    Most people agree that a fretless allows you more musical 'expression'.

    It is easier to sound bad on a fretless than on a fretted. Think about the accuracy like this: If you don't land close enough to the note to roll the meat of your finger a bit up or down it will probably sound funky.
     
  10. tkarter

    tkarter

    Jan 1, 2003
    kansas
    If you want to go fretless cheap and have a decent bass go Essex and get the P fretless. You want Fretted buy a Fender or something of your choosing. The fretted Essex's are playable but the fretwork needs work.
    Most of us just learning bass only know the Fender sound. IMHO

    tk
     
  11. shaunze

    shaunze

    Apr 6, 2004
    Astoria Oregon
    cool cool cool! man, i learn so much here! i'm goin down to the local music store to look at basses, and i don't know what to look for very much, since i'm just a beginner, so what should i be lookin for? thanks for all the info!
     
  12. michaelsanford

    michaelsanford Guest

    Apr 4, 2004
    I started on a fretted bass a few years ago but I wouldn't swear by it. I also play arabic oud (picture) which is fretless, and that wasn't so hard to pick up.

    I would say that the best of both worlds would be to get a fretless bass with fret markers so you'll at least know where to put your fingers (you'll surely notice that the frets get closer together as you go down the neck...for starting out you'll probably want to know where they should be).

    The basic advantage of fretless over fretted is that you can make tones in between half-steps (which is the tonal space between each fret, or each key on a piano, like from C to C#/Db, C#/Db to D, and so on). Of course you can do that on a fretted anyway by bending but whatever :p

    My two dracmas...
     
  13. shaunze

    shaunze

    Apr 6, 2004
    Astoria Oregon
    i know an ok amount about music, (i've played trumpet for a while), so that is nice to know about fretless. and are fret markers the lines on the fretboard? and what's bending? I know, so many questions, but thanks for all the info so far!
     
  14. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS
    Ever listen to a blues guitarist?, bending is the biggest weapon in their arsenal. Basically the string is pulled down which stretches it to a higher pitch.
     
  15. shaunze

    shaunze

    Apr 6, 2004
    Astoria Oregon
    makes sense. cool, i never knew that! man, it's like bass school here! lovin it!
     
  16. Well, strictly speaking, no, frets aren't needed, but you'll find that a neck, body, pickups and strings are pretty important.

    Sorry, man, I just couldn't help myself. :rolleyes:

    {back into serious mode}

    Like most bass players, I started out on fretted basses, and am just now getting ready to add a fretless to the arsenal. (Have about decided on a Godin A5.) Now, keep in mind that others may disagree with my take on this, but it seems to me that, if you already know that you prefer the fretless sound, or know that you will eventually want to play a fretless, either as your primary bass or as an alternate sound, then I would think that it makes more sense to just learn the fretless bass at the beginning. That way, you don't have to pick up any bad habits (namely, not paying attention to your intonation) that you would have to later unlearn.
     
  17. Funkize you

    Funkize you Guest

    Nov 4, 2003
    Westminster Ca.
    IMPO you should start out on a fretted bass rather than Fretless... But you said you have some basic Theory right? If so, then Starting on a Fretless should be no Problem that way you only have to concentrate on the bass Rather than the Bass and the Theory.

    BTW, Lined Fretless means the actual Lines on the board.

    Good Luck, I hope you are happy with your choice.
    Check out Essex Basses, They are VERY cheap, and Worth More than the Cost.
     
  18. shaunze

    shaunze

    Apr 6, 2004
    Astoria Oregon
    Thanks for all your guys help! i am pretty sure i'm gonna go with an essex bass, only heard TONS of good stuff about em, so, thanks for all the help!
     
  19. BTW, the difference in tone that people are referring to is that, if you have two identical basses, except that one is fretted and the other is fretless, the fretless will sound warmer and softer and "rounder." That's because you have steel stings held directly against the wood of the fretboard, whereas a fretted bass has the steel strings being held down against the steel (or brass) frets.
     
  20. shaunze

    shaunze

    Apr 6, 2004
    Astoria Oregon
    ooooh. okay, that makes sense. i'm thinkin i'm not sure if i wanted fretted or fretless yet, but man did this help!