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can a fretless be an all rounder

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by SunneyBoy, May 3, 2006.

  1. is anyone on this forum only using a fretless, and playing in various styles and settings.

    how versatile can a fretless be when you know what you are doing !

    never played fretless love the sound gotta get one soon!
  2. Depends what you mean as "all-rounder"... if you wanna play punk for instance, its not going to be great for it at all.

    But if you wanna play fusion stuff which touches on different genres of music, it should be fine for that.
  3. yes, you can use it for all types of music. it will sound like a punk band with a fretless bass player.
  4. Eilif

    Eilif Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
    I played a carvin LB75f for almost everything for about 3 years. With todays advancements in strings, electronics, and amplification, a good bass player with a bass (with versatile electronics) can fit a frettless into most any kind of music.

    Take what I say with a grain of salt however because, I eventually switched back to fretted for most of my playing because I like the tone of a fretted....
  5. Pennydreadful

    Pennydreadful Goin out West

    Jun 13, 2005
    Arlington, Texas
    Any type of bass can be an 'all-rounder', really. It's just the player's style.
  6. You can make it work for anything, but I think you'll be happier with a nice fretted bass for all around work.
  7. sanray


    Nov 8, 2005
    well I know that there was a punk band in the 80's that had a fretless player, I also know a metal band that has the same. but right now I use my fretless for everything, mostly cause my other two basses are far away, but it works fine for me.
  8. i used a fretless fender jazz as my do-all bass for pretty much all my high school years, and i could get it to work in a variety of genres...the only thing i couldn't (or at least didn't want to, because it didn't sound right to me) do was slap...otherwise i lowered the action a bit so that i took some of the Mwah away, just because i didn't like a strong mwah, but i did like sliding smoothly to the next note...

    i even used to play along with RATM on my fretless...it made Testify sound pretty cool :)
  9. Calif De Funk

    Calif De Funk Guest

    Dec 15, 2004
    +1. Especially when slapping or playing `70 soul like Jackson 5, Earth Wind and Fire, Sly and the Family Stone... , the list is long. I´v been playing both fretted and fretless since 1985, but to me they are two different things. A fretless bass has a beautiful voice of its own, but it can´t replace the fretted one and vice-verse. Simple as that.
  10. Yes. But.

    I play a fretless virtually 100% of the time. I own one fretted bass. I play it occasionally even if I don't have a purpose for it, just to keep some of my "fretted chops" in some kind of shape. I also like it more in certain situations, and it is easier to sing and play a fretted.

    The BUT is that if you have a specific sound that you are trying to cop, and it is dependent on frets, then you are going to fall short. If you just want to play bass and don't need to be doing that kind of strict emulation then you can play fretless on everything. Plenty of players have made a fretless work in non-traditional settings such as punk, metal, hardcore, motown...

    You (keyword=YOU) can play what you want whenever you want. You might run into some small minded players who hold it against you. In that case, think of your fretless as an a$$hole detector. A real multitasking piece of gear, no?

  11. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    Sting would say fretless made a great all arounder;)
    If you can intonate accurately, they only audible difference will be a slightly "rounder" sounding note unless you're trying to "make it sound fretless...
    YMMV, etc...
  12. lefty007


    Jan 19, 2004
    Miami, FL
    i think the only problem with playing fretless is slapping, but that technique is obsolete anyway, so i think fretless will increasingly become the most popular type of electric bass pretty soon

    and 6 string fretlesses even more :hyper:
  13. barthanatos

    barthanatos Insert witty comment here

    Feb 8, 2006
    South Carolina
    I think the fretted bass is more limited in what can be done with it than the fretless. Although, one thing that hasn't been mentioned as a benefit of the fretted bass is for playing chords - that is why guitars and mandolins (etc.) have frets... it's too hard to get accurate intonation in many of the crazy hand positions you have to get yourself into. But the genesis of the fretted electric bass is different - it was made to cure weaknesses in intonation, hence the name Precision Bass (not the first fretted electric, I know). It just happened to work out well for certain kinds of tone, especially when slapping became popular. Slapping is not dead (post #12), by the way... not according to the Marcus Miller I've been listening to lately or the (admittedly small amount of) slapping I saw last night live at the TOOL concert.

    I wonder if a fretless that had a fingerboard made out of the metal they use for frets would capture a lot of the tone that people look for in a fretted bass?

    As for me, I only have a fretless (and another on order), and play a variety of music. I'm sure I'll get a fretted bass eventually ($).
  14. pointbass

    pointbass Jersey to Georgia Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Acworth, GA
    Endorsing Artist: FBB Bass Works
    Hmmmm, don't think I can agree with too much here .....:meh:

    Slapping is far from obsolete, if anything it's getting to be more and more integral in most players "bag of tricks". I'm not a slap fan, but I find I use it more frequently than ever before .....

    I likely will not live long enough to see the day where fretless basses outnumber fretted basses, as a matter of fact I don't think anyone will ever see that day. And 6 string fretless basses being the most popular? I don't think so :rollno:

    BTW, I primarily play fretless basses, my main bass is a fretless 6 string. I'd love to have a lot more company in this category, but I don't see that happening ...... :cool:
  15. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    As I understand it, the Fender Precision was made for two reasons, neither of which were to cure poor intonation: schlepping a double bass is hard under the best case scenario, and trying to get a double bass to keep up with an amplified fender electric guitar was pretty impossible. It was indeed called the Precision because of the frets making it easier to intonate correctly. However, it is entirely possible to correctly intonate chords on a fretless bass.
    Or a double bass, violin or any other fretless stringed instument...

    and slapping ain't really dead either;)
  16. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    All basses are trade-offs, i.e. no one bass does everything equally well. If player chooses to play fretless excluisvely, then that player will learn to work within that instrument's limits, just like we all do.
  17. barthanatos

    barthanatos Insert witty comment here

    Feb 8, 2006
    South Carolina
    Totally agree. I meant to emphasize the reason why said electric bass was given frets.
  18. steve4765630


    Feb 27, 2006
    I used a fretless as my lone bass for about 6 years without any hitches or complaints. I do have good intonation though. You need to make sure that you can play in tune before you go gigging with one.
  19. ibz


    Apr 14, 2005
    Columbus, OH
    Who said slapping was dead?

    Who said you can't you can't slap on a fretted bass and make it work and/or sound good?

    I find slapping on the right fretless sometimes is more satifying than a fretted. :ninja:

    But different kinda vibe though. ;)
  20. I've also been playing (mostly) strictly fretless for about 9 years now and it works in most styles. I've used it in Rock, Funk, Jazz, Electronica Wierdness, etc....

    And yes, I too slap on the fretless. It's great fun, it's a different sound. nice for accents and color. Not that I can slap or anything, but I try.

    btw - mine's a 5 string EB fretless (with roundwounds! gotta plane the fretboard twice a year at least, but it sounds better so it's worth it IMHO)

    And EB basses records so well! (Tooting one's one horn alert)

    The first few bars sound good, the rest is repeditive bass lines and indulgent soloing but dig the first few bars for bass tone on a fretless....

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