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Can you use a fretless in rock?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by RJSBASS, Jun 28, 2005.


    RJSBASS Guest

    Jun 22, 2005
    New York
    I have a fretless bass, can you use it in rock songs?
  2. Andre_gt7


    Jan 4, 2005
    Atlanta - GA
    depends on how open minded your bandmates are....and how "heavy" your rock is =) take it to a practice and give it a spin!
  3. ras1983


    Dec 28, 2004
    Sydney, Australia
    my mind seems to vaguely recollect that queen's bassist used a fretless stingray... not too sure. Hey man, any bass can be used in any situation if the player is good enough to make it fit in. :)
  4. Petary791


    Feb 20, 2005
    Michigan, USA
    Pink Floyd - Hey You
    Primus - Sailing the Seas of Cheese (Album,) Pork Soda (Album,) and Animals Should Not Try To Act Like People (Album.)

    SO yeah, I think you can. :smug:
  5. Yes, there's nothing stopping you from playing the fretless like a fretted bass. Some techniques may not lend themselves to many situations in rock (sliding into notes, vibrato, etc) and there is a loss of high end clanking due to the lack of frets. However try it out, it's an interesting approach and it can give some cool results.
  6. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    Listen to Pearl Jam's "Even Flow," which gives an idea of how heavy fretless can get.
  7. zeronyne

    zeronyne Recovering Keyboard Player

    Nov 24, 2003
    Jeff Ament
    Tony Franklin
    Tony Levin
    JAck Bruce (but not in Cream, I think)
  8. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    No, because it's not my bass.
  9. lamarjones

    lamarjones Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2002
    Raleigh, NC

    Juan Alderete - The Mars Volta
  10. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK

    The answer to the question is - yes, if you want to. Check out some of Ross Vallory's stuff with Journey.

    A fretless won't suit every single situation, but then again ,what does?
  11. Hey Andrew W. I liked your reply so much, it's become my sig. line. Thanks for the laugh!!!

    And thank RJSBASS for asking a question that warranted that answer! :bassist:
  12. mgmadian


    Feb 4, 2002
    Austin, TX
  13. There is nothing beyond your intonation and touch to keep you from playing fretless in a rock setting. If you have decent intonation you can play without too much telltale fretless warble and nobody is the wiser. I've done loads of pounding rock on freltess basses and if I had any problems it has been from being under-rehearsed or over-beer'd :p

    I still play some stuff on fretted because I prefer it on some things, or the band/songwriter prefers it.
  14. I'm not sure if its on any recordings, but towards the end of his life, John Entwistle played every Who show with a fretless
  15. TL5


    Jun 27, 2005
    zeronyne mentioned Tony Franklin.

    I absolutely love his bass work with Jimmy Page in the Firm. He also played fretless with the group Blue Murder.
    Great choice IMHO, well worth checking into.

    (edit) 'Rock' is a pretty broad term. John McVie also plays fretless with Fleetwood Mac.
  16. ...don't do it, it's bad...if you use fretless in rock, the volcanos erupt, then the lava will flow across the stage, and will sweep the band into the river....

    ...very bad...

    ...very, very, very bad...


    (Hell yeah, use it where ever you like! :D )
  17. thewhitesheep


    Dec 22, 2004
    Didnt Tony Levin use a fretless on LTE´s Biaxident? Or was it just the intro...not sure. That song gets heavy at some parts
  18. pklima

    pklima Commercial User

    May 2, 2003
    Kraków, Polska
    Karoryfer Samples
    Yes but only if you have decent stage sound. You have to hear yourself and some other pitched instrument well enough to tell whether you're playing in tune with the rest of the band.
  19. Futurebass


    Jun 22, 2005
    Bill Wyman played a fretless on many Stones recordings, even in the early days. Since they are the definition of "rock" I guess the answer is "Yes".
  20. Bassmanbob

    Bassmanbob Supporting Member

    A fretless will especially shine at the end of a song when you run up to the mic stand and run the stand up and down against the strings. You don't get that aweful shoppy sound of the frets. It's much more of a gliding sound.

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