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distorting a fretless

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Tommy el Gato, Aug 2, 2007.

  1. Tommy el Gato

    Tommy el Gato

    Jul 6, 2007
    I'm not a fretless owner (yet), but since I AM interesting in getting a fretless, I want to know if what kind of differences the distortion will have (Whenever I invest into a good distortion, that is), especially if I keep flatwounds on the fretless and roundwounds on the fretted, or even if I just use roundwounds on the fretless.

    I know that there are A LOT of variables as far as sound goes, from individual pedals, different settings, and different basses. As far as distortion goes, what I'm looking for is a true-blue guitar-esque distortion, rather than the synthy-sounding fuzzes nor the heavier sounds that sound reminiscent of anal disturbances. Once again: ANY insight is much appreciated.
  2. I have roundwounds on my fretless and play with distortion from time to time. It doesn't affect the distortion in a different way as such... It just sounds like a distorted fretless :)

    I really like Overdrive on a fretless. You can get a really raspy (dunno how to spell it), woody sound. Les Claypool gets a cool fretless overdriven sound IMO.

    A Proco RAT Might provide the guitar like distortion you are after. They lose a bit of bottom end :)
  3. The Lurker

    The Lurker

    Aug 16, 2002
    It acts pretty much the same way as it would on a fretted bass of the same type, assuming that you play the two in pretty much the same way. I run all my basses through the same effects, and there's no issues. If you like doing a lot of the intricate slidey fiddly bits on a fretless, the disto might get in the way of that a little.

    If you're dealing with two radically different basses-- say a Rickenbacker and a fretless Musicman 5-string-- that would matter more.
  4. acleex38


    Jul 28, 2006
    I've been using a Sansamp BDDI on my passive fretless (with flats - D'Addario chromes specifically) - but I tend to crank it up (bass, treble, and gain all at 3:00) with the blend turned all the way up, so the difference between my fretted and fretless sound with the same pedal is almost completely lost.

    I'll have to try some different, more laid back levels on the fretless and see what comes of it.
  5. jucas


    Dec 14, 2003
    The differences between flats and rounds will probly be pretty prominant, and then just the tonal variations of the fretless but distorted.

    I enjoy me some overdrive on my fretless, and liked my english muffin after a bit of compression to get a more even amount of drive thourghout the note. I was less of a fan of highergain, but that might be the bass more than the lack of frets.
  6. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Yeah, I've done the range: fretted/round, fretted/flats, fretless/round, fretless/flats... never did I notice an OD/distortion pedal working better or worse (or differently in any way) with any of those combinations.
  7. assboglin

    assboglin Banned

    Jul 13, 2007
    For the record Jaco used the fuzz on the acoustic 360 head.
  8. Tommy el Gato

    Tommy el Gato

    Jul 6, 2007
    Thanks for the input folks. All my worried have been cast aside. hehe.

    Oh, and as for mentioning the Proco Rat, I tried one at one point (A guitarist friend of mine has one), and the sound was awful. It sound kinda like I had mis-matched the cables for my computer's stereo. It may have been a dead battery as I recall, or just a bad Proco Rat (Which wouldn't surprise me. Not only have I heard of Proco's declining quality, but this guy is absolutely tone-deaf.) I've heard of this unit being used relatively commonly among bassist to great effect.

  9. Yeah, im neither a fan nor a hater of the RAT. I havn't spent much time with one. I just remember there not being a whole lot of low end left and so I figured it might give you your 'guitar-ish' sound :)
  10. ariwax

    ariwax Insonating the acoustic window Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2005
    Cleveland, OH
    I have a Wendler Electrocoustic fretless which sounds a lot like an upright. I put it through my Chunk Systems Brown Dog and it sounds like a synthesizer. Mmm... fuzz and fretless.

    Standard OD, though, on fretless.. meh.

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