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Fellow fretlessers...

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by 43apples, Apr 22, 2006.

  1. 43apples

    43apples Guest

    Nov 9, 2003
    ...i want to ask you a question.

    I've been owning my fretless (Ibanez RD-500F, a gift from my mom :D) for over a year now, and i've grown to love it. I use it for everything, exept slaphand (which my fretted Squier is for ;)).

    Anyway, i've been thinking of getting a new bass, building a Warmoth Gecko 6-string fretless. I just want a few more strings than the Ibanez has, and also an ebony fretboard for more brightness. But there is one thing that worries me: it took me over a year to get my intonation "good" with my 34" Ibanez. But the Warmoth Gecko's is 35" scale, which i believe would force me into practicing my intonation again.

    So, i ask you, my fellow fretlessers, have you had major problems when going from a 34" fretless to a 35" fretless? What about switching between a 34" and a 35" fl bass, does it cause any problems?

    I'm sorry that this thread is so poorly written... i'm really tired (worked all night) and i'm out of coffee ;).

    Anyway, thanks in advance,
  2. Vorago

    Vorago (((o)))

    Jul 17, 2003
    Antwerp, Belgium
    I haven't switched from 34" to 35" fretless, but all I know is that I had major dificulties with spreading my fingers enough on the first 5 'frets'. I think it depends on the size of your hands. What you could do is play a 35 fretted on the frets, to get an idea of the size.
  3. hasbeen

    hasbeen Commercial User

    Sep 23, 2004
    Vice President, KMC Music. Warwick U.S. distribution, Ampeg distribution
    my technique is well developed after 30+ years of playing and playing professionaly and it can be an issue for me.....and I have long fingers to boot.

    My three main basses are a 34" scale fretted, 35" fretted 5 string and a 34" fretless. On the 35" fretted and 34" fretless I find my left hand reverts to double bass technique below the 5th position. It does this automaticaly without thinking about it and I wish it didn't. It has been doing it for so many years though that I have to make a conscience effort to use all four fingers.

    I guess my point is is that I can make the stretch although if on auto-pilot I don't so I know my left hand notices the difference. This is why when I had an extended range fretless made I stuck with 34" and didn't go 35".
  4. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    After playing 34" basses for a couple decades, my first fretless was a 35" Dean Edge 5. Great bass. After lots of practice I got my intonation pretty good. Then I replaced the Dean with a 34" Brice. INSTANTLY my intonation got MUCH better.

    You might be able to switch between the 35 and 34 inch scales on a fretless relatively painlessly. Some people can. I can't.

    I wouldn't consider a 35" fretless again, even if I loved the bass. I've read here that some of the harmonic overtones are different on 35" basses, and that causes trouble for some fretless players, particularly ones with very developed "ears". I believe it. I never could put my finger (so to speak - ha ha) on exactly why my intonation wasn't as good as I wanted it to be with the otherwise excellent Dean.

    That's my experience. Hope it helps.

    JJBACOOMBA Commercial User

    May 31, 2005
    San Antonio, Texas
    Lecompte Bass Owners Club Member #2
    I have been playing 34" scale for almost 20 years and I just got my first fretless( Lecompte VB5) in November. Since then I have noticed that there is a slight stretch reguired but not much. It is noticeable when I switch to my Alembic34", but I have found it has helped not only with using my ears more but also the way I play the 34". I use all 4 fingers and it seems that I play the 34" alot easier than ever.Then when I switch to fretless I just play as if there is no difference.Hope this is helpful.
  6. fretless Bob

    fretless Bob If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail.

    Nov 27, 2005
    Harrow, London, U.K
    my main basses are a 36" fretted overwater 6 string and a 34" fretless 5 string sei and i don't really have trouble switching between the two.

    I also use on occasion a friends 35" fretless 5 and would say that my pitch is ok on that, it is a little bit harder to play on auto pilot but then i my pitch can go off a bit on my sei on occasion.

    if it is your bass im sure you will get used to it quite qwuickly.

  7. I tend to agree w/most of the above; I prefer keeping the scale consistent between fretted & fretless. I had a Spector Rebop 5 for awhile- great bass, very playable & great tones- but I didn't like the tight spacing & scale length(35"). My main fretless is now a wide-necked 34" 7; it's going to take some time to get comfortable, but my intonation is a bit more accurate now. BTW, I could see it being easier going from 34" to 36" than from 34" to 35"- I have no great difficulty going between 34" & the 41" of my upright, although this is an apples-to-oranges thing.
  8. Mojo-Man


    Feb 11, 2003
    If your use to 34' scale, it will take some ajustment to go 35'.
    But with fretless, it's all in the ears, so you will ajust, with time.
    As for comfort, for me 34' is still the best.
    Just habit.
  9. dveeus1


    Jan 7, 2001
    DFW, Texas
    I try my damnst to keep things consistant as possible.

    All my 5 strings have the same scale and neck profile and string spacing. All my fours have the same scale.

    My theory is: there is enough going on without me concentrating on hand / finger placment
  10. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    This makes sense to me, also. The closeness of the 35" and 34" make it so that the two are very close to the same. Go to a 36" and the notes get further away, and there's more of a "feel" difference that I could see making it easier to differentiate at a subliminal nonthinking level, the level where you have to be to play fretless with good intonation while reading music or looking away.
  11. Pennydreadful

    Pennydreadful Goin out West

    Jun 13, 2005
    Arlington, Texas

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