First foray into fretless...

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by pmkelly, Nov 29, 2001.

  1. pmkelly


    Nov 28, 2000
    Kansas City, MO
    I finally finished the job on a peavey to make it a fretless, and just got done noodling a bit on it... I am still undecided about playing a fretless. So all of you that do play a fretless, let me know what it is about playing fretless that does it for you... just want to hear what all your opinions are on this. Thanks!:)

    [email protected]
  2. White_Knight


    Mar 19, 2000
    Well, I just got my MIM fretless today - I've played only a very little bit on a fretless before I started really playing today. Overall, I love it. I admit, it's more of a challenge to play chords on than a fretted, but it's a good kind of challenge. I have to admit that I've already fallen in love with the fretless 'mwah' sound! I haven't found it very hard at all to play most things in tune (of course with my old bass I always fretted right behind the fret, so it's not too much of a change) except for the chords, so there's been no big problems there at all.
  3. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    It's a cool sound and can only help you with your ear and your chops. Unless you do a lot of slapping, I say jump in.
  4. SRSiegel

    SRSiegel Guest

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
    i started playing bass on an upright, so fretless just feels more natural and honest to me. i love the "mwah" sound, and i love the way my bass has an insanely low action, and is hence very easy to play. mine has lines, so im not a real man; but i find it much easier to play fretless than either one of my fretted basses. and of course... vibrato... drool...
  5. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    OK, here goes:

    At one point or another, you'll get frustrated on the intonation, and you think "I throw this junk in the wall", but you don't (too much money involved:) ). Three days later, you realize that your ear is getting better, your intonation is improving drastically, and you are becoming a better bassist.
    Then you pick up a fretted... "Ah", you think, "I can play fast on this one!" and you do that. You go back to your fretless, and notice your hand has become sloppy, it doesn't hit the notes as well as before. You practice and get good again. Then you play a slow tune on a fretted - and you almost puke! It does not intonate right!!! "Where's that fretless, now when I need it?"
    /////the story of my life/////

    So, on a fretless you will learn a lot more, and faster, because it forces you, it challanges you and it entices you.

    It is just.....RIGHT! :cool:
  6. A fretless bass is a cruel mistress, but one worth far more than her weight in gold.

    I think the expressiveness, the sound, the sheer musicality of the instrument are what I love about it.

  7. Wow! That's deep - and right on the mark!

    What he said!

  8. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    I love the tone of a fretless. I'm not talking "mwah" sound but just the nice even sound with no clicky buzzy frets int he way. There's something organic about just a finger and some rosewood (or other wood). They sound great for slapping by the way. Intonation is frustrating at times, I want to be as good as Sting.

    Edit: If interested, listen to some of my fretless work on my brother's music project Here.
  9. Agree with fretless Friday and Philbiker.

    I got into fretless just over two years ago, and I have worked my way through a few finding what did it for me. My current is one I had made for me. And the reason I like them is that they are more expressive...a couple of weeks ago I was sitting in with a blues duo and afterwards the soundguy came up to me and congratulated me on my sound. He said that it was not just thump and slap, but actually sounded like a real musical instrument (which probably gives you an idea of what normally goes down at that bar!). He said he could hear every nuance. What he could hear, of course, was no frets...what comes out of the bass is precisely what the finger wants to come out of the bass. SO subtle.

    I have now lost interest in fretted playing. I sold all my fretted basses (well, I sold my P and a MIJ J) save one, and I am seriously thinking of taking out the frets...
  10. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Andy, well written. I am afraid that I am heading in that direction slowly also. I woodshed, play in church, play in an acoustic trio with a brother (not Andrew, previously liked in my above post), and record for friends and family who need bass. I have 6 basses, some fairly expensive (but none that are in the above $1500 MSRP land). The one bass that has been getting the most play is the inexpensive Dean fretless that I got a little less than two years ago. I love it more every time I pick it up and believe that I really have found my voice on the bass now.

    The fretted basses are less interesting to me, though recently I got back a homemade P bass that I had been lending out and I'm loving that. :)
  11. progplayer


    Nov 7, 2001
    Tone. Its so expressive. I have played fretted since 1992 till now. Well sold all my fretted basses and got a pentabuzz. I'm strickly a fretless player from now on. There's something about it that just makes me smile... its a challange also to play it. I don't care, if I ever get back into the brutal metal scene (which i doubt, u get older and move on) i'd still use my pentabuzz no matter how much i stick out.

    may not be for everyone...
  12. I mainly like the sound of uprights, but, don't like their size, cost, and portability problem. This is why I like playing a fretless. Also, if you alternate between fretted and fretless on a regular basis, I think they benefit each other. Kind of like driving stick and automatic; keeps you on your toes. One thing I consider an absolute must for fretless is a flanger. Set properly, it compliments a fretless like butter compliments corn on the cob. Now, I gotta decide whether I want to upgrade my MIM Jazz, or get something else like a fretless Kingston. I can't stand that lousy, stinking hum. Grrr.

    Mike J.
  13. geshel


    Oct 2, 2001
    Two words:

    *** Mick Karn ***

  14. Zoot H Rollo

    Zoot H Rollo

    May 10, 2000
    Redmond, WA
    what, exactly, is a fretless?

    i mean, how can a bass not have any frets?

    i'm new...bear with me.

  15. SRSiegel

    SRSiegel Guest

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
    it just doesnt :) seriouslly, a fretless bass is just that, there are no frets, the string is pushed directly into the fingerboard, just like on an upright bass. This does make intonation harder (well kinda, to some people, including myself its easier to play without frets) many fretless players prefer the sound that a fretless bass has. to me its more natural, and honest sounding. there is no metallic clackiness when you finer notes. bottom line, you just need perfect intonation and tenchique.
  16. Here's my 5 string. Look. Mum, no frets!:

    <img src="">
  17. Maybe when recording. I know nothing about recording. But live you just need confidence and good taste....the odd bum note is just like hot pickles.
  18. KeithPas


    May 16, 2000
    What kind id bass is that? It looks really nice, kind of Yamaha TRB influenced.
  19. Take a <a href="">look</a>.....I never did fret it, despite the update. I decided I didn't need a fretted bass after all.
  20. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Hodshon, you are a laugh!:D
    How's that hollowbody coming around?