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fretless 4, 5 or 6 ???

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by poomwah, Jan 14, 2012.

  1. poomwah


    Jan 26, 2008
    I'm wondering what you guys think of this...
    I am looking for either a fretless or a good candidate to de-fret.
    I currently play all 4 strings. While I have no current desire to own a 5 or 6 string fretted bass, I am wondering if playing fretless would be likely to lead me into a territory where 5 or 6 string might be more useful to me than one would be now.
    Does that make sense?
    so the question is not about the benefits of a 5 or 6, but if a fretless 5 or 6 is likely to be a better choice than a 4?
  2. curbowkid

    curbowkid Guest

    Jun 27, 2011
    Brooklyn, New York
    I'd personally go for a fretless 6 because of the range and the cool sounds you can get from the added strings
  3. LowerCrust


    Sep 5, 2011
    Vancouver BC
    at the very least, I would like a high c on a fretless personally. a low b is debatable unless you either really like a full range or are playing around with down-tuned material/heavier styles of music
  4. poomwah


    Jan 26, 2008
    the only thing I play down tuned NOW is usually just a half step down.
    Not saying I wouldn't play down tuned if the need were to arise.
    I must admit, I am a bit concerned about the low end, my rig doesn't have a whole lot of bottom end, and from what I've read about my cabinets, not many 5 string players were happy with the low b)
    so, lower crust, you recommend a 5 string, E-A-D-G-C ?
  5. boethius


    Sep 27, 2011
    Raleigh, NC
    I think it depends on your goals and what you play. Coming from the upright with a C extension I wanted the low B string as there are few 4 strings that can detune cleanly to a C. After many configurations and instrument switches, I am down to a 6 string fretless and a 5 string fretted on the electric side. The high C adds a sonic flavor that I have found useful more often than not...often to add chordal tone flavor like major/minor 10ths and 11ths. But I wouldn't see myself using it much on the fretted, however, I use the low B all the time on fretted.

    Not sure if that helps at all, but it's my experience. 1 word of caution though if you do go to a 6 string, moving from 4 to 6 strings is a big jump in physical width and dynamic range. Practice slowly, but deliberately and consistently to adjust to the width, perfect your intonation and build your strength. It won't come all at once, but will with work and perseverance.
  6. poomwah


    Jan 26, 2008
    once you are used to a 6 , is it awkward switching back and forth to a 4? or is just a matter of keeping in practice on both
  7. curbowkid

    curbowkid Guest

    Jun 27, 2011
    Brooklyn, New York
    If you solely play a 6 for a few months, the 4 string feels alien. The best way to describe it is it feels like a twig in comparison. If you use both equally you should be fine tho
  8. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    I very much agree. Plus a 6er really forces you to learn it right, to deal with the wide neck,to learn what cross-neck patterns are all about etc. And if you are into music where solos and extended range are the thing, to me, a 6 string fretless is the ultimate bass to get good on.

    But I just want to give you one further warning. My first 6er was an Alembic Epic "blank plank" fretless 6. It was clearly WAY too much bass for me to handle at that level! It literally took me a couple of YEARS until I began to start to feel like I was playing the bass and the bass was not dominating me! So the advice already given about learn it right and learn it slowly is completely spot-on!

    And don't worry about amps and cabs at this point. The stories about Low B being a problem are overblown. Hey, my Laney 70 watt combo does a B string just fine! And anyway a 6er will teach you that much of the utility of a B string lies further up the neck! So the real question is not does your cab handle Low B well, but rather does the E on your B string sound the same as the open E string. It usually takes some money to get that to happen.

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