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fretless? 5 string? Advice?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by pharasoth, Nov 29, 2004.

  1. pharasoth


    Nov 27, 2004
    Good evening all..
    I'm a guitar player who recently picked up the bass and I'm absolutely loving it. I've been learning scales lately, practicing techniques like slapping, and I don't know what you would call it but I "run" with my 2 fingers on the string. I really dislike using picks. I'm borrowing an old cort electric bass from a sister of a friend but I need to get myself one. I NEED TO. I'm gonna be playing good old rock and roll with some buddies of mine in a band.

    I've been browsing the forums, browsing gear reviews, browsing custom basses... ooing and ahing and I THINK I have a fairly good idea of what basses are good and what aren't.

    So I'm in the market for a new bass, intermediate level I suppose, something that will last me a couple years that I won't outgrow.

    The real question I have is, should I buy a fretless?
    I have a pretty good knowledge of guitar theory, and I was thinking if could get acquainted with the fretless it would be more rewarding in the end. What do you recommend? If yes to a fretless, should I get a 5 string?

    Too many options... :confused:
    Any advice is welcome!
  2. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    Have you played a fretless at all? If not, try one out. Fretless makes sense if that is the sound and approach that you feel you want to take. It will be harder because you will have to concentrate to make sure that your intionation is correct, but it can be done. If you fo fretless and you want to play rock, I would recommend either a fretless P or jazz. Either one could get you a deeper sound for traditional rock bass lines as opposed to a more bridge pickup or fusion sound that is better for more upfront lines.
  3. I love fretless P basses for rock. Even the cheap MIM fretless P basses sound really good.

    edit: havn't seen a 5 string P fretless. Maybe a P special.
  4. pharasoth


    Nov 27, 2004
    I'd like to stay away from fenders if possible.... I hear bad things about fender basses.. then again I do love my stratocaster..

  5. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    Since you're experienced with fretted instruments, you ought to be able to tell a bad Fender from a good one. Still, if you'd prefer not to have a Fender, try to find a fretless Lakland Skyline. It'll cost more, but they are very high quality.
  6. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    The 5 string gives you low notes below the E and extended hand position playing above the 5th fret. Do you think these are important? If so, give it a try! Fretless is tough to "hit the ground running" with because intonation takes a lot of practice, but it's definitely doable if you like the sound and feel. Go into a music store and try out basses and see what you like.

    What's your budget? Do you have an amp? Are you set up with a band that you need to get going right away or do you have some time to ramp up?
  7. ksukev


    Aug 24, 2004
    And a fretless is a real handful to play if you're onstage and have been tipping a few back. Oddly enough, when you get a little 'sauced' the ear starts to go and suddenly you wish you had frets or at least fretlines on your fretless. These are wise words coming from a unlined fretless 5 player who likes his Miller Lite while he plays. LOL


    "My wife works 2 jobs to support my band habit"
  8. Josh Curry

    Josh Curry

    May 29, 2003
    Frisco, TX
    I played a Zon 5-string fretless at BassQuake and had to hide my woody the rest of the day ;) That bass is ultra sick.
  9. Thumper


    Mar 22, 2000
    Syracuse Ut
    IME, I'm wouldn't recommend fretless if you're gonna' add lead vocals to the mix. Backup vocals okay, but not lead.
  10. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Unless you're Sting.

    Seriously, that's a really good point. If you're lead singing the intonation is gonna be real tough.
  11. I like fretless, even when drunk. You can compensate if your strings (or your guitar player's) are going out. You adapt. If it gets tough, stay in the lower positions. Fretless does not tolerate bad technique, however.