Fretless as a first bass??????

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by chi42069, Jul 3, 2003.

  1. chi42069

    chi42069 Guest

    Apr 23, 2000
    I'm thinking of getting a fretless as my first bass. But being that i have very little bass experience, i'm not sure if i'll prefer it over fretted. i'm very interested in slapping and popping and I heard u can't do that with fretless. So, is fretless too much to handle for a beginner? Can i play all types of styles with it?

    Also, what do u all think of SX or Brice fretless basses?


  2. Mike Money

    Mike Money Banned

    Mar 18, 2003
    Bakersfield California
    Avatar Speakers Endorsing Hooligan
    You can too slap and pop on a fretless. I do it all the time on mine... but that is because i have like 9 coats of polyerothane on it... hrm...

    Fretless as a beginner should be alright, you will develop your ear more quickly than people who start with fretted... go for it.
  3. frederic b. hodshon

    frederic b. hodshon Supporting Member

    May 10, 2000
    Lake Forest, CA
    i started on a fretless Fender Precision in the early 70's.

    the jury is still out on whether it helped or hindered.


  4. steve-o

    steve-o Guest

    Apr 17, 2002
    i let my frien borrow my fretless when she wanted to learn...shes still playing too..and she loves fretless..
    i think it makes you more accurate on the neck..

    bu thats just me

  5. thumbtrap


    Jun 26, 2003
    You really should consider learning the instrument on a fretted one like all them violin players do. Oh um well... They DO make a fretted violin, only it's double strung and they call it a mandolin. Just don't tell that to a violinist.
  6. ha ha.

    Well, if you think you want to play fretless, then yeah, get a fretless bass. You will have to work much, much harder on fundamentals, however, because one of your fundamentals is going to be playing in tune. That is really going to be first and foremost. As long as you realize that, you should be OK. Fretless is so cool, it's very expressive.

    Do try and do something to make sure you're playing in tune though (tape yourself against a piano or something). One of the worst things is an out of tune bassist :mad:
  7. i would say get a lined fretless; iknow a cat that learned on a fretless, and he's pretty good (on both fretless and fretted.)
    i slap on my fretless all the time.
  8. Gard

    Gard Commercial User

    Mar 31, 2000
    Greensboro, NC, USA
    General Manager, Roscoe Guitars
    ...helped or hindered playing Fred, not personality disorders!



    Chi - If you want to play fretless, then by all means get one to start on. The learning curve will be a bit steeper, but you will eventually make it work. Violinists, violists, cellists, oudists (izzat a word? :D), and double bassists all start on fretless instruments - why shouldn't you?
  9. side note: very important to understand that the bass will not be 'in tune' as you would think all the way up and down the fretboard. Check this out:

    I was surprised when I read this. If you get a fretless, spend $50 or so on a good setup!!!

    Edit: slapping on a fretless, ugh :spit:
  10. If I had to go back a month and ten days, and I could choose between a fretless and fretted, I would...take the fretted, like how I did a month and ten days ago. I think it's better to start on a less complex level. Intonation is key on a fretless, and I guess you have to learn where to put your fingers first.
  11. furiously funky

    furiously funky Guest

    Dec 28, 2002
    i had no problem starting on fretless! i love fretless and may not have bothered learning bass had i not started on fretless. i hatged frets (because i play violin) I had no trouble, and i can play it just fine in tune. go for it.
  12. soularis


    Jul 3, 2003
    Illinois, USA
    yeah a lined fretless should do the trick, it's the most beatiful sound in the world -- sound of a fretless bass :) as for slapping and popping it probobly won't be as "precise" perhaps as when played on fretted, but these are two different instruments anyway with different styles of playing, maybe down the road you can get a fretted one too, like i'm thinking of a getting a fretless now :) good luck
  13. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    Rollerblades for a first pair of shoes? If so, I highly recommend a skating instructor.
  14. :smug: great metaphor man
  15. Josh Curry

    Josh Curry

    May 29, 2003
    Frisco, TX
    I would seriously avoid a fretless as a first bass, especially if you've never played a stringed instrument. You will learn a lot faster and be able to play in tune a LOT better with a fretted bass. Starting on a fretless will probably depress you because it's a lot harder to sound good. You'll be much happier with a fretted.

    Slapping on a fretless is totally lame unless it has a very hard or lacquered board. Mine has neither, it's just waxed and I sound like a total poser when I slap on it, hehe.

    The Brice fretless basses are fine, I have the 6-string unlined red one. I've made mention of it in several posts. If you go this route you will probably need to put some work into it right away. Like getting flat wound strings, and some re-wiring.
  16. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    All I have to say is that I wish I had started out on fretless 5 string 23 years ago. I can't imagine how much better I would be if I had been playing fretless for 23 years instead of 2 years.
  17. you just dont get the same sound with slap out of a fretless that you get out of a fretted, IMO. i prefer the fretted sound.
  18. frederic b. hodshon

    frederic b. hodshon Supporting Member

    May 10, 2000
    Lake Forest, CA
    thank goodness.

    i like the slapped sound of my zon fretless AND the sound of my sadowsky vintage 4 different ways.

  19. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    I am with Fred. I love the slap sound of my Cirrus 6, and the slap sound of my Zon fretless 5. Fretless slap doesn't sound bad, it just sounds different.