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Fretless as main bass in non-jazz setting?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by SteveC, Sep 12, 2008.

  1. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    Does anyone here use a fretless as their main bass in a band other than jazz? Rock/Pop cover, country, funk, etc.

    I would like a 2nd bass and am debating between fretted or fretless. I have a fretted 5 that I like and use for everything. I don't really like a fretless for standard jazz stuff - tried it, no good - but I do like it for some more modern, funky and smooth jazz stuff. Unfortunately, I mostly play that for myself, not many gigs, and I'm worried a 2nd fretless bass may just be sitting at home for my use in "playing along" with smooth jazz and the like.

    Just curious what thoughts and practices are out there amoung TB'ers.
  2. El Bobo

    El Bobo

    Apr 24, 2003
    I use a Zon Hypebass 5 a bunch in a progressive rock band. It is great and even though I am the singer also it's not too bad to play fretless in this context I rather enjoy it.

  3. I have two basses. Fretless P Bass and a Fretless Jazz Bass and I don't really play jazz. The band I'm in right now is basically a rock trio. I have also done an R&B/Soul group and an Acoustic/Countryish type of thing recently.

    I think the key thing for me is that I "mwah" every line and do an excessive number of slides. So for the most part, most people don't notice that I play fretless until they look at my fretboard or when I hit a clam. I'll pull out the fretless tricks when they are appropriate though.
  4. andymcclure


    May 10, 2008
    My Carvin FL is my main bass with my main band, and we do rock/psychedelic originals & covers. I use my other basses sometimes, but I always go back to the Carvin. Very rarely does the fretlessness interfere, and if it does, I just change my part to fit the bass I'm playing.
  5. There are some metal bassist that use a fretless bass too.
  6. Greyvagabond

    Greyvagabond Supporting Member

    Aug 17, 2007
    Los Angeles
    I use a fretless jazz bass in an indie/pop band. It sounds great for some of our alt-country songs, up tempo pop numbers, or mid-tempo ballads. Not so much for straight ahead rock songs, but that's what the P bass is for. I could probably use just the fretless for all the songs, though. I used to use it in a power-pop/emo band as well; it sounded real unique, but not out of place. It was odd...
  7. alexbrownebass

    alexbrownebass Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2008
    Austin, TX
    Steve Digiorgio.

  8. Guy from Idaho

    Guy from Idaho

    Oct 9, 2006
    I've been thinking the same thoughts myself. It obviously works for Jack Bruce.

    ...but then of course I'm not Jack Bruce....
  9. bh2


    Jun 16, 2008
    Oxford, UK
    I play my f Jazz in a Drum and Bass band.
  10. von buck

    von buck

    Feb 22, 2008
    wolcott ct.
    I've been playing a fretless P bass in my zydeco band for the past few years and it works fine. I just had my Warmoth 56 string finished, so I'll be switching to that on the next gig. But I'm going to kmiss using the fretless.
  11. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    I am a bit obsessed with the Yellowjackets right now and wanting a fretless 6 again. The problem is justifying the expense for a bass that may or may not see playing time outside of my house for my own edification
  12. Interesting, Jimmy doesn't use a fretless with the 'Jackets, all that stuff is fretted.


    FWIW, I didn't OWN a fretted bass for over 5 years, gigged in every imaginable situation during that time. You can play fretless on ANYTHING if you choose to do so, it's a matter of using taste when you do it...and I'm still going to the blank plank as my first choice every chance I get now.

  13. Ricky Caboverde

    Ricky Caboverde Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2004
    Miami, FL
    I play fretless 4 exclusively...just cuz I can't afford to have more than one bass at a time :meh: It's strung BEAD and I use it for everything. The key is really knowing how to get the best out of the EQ and using the more contrasts with the right hand (kinda like jaco). So when I play rock I tend to play by the bridge alot, and when I play neo-soul or R&B I tend to play by the middle or the neck. It works great for me....and by the way, there is nothing wrong with getting a bass for your own edification. If it helps you to actually want to practice, that will in turn help you to learn and incorporate new ideas into your playing that you would not have otherwise learned...just food for thought.
  14. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    I know he doesn't now, but I'm pretty sure he used to for some tunes.
  15. Fretlessboy


    Nov 29, 2007
    St Augustine Florida
    Endorsing artist GENZ BENZ/HERCULES STANDS/XSonics
    I play fretless %95 of the time in all situations unless the gig requires a lot of thumb.
  16. JehuJava

    JehuJava Bass Frequency Technician

    Oct 15, 2002
    Oakland, CA
    I think he used to drive a Toyota at some point in his life...I better get one.

    JK, man...thats just how I read your last post :):)
  17. Rickett Customs

    Rickett Customs

    Jul 30, 2007
    Southern Maryland
    Luthier: Rickett Customs...........www.rickettcustomguitars.com
    I do 75% - 100% of the time.
  18. Wilbyman


    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV
    If it's good enough for Willis...
  19. ROON


    Aug 5, 2006
    Sydney, Australia
  20. Tired_Thumb

    Tired_Thumb Guest

    I use one right now 100% of the time in a hard rock / metal band. The bass can either sound very woody, or like metal on metal, depending on how I pan the pickups and EQ it. I have a new fretted P-bass which will probably get some playing time once it's out of the shop, but I don't think the fretless is taking a back seat anytime soon.

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