Fretless bass ego.

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by Medicine Man, Dec 4, 2017.

  1. Medicine Man

    Medicine Man

    Apr 10, 2015
    So at one of my gigs this week, I had a singer that I highly respect ask me if the point of playing fretless bass was just to show off that I can. I, of course, told him that fretless has a unique voice that allows a more melodic approach, smoother feel, and blah blah blah. Over the rest of the night, the more I thought about it, the more I realized he was partially right, and my ego does play a certain role in my instrument choice. So let me ask any other fretless players: are we showing off by playing fretless? Just a little?
  2. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Of course. But we're also showing off by playing fretted. Playing for others is inherently showing off, no way around it.
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  3. Fretless1!


    Feb 19, 2007
    Nope. I just like the sound of it. Sometimes I play fretted because I think the fretted sounds better. It's another tool.
  4. Those who see it as an ego thing are intimidated by the whole idea of it. Most people's conception of a fretless is that there is no markings what so ever even on the side of the neck so they think it is vastly harder than a fretted.

    I will say fretless comes with its own set of unique challenges but almost all of my fretted experiences transferred over cept with a more expressive nature and aND some more mwah.

    Lol and the fact you got the singer going is that they are afraid you will steal some of their spotlight. They can't have everyone staring at them bc this guy over here is playing a shiny glossy fretboard with no lines and it sounds wonderful lol (cue most ppl never seeing or understanding that they've heard one before it's like a unicorn to the average person)
  5. 1st Bass

    1st Bass

    May 26, 2005
    Forest Grove, OR
    Does he/she sing for an audience just to show off that he/she can? Not everyone sings for an audience...not everyone plays a fretless instrument. But ALL of the violin-family instruments are the orchestras are just showing off?

    To me the whole question is a non-sequitur. I can't see a connection, beyond the reasonable supposition that anyone who plays or sings in public must at least be able to endure being the center of attention. (Though I did play all the music for a wedding once, where, until I stood up to sing, no one could see me, and people told me later that they had thought my playing had been a recording, until I stood up...which I found flattering.)

    I don't need the limelight at all, but I can handle it when I have to... It simply doesn't matter to me, though I do like to play/sing for an audience. (Does that mean I am "showing off?" Or just that I have found that my performances bring pleasure to my audiences, and, thus, to me as well?)
    jfh2112, Levin, Jeff K and 5 others like this.
  6. Medicine Man

    Medicine Man

    Apr 10, 2015
    Good theory, it's not my singer. Guy is in a band we occasionally work with.
  7. Medicine Man

    Medicine Man

    Apr 10, 2015
    I personally enjoy the added challenge for it's own sake.
  8. Maybe the singer is a show off so that`s why he thinks you are too.

    "A thief thinks everyone steals."
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  9. Medicine Man

    Medicine Man

    Apr 10, 2015
    He absolutely is.
    design likes this.
  10. tlc1976


    Aug 2, 2016
    No ego here. I just prefer how it sounds, how it plays. If it was easier than fretted I'd still play one. I have my reasons for not owning a lined fretless but it has nothing to do with ego. I won't derail this thread.

    I don't sing and I prefer to stay a step back and support the band. If I wanted to show off, there are a lot of other things I could do.

    I think most of what musicians do can be considered difficult by many people in the audience. Like how can you sing and play at the same time? How can you play something that doesn't have black and white keys, or labels? How can you play without looking at the instrument? How can you play all those songs without having the sheet music in front of you? I think whether your bass is fretted or not only makes a difference to a small percentage of people.
  11. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Inactive

    This is probably true. Even some of the stay-at-home non-gigging players I know will share videos constantly.
    Not my thing, and I don't gig or even leave my back porch for playing.

    I also don't own any singers :smug:
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  12. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    I play mostly by / for myself, too, fwiw. Get stage fright something fierce actually playing in front of people.
  13. Yeah. This is it. The nature of performing. That’s show business.
  14. Maybe ... why do you feel the need to show off?
    Wisebass and Medicine Man like this.
  15. I don't think it's a need to show off more so than ppl come to see a band and all eyes are on the band depending on the gig. So in a sense it is a show off for the whole band to showcase they can play what wss recorded that ad ppl come bc they like the music and to them there is something mystical about seeing the band function as a unit in real life.
    Savagehenry and Medicine Man like this.
  16. Didn't Sting say he started playing fretless because it made him look like a better musician?

    If that's not ego, then I don't know what is.
    jjmuckluckjr and Medicine Man like this.
  17. snyderz


    Aug 20, 2000
    AZ mountains
    I play fretless because I don't like frets. Out of hundreds of gigs I've probably only had one or two people come up afterwards all agog that there are no frets or lines on my board.
  18. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    If you go in front of anybody, doing anything, I hope your ego is involved. A healthy ego makes a person want to do well, and make a good impression. The singer sounds like a jerk who wanted to show up something he or she is not used to.
  19. monkeyfinger

    monkeyfinger Moderator Staff Member

    My band members keep asking for it, especially my singer. I love playing it, but I also love my fretted bass. I guess I am pretty lucky.
  20. Medicine Man

    Medicine Man

    Apr 10, 2015
    That's the point I guess. I feel like playing gives me stress relief and a few extra bucks, but honestly, we all crave a certain amount of narcissistic attention.
    Sixgunn, Mantis Tobaggan and BAG like this.