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Fretless Bass Question

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Dana R Gregory, Dec 21, 2016.

  1. Hey all, I am starting to GAS for a fretless bass. I have tried one at the local Sam Ash and liked the feel very much. No fret buz, no discomfort on the fingers ect. My question is this. How practical is a fretless bass for a classic rock cover band. I am currently looking at the new Squier Vintage Modified Fretless PBass and intend to use Labella Dark Talking flats ( .045-.105). I also like to play Motown, finger style Funk, Reggae and Blues Rock as well as some old school Punk. I love the PBass so it will either be fretted or fretless. What say you. :laugh:
  2. gebass6

    gebass6 We're not all trying to play the same music.

    May 3, 2009
    N.E Illinois
    It is used more often in a Fusion context.
    That is where the majority of the top players are.
    Much less frequently in Classic Rock.
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2016
    alangrus likes this.
  3. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    Or Jazz...
    gebass6 likes this.
  4. silvertone


    Nov 6, 2007
    SF, CA
    It takes some adjustment and a lot of practice, but fretless certainly can be used for rock.
    You just can't succumb to the temptation that having no frets invites: slurring, sliding and being over-expressive with vibrato, just because you can. If you intonate cleanly and accurately it's very doable to play fretless in a rock context.
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2016
    Atshen, coo68ley, aguacollas and 14 others like this.
  5. SteveCS


    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    I played exclusively fretless for many years in many settings. IME, unless you are planning a slap-fest, fretless fits right in. Glissando and vibrato at every opportunity are not mandatory, and in fact quickly get tiresome, but good intonation is not difficult to develop so you will be flying in no time. I say go for it, and see you on the smooth side...
    -Asdfgh-, pingvuiini, Sixgunn and 8 others like this.
  6. MD


    Nov 7, 2000
    Marin Co. CA.
    What they said.
    Glad I could help!:thumbsup:

    Edit: I should add, I play fretless exclusively, and if I decided to play classic rock next week, it would be on my fretless '67P. And if anyone said anything about it, the suggestion to KMA would be out there real fast.
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2016
  7. Wfrance3

    Wfrance3 Supporting Member

    May 29, 2014
    Tulsa, OK
    With what you are playing, I'd do the deep talking flats on your fretted bass first. That would probly be the ticket. - corse I've been where you are. The gass wants what the gass wants...
    I got a nice24 fret ibanez and it was sweet, but I realized after a year that I ain't Jaco, and I was making my fretless "act" like a fretted bass. Which is a pain in the bass compared to having frets - that was me tho- ymmv. If you want a fretless to play swingin jazz, Pino-type stuff...that would be practical reason to go fretless. Hope this helps!!
    BassChuck likes this.
  8. staccatogrowl

    staccatogrowl Savoring time on a spinning, shimmery, aqua sphere Supporting Member

    Jul 14, 2006
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2016
  9. Basshappi


    Feb 12, 2007
    Quite a bit of fretless in classic rock actually.
    Atshen and Bob_Ross like this.
  10. silvertone


    Nov 6, 2007
    SF, CA
    There's some good Fretless rock recordings out there from Jack Bruce, Rick Danko and Roger Waters among others.
    macmanlou likes this.
  11. I dunno , if you're trying to make a fretless sound like a fretted bass, I don't get why you want one (for rock). Sting in early police played a fretless and it sounded great I guess.
    Atshen and gebass6 like this.
  12. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    Is it time for the obligatory Bill Wyman reference yet?
    Atshen, onosson, equill and 2 others like this.
  13. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    'nuff said already. :)
  14. Max Blasto

    Max Blasto

    Nov 29, 2010
    San Diego
    Go for the fretless! You can easily use it in lots of different styles, they don't all go "mwaaaaa".

    I use fretless for any classic rock that was originally played on a Gibson EB or some other short scale. So, Cream, Grand Funk, Mountain, Trower, early Tull. You get the picture. Any Beatles song will work and "Something" is amazing on a fretless. Also, Stones, anything from the first two Zep albums.... Eagles, Fleetwood Mac.... Easy and sounds great.

    All of my blues gigs see the fretless. Also, Fretless is very handy at open jams, just cuz even the pros get wonky with tuning sometimes.

    I even managed to fold the fretless into a Rush tribute band. Doesn't work for most of it, but YYZ on fretless definitely gets the fanboys' attention.
    AltGrendel likes this.
  15. eastcoasteddie


    Mar 24, 2006
    There is a Death Metal band from Europe (Obscura) whose bass player uses a Fretless Warwick Thumb 6
    (Edit) I see that he now has a Thumb 7...


    If you are good enough, you can use any bass for any genre.
  16. zontar


    Feb 19, 2014
    I'm not a gigging musician --but I play all sorts of stuff on the fretless-but was never into playing slap style--although I can enjoy listening to it.
    I play almost all fretless--and even with a fretted bass I slide between notes at times.
    Yes you may do it a bit too much at first--just warn the others you may do that--but you're just getting it out of your system--but don't let that last more than a coupe of weeks--a month, tops.
    Just play it.
  17. AztecViking

    AztecViking Supporting Member

    Oct 12, 2010
    EndlessSummerVille, CA
    For me a fretless totally breathed new life into a whole lot of classic rock material that I had previously thought would make me want to hang myself if I ever had to play it again. :laugh: So yeah, don't let anyone tell you a fretless isn't appropriate for classic rock! :cool:
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2016
  18. Who says you can't rock on a fretless bass?

  19. I played with a band for one year before they noticed that my bass was fretless. They saw the gold lines on the lined fretless and assumed that they were frets.

    If you play well it don't matter.
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2016
  20. GregBass1979


    Feb 26, 2008
    Yep was also going to mention Tony Franklin..(Blue Murder, The Firm, Whitesnake, now Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band on tour)...fretless works everywhere. Oh and don't forget Pino Palladino's early material.

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