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Fretless Basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by agyeman, Jun 8, 2001.


  1. agyeman

    agyeman Member

    Mar 6, 2001
    I am thinking of getting a fretless bass and would like to have a bit of info about them.

    What do they they sound like (i know its hard to describe sound, so don't flame me), how hard/soft to fret, best strings to use etc.

    I got Pearl Jams "10" today, is the bass on the track "oceans" fretless? It sounds great.
     
  2. Well, this has been discussed plenty of times, so you'd probably find a lot of information if you searched. But I'll help as best as I can. I play fretless, and I have flatwound strings. I get a very smooth sound, without the edgyness of a fretted bass. No fret buzz either. :D. But you could also go with the roundwound strings and get a completely different sound, mellow, but with the mwah sound that you can only get on a fretless. Fretless basses are varied, and like fretted basses, it all depends on pickups, wood types, strings, etc. Then you have the issue of fretlines. I like them, it makes it easier, but some people say you have to learn with your ears, not your eyes, but you can always just not look. But an unlined fretboard is pretty. Then there's intonation, that'll take practice at first, but eventually it just becomes second nature. Hope this helps.
     
  3. CYoung

    CYoung

    Nov 30, 2000
    Gainesville, FL
    I was lucky enough to acquire a Carvin LB20 fretless recently. Fretless takes a bit of getting used to, but perhaps I can summarize:

    Sound: depends on strings. Flat wounds give you a more fundamental, string-bass-like tone. The D'Addarios on mine give a bright 'Mwah' when playing. Pickups and wood are very important. The LB20 is neck-through body and sounds nice. Passive pickups give good warmth without too much bite. I have not tried one with active EQ or pickups.

    Playability: I like lines on my fretless. Perhaps once I get better, I will graduate to a nice clean fretboard sans lines. If you have lines, get used to fretting on the lines, not between them. Sliding alot will make your fingers sore at first, but really, if you are sliding that much, you are probably overplaying.

    Go try a few fretless units and see how you like it. I like the warmth and the ability to be a little more smooth when playing phrases requiring lots of transitions.
     
  4. agyeman

    agyeman Member

    Mar 6, 2001
    Thanks for the info.

    I would like to try some fretless basses, but i am a lefty, so i am gonna have to end up ordering the bass as guitar shops near me seem to have a no lefty policy.
     
  5. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    The best strings: Thomastik-Infield Jazz flats