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Fretless beats fretted

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Wes I AM, Nov 19, 2000.


  1. Wes I AM

    Wes I AM

    May 27, 2000
    Tampa, FL
    Hey guys. After going to Mars today and playing about 5 different basses (fretted and fretless) including 2 curbow fretless unlined 4-strings, a Fender Jazz, Fender P, and an Epiphone-4, I have fallen in love with the fretless bass. The smooth waaooowww sound when i slid up and down the neck was so very sweet on the ears. No fret buzz or rattle, just phat sliding bass notes. Those Curbows beat the Fenders hands down. And I was completely unimpressed with the Epiphone. I love Fretless and anyone who feels the same way is welcome to post and tell me why! later you funky slappin dudes.

    PS. Fender sucks!

    PPS. I have found the only combo i will ever need and i forgot the name of it!! 2 tens, a tweeter, sub woofer, and hella boom boom.
     
  2. 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
    You're definitely not a true gear head ... you CAN'T REMEMBER the name of the only combo you'll ever need? Well, never mind. Anyway, I love the mwah sound of my Pedulla Thunderbass 5 fretless, but it doesn't work for most of the songs we do in my band (country/rock/blues, all covers). But it's the ONLY thing for some of the Bonnie Raitt and Shania stuff we do. I just hope my pending 55-94 fretless sounds as good.

    Now, this Fender thing. I've been revisiting my Fender basses this week, and dang it, they sound real good. Especially my P-deluxe, on which I just replaced the flatwounds with nice new springy GHS Boomers (I just had a new set laying around). I play Pedulla, Lakland and Ernie Ball basses which are mo' bitchen, but if you want a real Fender sound, you have to play a real Fender. A lot of people like the Fender sound. That's why they're on more records than any other brand. Amen and yea, yea, it shall be so.

    Now Ibanez, they suck.
     
  3. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    I use my fretless to play anything I play:D The trick is to play it like a fretted bass when that's the sound your going for. Sounds too simple, right? My fretless is a ball to play because it's so responsive to different techniques. Some fretlesses aren't, like the Rob Allen (but the sound it does get is very nice).

    I checked out a Peavey Cirrus fretless 5 that was very nice.

    Fenders suck? News to me.
     
  4. Hey Brad, can ya go and do a sightreading freelance gig in a band you've never played with before, on your fretless? I'm not taking the piss, I'm just curious, 'cos I cant!
     
  5. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Yeah fretless is great until someone puts a tuner on your every note and says - we can't have that, it's out of tune!

    And it's a shame nobody told Jaco that Fenders suck when he used one for probably the best fretless bass playing ever heard! :rolleyes: Just think how good he could have been if only he had known?
     
  6. Rockinjc

    Rockinjc

    Dec 17, 1999
    Michigan
    I'll chime in. I love my fretlesses and have played them for over 20 years not including upright in grade school. Still there are things about a bass with speed bumps that I can appreciate. The 'in tune' thing being high on the list. It's not that I can't hit the notes but if you play with other fretless instruments like fiddle or Steal guitar, they tend to want you to be the pitch that is stable and work off you. Pair that up with a rhythm guitar player too stoned to tune up before a gig and guess what? You get blamed for pitch problems even if you are dead accurate. So much for that band anyway.

    All things being equal, I choose fretless to play more often than a fretted bass. Here are some things I like about a fretted bass.

    1. You can shut off the fine tune feedback between your hands and brain. This goes well with the next one.
    2. A fretted bass naturally has a more aggressive attack on the notes.

    Even though I can put a fine attack and hold a tune on the fretless those things come freeon a fretted bass. Allowing me to attempt singing and dancing wile I play with four or five the leftover brain cells.

    I think it is fine to concentrate on one method or type of equipment for some amount of time, but is hard to argue that specialization is better than versatility once you have attained a certain level of proficiency.

    As far as your statement " Those Curbows beat the Fenders hands down" I would say that I am amazed at the value Curbow is able to provide in the sub 1000-dollar price range.

    It took a long time before I started liking Fenders. My guess is in a few years you too will appreciate what they are all about. I don't really like Fender strings that much though. The last bass I bought came with them on it and they sounded a little gritty for my taste. Not only that but, I broke my E string after about 20 hours of playing…something I almost never do.

    jc
     
  7. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Fender? Suck? Don't think so.

    Now ESP, on the other hand... ;)
     
  8. CS

    CS

    Dec 11, 1999
    UK
    I have a fretted 5 as well as my fretless and although my first choice is always going to be fretless, cos I like the 'slinkyness' of it, there are some gigs that I feel more comfortable on the fretted.

    Personally going fretless only is a big step and I wouldnt want to do it. With my amp(s) you can always tell its a fretless. I did get some amazing sounds out of a HK basebass
    (just play up the neck end to make it sound fretless)

    WES-Personally I think that Fenders dont suck but its a subjective opinion and I am sure that you meant that you THINK Fenders suck, whether they do or dont is immaterial.

     
  9. maestrox

    maestrox

    Oct 8, 2000
    I would love to play fretless only, but if you have to cover a certain "vibe" or play someone else's music, odds are you'll be asked to pull out a fretted bass. Luckily in my current situation, I can get away with leaving my fretted at home. One bass...one love...one mmwwwaahhhhh.

    Then again, if I start playing upright again, this won't be an issue...haven't seen a fretted upright yet.
     
  10. Steve S

    Steve S

    Jul 26, 2000
    I converted my '98 MIA Precision into a fretless and eagerly went to play in this gig. It was a horrible experience! One of the two guitar players never could get his strings in tune and I spent the whole evening trying to find the correct intonation. Now I take my fretted one too in case this happens again.
     
  11. maestrox

    maestrox

    Oct 8, 2000
    But how would a fretted help? If you're trying to match pitch with someone out of tune, at least you have a fighting chance with a fretless...
     
  12. Rockinjc

    Rockinjc

    Dec 17, 1999
    Michigan
    Maestro,

    If you try it and like it good for you. But my sympathies lie with Steve for sure. When some Bozo guitarist (present company excluded) plays a bar cord and one of the thirds is up a few too many cents and another is flat what can you do? I think it takes a load off the mind to know you are on the money even if others don’t care to keep themselves that way.

    It always helps to play with folks who stay sober (sober enough anyway), in tune, and are not to loud. Or am I too picky? Next thing you know i will by whining about people not knowing the songs. :)

    jc
     
  13. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    I had that problem in a band with four vocalists and some really complex vocal arrangements. They were having trouble hitting their pitches, and so the bandleader wound up telling me I had to play frets from then on.

    I'm sure I wasn't the problem -- hey, there was a trombone in the band play ing lots closer to their range -- but I was the one they didn't trust. Ah, well.



    [Edited by Eli on 11-20-2000 at 06:20 PM]
     
  14. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    and P.S.:

    Yes, I've been saved on at least one gig by having a fretless when a guitar went out of tune...

     
  15. maestrox

    maestrox

    Oct 8, 2000
    Oh that's easy...turn WAY up. When people complain, scream, "I'm an artist. I refuse to be treated this way", then storm off stage, striking bystanders with your headstock (preferably a Warrior or equivalent design).

    Always worked for me...
     
  16. Wes I AM

    Wes I AM

    May 27, 2000
    Tampa, FL
    Well "friends". Maybe I have just played 5 different Fenders and hated them all out of coincidence. The sound I got out of everyone of them was undiscribably Weak. I compared the Fenders to my ESP a few Curbows and, in the past, a couple Warwicks and the Fenders came in last everytime. Sorry fellas, but I just don't like em. And as far as my fretless vs. fretted issue is concerned, believe me, I could never stick with just one or the other. Different beautiful instruments for different tunes. The fretless just have a more eery sound to them IMHO. But fretted are more aggressive for things like Metal and rock and all that. The tone of the notes doesn't really change just the hardness. And the way fretless-unlined basses look( just strings ) is very attractive.
     
  17. CamMcIntyre

    CamMcIntyre

    Jun 6, 2000
    USA
    A fretless bass would have sounded kick @$$ for a few songs that i sat in on [Truly Madly Deeply-Savage Garden to a CD with a live Drummer Vocalists then me], a nice upright sound would've blended in & sound nicely. Fretless for me would be great in some situations while it would really suck in others. thats all
     
  18. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    No more or less than I can with a fretted bass ;) which I guess brings up the question, can you do that on a fretted?

    The majority of my gigs are either chord charts, on the fly arrangements or by ear. I've got a pretty extensive "in-head" catalog to draw from...the presence or absence of frets is not an issue. IMO Intonation below the 12th fret is easy, you just have to listen. I take two basses on every gigs and a lot of the time the fretted bass doesn't make it out of the bag.

    Believe me, I ask brutally honest people to be brutally honest about my intonation. So far I've had one keyboard player who didn't think playing a fretless on 70's Funk was "appropriate"...unfortunately for him the contractor loved what I was doing. Sucks to be him:D

    That doesn't mean there aren't days (very rare) when nothing sounds right. "Bad ear" days. When all my basses sound like crap, I know it's not the bass.
     
  19. Wes I AM

    Wes I AM

    May 27, 2000
    Tampa, FL
    Man, I dont even know what the hell inotation is! I either like the way something sounds or I don't.

    PS. on those Fenders, maybe it was the strings. They were all flatwound strings which sounded very dull. Maybe??
     
  20. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    Wes, I hate flatwounds on fretless (except the Rob Allens).