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Fretless for rock?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bass_drum, May 16, 2005.

  1. bass_drum


    Feb 13, 2005
    Hey guys, just wonderign how a fretless bass would sound in heavy rock. I'm in a prog. rock band and I do solos and stuff.

    Any experiences/thoughts/ideas?

  2. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    It'll work fine, people have done it but can't remember any examples. Just a matter of your playing style, with prog rock, there's plenty of freedom to unlock the full capabilities of a fretless.
  3. FenderHotRod


    Sep 1, 2004
    Rudy Sarzo use to play one with Ozzy back in the day.
  4. jason newsted has used them on a few metallica recordings ,#
    the bassist from pearl jam uses a fretless alot too, steve bailey uses a fretless 6 , les claypool too , pat badger from extreme used fretless a few times too , The best fretless ive played is a warwick corvette fretless though i would recomend dropping in some new pickups!!
  5. I play a Fender Standard Jazz Fretless IV in everything, and being the school's main bassist I play pretty much everything, from jazz to rock. I haven't had a problem with it, except when I have solo performance assessment pieces - but that's because I haven't got my bass set up properly for solos and speed, etc. So my point - if your fretless is set up well to how you like playing, I don't see a problem with using it.
  6. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    Check out the band Blue Murder with Tony Franklin on fretless.
  7. FireAarro


    Aug 8, 2004
    Yeah, think The Widow by The Mars Volta for an example. That's a slower song though.
  8. Dincrest


    Sep 27, 2004
    New Jersey
    Shawn Malone made fretless and Chapman stick work with Cynic. And Steve DiGiorgio makes fretless work in metal as well.
  9. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    The first bassist in Opeth used fretless heavily on Morningrise.

    +1 on Sean and Steve too. These are two players that everyone who plays fretless should check out. Even if you don't like their style (and Steve plays in a enough bands that you should be able to find ONE you like) their technique and execution is awesome and the way they make use of the unique properties of fretless bass to enhance their lines is something every bass player should listen to at least a few times.

    I'm hoping to add a fretless to my collection this summer.
  10. ONYX


    Apr 14, 2000
    Tony Franklin also used one with The Firm back in the mid 80's.
  11. Love and Rockets/Bauhaus

    Addendum: Listening to thier cover of Ball of Confusion and "Inside/Outside" got me to buy a bass, way back when.
  12. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I love his work with the Firm, but since the original question was about heavy rock I just mentioned Blue Murder. The Firm wasn't exactly heavy. But his playing with The Firm was the reason I started playing fretless.
  13. Chiba


    Mar 11, 2005
    Definitely check out Tony Franklin w/Blue Murder.

    There was another mid-90s 'nobody' band called Collision; they were a three-piece hard rock/semi-metal band out of NYC I think and their bassist played a 5 string fretless the one time I managed to see them. Good stuff. No idea what the guy's name is.

  14. I love the fretless, it will do fine in rock.

    Steve DiGiorgio plays fretless on almost all his work, wich are alot of heavy bands. Sean Malone is also a great fretless player in heavy music.

    Guys like them make me want to play fretless so bad. :p
  15. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    For a well known example, check out Pearl Jam's "Even Flow."
  16. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    Inspired by Jeff Ament, I played only fretless in my rock band for about 3 years. Worked great! Just make sure you don't go too legato crazy .... just because there are no frets doens't mean you need sliding harmonics and gliss ostinatos in every song!
  17. Jeroen


    May 9, 2005
    Randy Coven! Believe he plays in Ark, a prog rock, metal act. Awesome stuff.
  18. Hmmmm... i guess it *could* work...... :bassist:

    It really comes down to your style and your skills. If you are hunting all over for pitches or sliding into notes all the time it is going to get on people's nerves. If you have decent intonation and can play in tune then it shouldn't be a problem.

    Fretless players (in addition to the ones mentioned) in rock that I can think of are Boz Burrel with Bad Co and King Crimson, John Deacon w/ Queen, and Fernando Saunders with Lou Reed. It was the Fernando Saunders experience, seeing him with Lou Reed in a small club, that really sold me on playing fretless in a rock environment. It is hard to find but his work on the Live In Italy recording is really fine.
  19. Bassic83


    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    I've played fretless in my all-genres band for entire nites, even the heavy-duty slap funk. It all depends on how you use it. It's another tool in your shed if you can use a fretless and cover all different styles convincingly. A tweak of the EQ here and there, and an adjustment to the technique now and again, and sometimes people can't tell the difference between a fretted and fretless. I've had people come up and ask me how I got that heavy sound like a P on steroids out of my fretless, and how I got that fretless, almost upright sound out of my Bromberg 5. Really scrambles their brains. Can you do it? Can you play in tune all night long? Why not try? :D
  20. slinkp


    Aug 29, 2003
    brooklyn, NY, USA
    Another nice one to check out is Rose Thompson from Babe the Blue Ox.
    First track on their album "People" has a great fretless part

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