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Fretless for the whole gig?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by John Webb, Apr 23, 2010.

  1. John Webb

    John Webb

    Apr 20, 2006
    Myrtle Beach,SC
    I started playin fretless a few months ago. My band members want me to play it for all the tunes we play.
    We're just a little cover band playing in local bars.....I just can't see playing the fretless for all the tunes, especially the funky ones.
    They say the tone is better than my beloved fretted Fenders!!
    What? It's an SX Franken fretless with a Fender bridge, SD pickups (J PU added) and flats.
    But it does sound pretty good.
  2. snyderz


    Aug 20, 2000
    AZ mountains
    I play fretless every gig, all gig. What's the problem?
  3. You could think of it as extra practice time on the fretless. I was talked into that when I was in a speed metal band in the early 90's, the band liked how the bass "looked" haha. It was very hard trying to do some things on a fretless that I was normally doing on a fretted. Sure helped my chops though and the sound was very unique for that genre.
    I say give it a go man, just bring your trusted fretted fender with ya. ;)

    Just out of curiosity, are you running flats on your fretted? That may be what they are hearing if not.
  4. Labi


    Jun 14, 2006
    If you are comfortable with it, then yeah do it.
  5. RTL

    RTL House Chicken Enthusiast Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2008
    Leander, TX
    I've done (and still do) this a LOT. If you're comfortable on the instrument, why not? :D

    I bring my fretless 5 as my only instrument to sub gigs all the time, because I'm more comfortable on it than anything else - especially when I'm not familiar with the music. Besides, in most cases, the bandleader/other musicians (if they even notice) won't care as long as it sounds good and is in tune.

    Rock that fretless! :bassist:
  6. nostatic

    nostatic Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2004
    lost angeles, CA
    Endorsing Artist: FEA Labs
    A lot of gigs I only bring my fretless. Unless you absolutely *have* to have a MM slap tone, you can cover things with a fretless assuming you know your way around it.
  7. banditcosmo

    banditcosmo Supporting Member

    Jul 12, 2002
    Charlottesville, Va.
    The only issue I've run across playing my fretless at gigs is low lighting which can make it tough to see my neck markers, beside that I use only my fretless for every gig.
  8. John Webb

    John Webb

    Apr 20, 2006
    Myrtle Beach,SC
  9. jgroh

    jgroh Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2007
    Its funny because my band said the same thing to me (about liking the fretless tone better than my fretted basses...including my Geddy Jazz and Ric!) And the fretless is a Squier VM I got for $279. I am fairly comfortable with it and have been thinking about playing it solely at a gig. The thing for me is that I use a pick for some songs and Im not sure I like it played with a pick (or slapped for that matter)
  10. I have a Squier VM fretless Jazz that I played for an entire set. I'm not usually playing fretless but liked the tone for that set. It was fun, and I was impressed by the Squier's tone and playability.

    No flats on this bass, btw. Didn't like them, I use nickle rounds (DR Sunbeams) for more growl.
  11. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    I've did it for years with a fretless '71 p-bass. I moved on to other instruments, and found that for me because fretless actually takes more mental effort (intonation), it took away from what I could devote to other aspects of my groove. Also, the attack does not work as well for funk and soul--slap is dead without a high fret to bang the string on, IMHO.
  12. GM60466


    May 20, 2006
    Land of Lakland
    Every Wednesday night from 6:30 to 9pm
    I've become a better listener to all the music being played.
  13. bassman03


    May 19, 2008
    Sully, Iowa
    Who here has tried playing a fretless with "harder" stuff? One of my bands songs has a line where a fretless could really shine, but then later on in the song theres a transition to a more rocking side of the songs.
  14. If it sits well in the mix and you feel comfortable with it, then go for it. With my present band I wouldn't be able to do it during a gig. I can barely hear myself as it is so my intonation would suffer with a fretless.
  15. low_c


    Sep 17, 2009
    Kalamazoo, Michigan
    I gig my VM fretless constantly.

    Chromes and all that good stuff...

    Best thing is a play in one of them trendy "Death-core" bands.

    Chromes down tuned to B sounds pretty sexy IMO. :p
  16. John Webb

    John Webb

    Apr 20, 2006
    Myrtle Beach,SC
    That's what I was getting at.......I often want to hear the crunch....not the mwah............both are good though.

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