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Fretless in rock?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by JoeRules00, Jun 18, 2002.

  1. I've been pondering removing the frets from my P-Bass, however, it's my only bass, and my friends are wanting to start up the band again. (it starts, it fails, it starts, it fails, repeat ad nauseum) I'm wondering how a fretless would work in a rock band (Nirvana, Local H and Strokes, Hives type stuff right now, but I'm slowly convincing them to go for funkier or jazzier stuff). Has anyone here used a fretless in a rock band? Have any famous rock bassists used fretlesses? (fretli? :) )
  2. Roger Waters used fretless on a couple of Pink Floyd tracks. I'm sure there are other rock fretlessers, though I can't think of them at the moment. Fretless won't give you as punchy a sound, it'll be a bit more lilting. Fretless works for any music really. I would recommend trying it, it would probably result in some interesting parts. I'm thinking of getting a fretless soon and I play mostly punk, so I'm sure it'll work for you.
  3. dont defret with out a spare bass.
  4. xush


    Jul 4, 2001
    mobile AL
    Tony Franklin got away with it in many a Rock setting. There's a band called Kopecky that's really heavy. He seems to use fretless exclusively.
    Sting did it. Jack Bruce does it. Mick Karn has done some work that might be 'rock-ish...'
    Michael Manring does some really fierce stuff on his hyperbass. David J w/ Bauhaus/Love & Rockets used a lot of fretless.

    It can definitely be done. None of those bands may qualify as the kind of music you're looking for, but I think you can find fretless in any genre, and you'll find it works. Sometimes you may be hearing fretless and not even realizing it.

    If you like it, go for it. It's a great tool if you can handle it!
  5. Steve DiGeorgio.

    'Nuff said.


    (for those of you who are totally lost, he was the bassist in Death, the original death metal band, and he played fretless)
  6. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    I always liked Tony Franklin's sound, both in The Firm and in Blue Murder.
  7. jerry

    jerry Too old for a hiptrip Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    I like fretless in a rock contex....check out the names everybody mentioned....man I didn't think anybody ever heard the Kopecky brothers! Pino Palladino played some very cool fretless bass in a rock contex.......Larry Klein on Henley's Boys of Summer......Jeff Ament doing the sliding harmonic on Pearl Jam's Even Flow.....go for it!
  8. I agree. Get another bass, than defret, if you want.
  9. Yep, 'nuff said. He rules. :D
  10. Whoops. :)

    So I went ahead and defretted. I need to let the wood filler sit, and tomorrow night I should be applying the finish.
  11. Let us know how it comes out!
  12. iplaybass


    Feb 13, 2000
    Houston, TX
    Jeff Ament. Great stuff.
  13. Early projection, I'd say the fretless job on it is gonna be NICE. The frets came out really clean and easy (2 hours spent maybe). Here's hoping.

    By the way, how weird would I be if I took my frets and made a necklace out of them? :cool:
  14. Me too, Tony is a killer.

    Pino is a badazz too. :D

    I'm prejudiced though, I play fretless for everything basically! :D
  15. sobie18


    May 5, 2002
    Shaw AFB, SC
    Buy a cheap fretless and go from there.....:D
  16. xush


    Jul 4, 2001
    mobile AL
    When I saw Tony w/ the Firm, he was slapping the heck out of his fretless Fender. So I always assumed it was normal to do that. That'd be back in the late '80s I guess, way before Lester...
    Anyway, he had a huge effect on me. Influenced me to get my first fretless.
  17. Aren't fretless P-basses quite uncommon? I've never seen, nor played one.
    If they are uncommon, why do you think they are?
  18. xush


    Jul 4, 2001
    mobile AL
    I see A LOT of fretless P's on ebay...
    Haven't seen one in person, but they're definitely out there.
  19. I'm not sure, but I know if you want that mwah sound, you won't get one with a fretless P Bass. Actually, that's probably exactly why they're not as popular. Anyway, I play a Yamaha RBX260F, with the one P pickup, so I can't get a mwah sound either, which is fine with me. They wouldn't work with my flatwounds anyway.

    My band might starting up again too after a long break, and I'll probably be using this bass this time.
  20. beermonkey


    Sep 26, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    Blinky, you need to check out Derek Sherinians' solo CD "Planet X". It's got Tony Franklin on bass and it's utterly terrifying. It's very much in the prog-metal vein with no vocals to be found. Oh yeah, and that Virgil Donati guy isn't all that bad on drums either.. :)

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