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Fretless: Lines or No Lines?? Which is Least Annoying??

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by jokerjkny, Aug 9, 2003.

  1. Lines

    68 vote(s)
  2. No Lines

    85 vote(s)
  1. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL
    Hey all,

    thinkin' about putting a fretless neck onto my parts jazz, but wanted to know the pro's and con's of lines or no lines. my Roscoe doesnt have any lines, which i kinda like, but i guess having a marker on the board itself would help.

    but how many find it annoying with switching between fretted and lined fretless?

    also, i read its possible to intonate the bass so if you can fret "between" the frets? anyone doing this? how's it going?
  2. I play a Yamaha RBX270F. It's my first and only fretless, it's a budget bass and it's lined. I find the lines invaluable for learning. I guess after some reasonable amount of practice, therefore, muscle memory should enable me to more easily move to unlined. Had I the £££ I'd probably get one now:bawl:

    Having said all that violinists etc, etc, don't have lines and they manage very well!! So perhaps, after all, lines aren't that necessary.

    I now find switching between fretted and 'less very easy.

    Go for unlined if you can. :D

  3. CDuff


    Sep 14, 2002
    I prefer unlined. You can use some white tape or something similar to mark the note positions along the ntop of the neck and then, when you grow beyond the need for them, simply remove them.

    As for the habit of fretting just behind the fret line, you can tune it slightly sharp. It's a quick hassle-free way of doing it but it WILL effect open notes (natch). Somebody more experienced will give better advice shortly.
  4. There is a thing about lined fretlesses that I don't get right.

    I'm not sure if in factory lined fretless you fret the notes in between the lines or over the lines. I had weakly understood that you should fret them in between, but with your question about the intonation thing, my doubt has grown a bit.

    but well.. due to my ignorance, and the fact that unlined fingerboards look much better to me, I prefer unlined
    ..also, most times they cost less than lined. It could take a little more time and practice to get the intonation right, but in your case, If you already have an unlined fretless.. you could go with the unlined and skip the fretting problem.. and save some cash.
  5. Well, my fretless doesn't have lines, but you can see where the frets were before I ripped them out.
  6. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    I have one lined and one unlined, and I find I play them quite differently, it's a different mindset somehow. With the lined neck I stare much more on the neck, with the unlined I listen more. At present I play more in tune on the lined, the lines help especially with position changes and longer shifts up and down the neck, but I hope and believe I will play better and with more feeling on the unlined eventually. It somehow invites more soulful playing with slides and vibrato, the lined feels more like a fretted bass somehow. This is of course purely a mental thing, to me the unlined feels more inspiring and "right" somehow. But as I said, at the moment I sound better with the lined neck...
  7. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    i think lined are better, but i think no lines, with dots on the side are the best.
  8. Unlined. I thought I would have lots of trouble playing on my friends unlined 1981 G&L L-1000, but I seemed to cope fine. Plus, it just looks better having a blank fingerboard.
  9. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL
  10. sheepdog


    Feb 20, 2003
    Birmingham, AL
    Looks? Unlined!

    Ease of use (for new players)? Lined
  11. Jeff in TX

    Jeff in TX Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2000
    Lone Star State
  12. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    I started out without lines, now I have three lined and four unlined and can't say I have a preference... I'm more concerned with the sound, lines have no effect on that.

    Esthetically I prefer no lines.
  13. 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
    Both of my fretlae have lines. I like 'em. I don't have any problem switching, and I spend less time worrying about being on pitch.
  14. Monkey


    Mar 8, 2000
    Ohio, USA
    I've played fretless almost exclusively for about 15 years, and I find it very confusing to play on a lined board. I don't know why, but I've tried it and it doesn't work for me. I just use the side dots. The first fretless I bought had no lines, so I guess I just got used to it.

    There is no doubt that unlined boards look better.
  15. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    I had an unlined, then defretted an old bass and found that I was much better off with them. The fretless I'm having made now will have them, as well as LED side position markers for extra visibility. Unlined looks great, but I'd rather put more time into learing about music than technically mastering an unlined board. Plus, it is TOUGH to play in tune above the 14th fret on an unlined.
  16. Bassmanbob

    Bassmanbob Supporting Member

    When you guys talk about dots on the side of the neck on a lineless fretless. Are the dots on every possition or are they only where possition markers usually are placed?
  17. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    The standard I've seen is at the normal 1,3,5,7 etc. positions, although I've seen others where there was a marker at every position (I played a Thumb that was modded out to have one in each position, and it was difficult to know where you were).
  18. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Side dots at every fret suck IMO.
  19. Dan Knowlton

    Dan Knowlton Sarcasm: Just ONE of the many services I offer! Supporting Member

    Aug 12, 2002
    Palm Coast, FL
    I have very short (about 1/2 inch) fretlines in white and the rest of the "fret" to match the fingerboard - very inconspicuous and easy to see when you play. Seems to be the best of both worlds.

    Dan K.

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