Fretless only?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by LWatford, Sep 17, 2001.

  1. LWatford


    Jul 28, 2001
    Helena, AL
    Do any of you people only play fretless? I have been thinking about going that way, has anyone else done this? What do you like or what did you dislike about it? Thanks for any suggestions!

  2. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    If I wasn't in an oldies band, and a hard rock band, I would play fretless only.

    I enjoy playing fretless much more than fretted, and it has made me a better player and improved my ear a great deal.

    I play only fretless at church, and almost exclusively fretless for practice and enjoyment at home, too.
  3. Monkey

    Monkey Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Ohio, USA
    I haven't performed on a fretted (except for the occasional jam on someone else's bass) in about 15 years. I really have had no big problems. I also sing backup and some lead, which took a while. One small problem is slapping. I don't slap a lot, but I could never get a great slap tone, which makes sense. It was OK, but with much less highs. I have since switched to flatwounds, and slap very seldom.

    I hated carrying around two basses, and found that I kept using the fretted one less and less until it went extinct. I haven't missed it for a second.
  4. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    I get a great slap tone, stainless steel roundwounds on a phenowood board.

    As Munji would say, bitchen.:cool:
  5. snyderz


    Aug 20, 2000
    AZ mountains
    Count me in the F.O.C. (fretless only club)
  6. melvin

    melvin Guest

    Apr 28, 2001
    If punk rock did not call for it...I wouldnt have a fretted bass.
  7. I found a decent looking fretless Yamaha at a local shop I thought about picking up... it was $300 and was as light as a feather.

    I have $0 though.
  8. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    For about 6 years, I played nothing but my fretless Curbow 4 string. I had to have the brazillian rosewood fretboard planed twice, and I was concerned about having to replace the rosewood, so I started playing fretted again, almost exclusively. The electronics on the Bart preamp started to freak out in the fretless, too. I've played my Curbow Int'l Petite 5 string for about 2 years now as my main bass, with a MIA 75 reissue Jazz as backup. I've decided to have the bass Curbow is currently working on(6 strings, semi hollow, single cutaway bolt on) to be a lined fretless. I want this bass to be my main bass (I'll start a thread about the specs soon), so I want to play clean 4-, and 5- note chords on it without hassle. I flip-flopped about whether, or not to make it lined, or unline, but decided, in the end, to go with dark lines on a black rocwood fretboard/neck.

    The kicker was when I played a 6-string lined fretless Zon with the rockwood (Zon calls it Phenowood) fretboard, and it was amazing. I don't really care for the fretted Zons, but the fretlesses are pretty astounding.

    Sorry for rambling...
  9. Zoot H Rollo

    Zoot H Rollo

    May 10, 2000
    Redmond, WA
    fretless only here.

    fretless zon lightwave sonus 5 and a fretless MIM jazz.

    i don't even like "lined" fretlesses.

    and yes, roundwounds on a zon phenowood fretboard are VERY snappy!!!!!!

    fret no more!

    fretless can be used in ANY musical style in my opinion....even punk...

  10. AngryArgentine

    AngryArgentine Guest

    Jul 10, 2001
    Baltimore, Maryland
    I hate frets. Fretless only.
  11. ...another member of the "those damn metal bars are annoying" club here.

    And also a card carrying member of the stainless steel roundwounds on a Zon society.

    Got the ultimate fretless though: NS Design CR5M electric about HUGE sound! :D

    ...I've got a couple fretted basses....somewhere around here....I think....;)
  12. I'm playing around with my BB70F to see if I can use it only in my band. We play a couple of PJ songs, and I dig the sound/feel of the thing. But at the same time, I use my Low B a lot. I've got a Hipshot Dtuner on the Carvin, so I can do quite a bit with it...except that Low C and B. I get a decent slap tone with tapewounds. I just put the bass in passive and use the bright on the SVP pro.

    I was playing with it some more tonight, and I should be able to play all of our stuff soon just on it. I think it'd be mostly for the cool factor. Only one other guy plays a fretless in the local scene.
  13. LWatford


    Jul 28, 2001
    Helena, AL
    Hey, that was quick!

    So I guess that Zon basses are nice for a "different" fretless tone, right? I really like the lightwave pickup idea, how does someone who has actually played one like it? I think that I would like to try a flat response form start to finsh system. Has anyone done this? Suposedly this would give the actual tone of the instrument, right?

    Thanks for answering, (keep going!)
  14. Ívar Þórólfsson

    Ívar Þórólfsson Mmmmmm...

    Apr 9, 2001
    Kopavogur, Iceland
    Although I´ve only played a fretless for five whole minutes :D I agree with you that it is a lot more fun playing it rather then fretted. I tried a Godin fretless today in my lunch hour, and it was the first fretless I´ve tried. It was extremely fun playing it and I immediatly realized that playing a fretless requiers a good technique (not that I have any) and I noticed that you can get away with sloppy technique on a fretted, something which is impossible on the fretless. After this expirience I´m leaning towards buying a fretless in the near future. I noticed how "spot on" you have to be to get the right note, it´s a challenge, and I like it :D

    Update: Corrected speeling mistakes ;)
  15. fretless5

    fretless5 Guest

    Nov 28, 2000
    Blue Ash, Ohio, USA
    I've played pretty much only fretless for about 15 years. In that time I have mostly played blues or jazz, so fretless has never been a problem.

    I recently bought a GT Bill Dickens that has metal and was going to have it defretted, but I like the sound and feel of it so much, I'm going to leave it the way it is. Next purchase will be a fretless GT-7 though.
  16. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur In Memoriam

    Mar 22, 2000
    Cape of New Jersey
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music (retired)
    I played nothing but fretless from around 1972 until 1999, and that was with just about every type of band you can name, including 5 years with a rock trio. I only recently got back into fretted basses and do enjoy what they have to offer as well. I could probably get away with fretless 100% of the time, though it would have to be set up a bit higher. I like the contrast, and take a fretted and fretless (or EUB) to almost every gig.

    I feel freer with fretless; I'm getting better, but initially found it necessary to pay much closer attention and watch my left hand when playing fretted.
  17. LWatford


    Jul 28, 2001
    Helena, AL
    Thanks again for everything. I am getting the idea that fretless can be made to work in all situations, which is good because I really enjoy palying fretless. Are there any situations that frets are really a neccesity?

    Thanks again,
  18. Bass Guitar

    Bass Guitar Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2001
    That depends. There is the sound which is different. However, some players can play the fretless and make it sound like a fretted bass with proper technique. Also, if you like playing chords, having frets makes it easier - but that hasn't stop people like Steve Bailey playing chords on fretless. So all in all, nothing is a NECCESSITY, but depends on the player, the song and the skill.
  19. rllefebv


    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    I enjoy playing fretless, and like others here have played it in all types of bands and settings... My ear has gotten much better. I am still a pretty novice sight reader and feel much more comfortable sight-reading with a fretted bass. I'm currently doing West Side Story, (which is a very challenging read for me), and the one night I brought the fretless, the monitor situation was less than ideal. For the rest of the run, it will be fretted only...

  20. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    I'm currently out of fretless basses. Thus, I have to play fretted and I dislike it!

    Unfretted are very hard to find around here, but I get one as soon as possible - even if I have to build it myself!:mad: :cool: