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fretless or fretted

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Reg, Sep 6, 2000.

  1. Reg


    Aug 19, 2000
    I am in a bind. I need a new bass - i need a new bass bad.

    My problem is that i want to get a fretless bass just because of the cool sound of them and the wicked tones. But i have this feeling that it wont be a reliable gigging bass until i get really good at it and get the notes down perfect (which could take ages - im unsure) in which case i would need a fretted bass.

    Can anyone give me some advise on what i should do and how long it will take me to pick up the feel of a fretless?

    ps. my old bass is dead thasts why i need a new bass
  2. Mark Russell

    Mark Russell

    Sep 2, 2000
    There's no easy answer to this one, if you are proficient on the bass and your technique is good, you can learn the fretless in a matter of a few months, you may take years to perfect it, but everyone is always learning! My advice would be to buy a fretted bass, and when you can afford, invest in a fretless. I played fretted bass only for many years, but always fancied a go on a fretless, so I bought a second hand jazz copy off a friend of mine, and proceded to lever the frets out of the fingerboard!! I actually played it like that for a while, with gaping slots in the fingerboard, which helped me find my way around it but still get that fretless tone. I eventually got sick of it looking crap! I sanded and re-profiled the neck until I was happy with it, then filled the slots with car body filler (it's more pliable than plastic wood) and then sprayed the fingerboard with black cellulose paint (about 4 coats if I remember right) and a coat of clear laquer, 2 years on it still looks good, plays well, and is one of my favourite basses!! I did the whole thing for minimal cost, and got a very personal instrument out of it! If you are unsure anout doing it this way, you could invest the help of a local guitar builder / repairer. I hope this is of some help! Cheers! Mark Russell
  3. Brooks


    Apr 4, 2000
    Middle East
    Reg, I am not sure how experienced you are, and what is your playing style. I have been playing fretted basses off and on for over 20 years. I always played by positioning my fingers very close to the frets.

    Few months ago, I bought a fretless Rick Turner Electroline, which is partially lined - lines are only under the E string. The very day I got it, I was able to play with good intonation about 80% of the material - basically everything but the very fast runs. A month later, I was able to play everything with no problems. Now, frets bug me, neck feels so much nicer without them. What I am trying to say is that if you have the right technique, switching to a fretless is not that much of a big deal. If you really like fretless, I say go for it!
    Another option is to buy a cheaper bass, such as MIM Fender. If you don't adjust well to fretless, you can always change the neck.
  4. jfsjbb


    Aug 29, 2000

    i agree with Mark that it's better to have a fretted as your standard instrument _and_ a fretless for those special moments.

    I don't think it's too good an idea to buy a fretless and take it straight to the gig (bad intonation can be lethal, and the person killed might be you!). It takes quite a while to bring your hearing to the required standard. Of course, it helps if you have played a fretless instrument (violin, slide trombone, voice, ;) )before.

    When i started using fretless basses, it took me about 6 months before i felt comfortable enough to play them on a serious gig. If you can live without a gig for some months, it's ok to invest that time in trying to master a fretless bass. If you can't, keep the frets.
  5. DarkMazda


    Jun 3, 2000
    Definately agree with both of them.. Thats why I regret buying Carvin LB20 Fretless.. I mean i love the bass and all but I couldn't use it on a Gig, well I Tried it and i didn't really feel comfortable

    Im always trying to sell my Carvin :)

  6. 5156246


    Sep 6, 2000
    Do use slappppping sometimes?
    Well, slaping on fretless, that's (ok, not that good comparison) like biting without tooth, you got me?

    I need the fret for a "pushing" slap sound, biting and clear.
    If you don't have any frets, the strings get slapped on the wood, therefore go and buy 1 fret and 1 fretless.


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