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Fretless players -- how did you get the bug?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Aaron Saunders, Sep 14, 2004.

  1. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Anyone care to share their stor(y/ies) about how they came to the wonderful land of fretless?

    I'll post mine tomorrow, it's about time I got to bed!
  2. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Dang, this is a Misc thread, isn't it? Mods...sorry!

  3. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    I heard Paul Rogers on WNEW NYC in the early 80's singing those words with the coolest bassline and tone out front with it.

    Sure Pino was all over the top 40 stations and I was hacking Jaco lines for HS Jazz Band.... but Hot Daymn! Paul and the ultimate rock voice, Jimmy Page doin his thing, Chris Slade pounding away AND The coolest, slinkiest, nastiest fretless right out front with them :bassist:

    check out "Midnight Moonlight" .... heard that and ripped the frets right out of my bass :smug:
  4. Ian Perge

    Ian Perge Supporting Member

    May 11, 2001
    Evansville, Indiana
    I'd always wanted to try my hand at fretless, but the combination of purchasing Tony Levin's solo discs and the purchase of a new bass (which freed up one to be defreted) made it a reality.
  5. FR5


    Feb 12, 2004
    First time I heard the song Waterloo (John Wetton, UK) I was intrigued. But the real bug bit me when I heard Jaco on the Don Juan's Reckless Daughter album of Joni Mitchell. I was so completely blown away by that. Some years after that I finally had the nerve to switch to fretless.

  6. For me it was via a chap called Rod Clements who plays with UK folk-rockers Lindisfarne. He got a gorgeous tone from an early-70s fretless P, most apparent on the live album 'Magic in the Air'.

    I swapped my '78 Jazz for a beautiful '71 Fretless P and never looked back.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Truth is, I just play it pretty much like a fretted, not like Pino, Jaco, etc. I couldn't if I tried! it's just nice and organic.
  7. While I was playing the circuit in the North Florida/Alabama/Georgia area in 1976/1977 I made friends with a bassist named Marty Prevatt. He was with another band called "Captain Tight". He later went on to record with Dicky Betts, Great Southern, and Warren Haynes. At any rate, he had pulled his frets. When I inquired about it, he raved on and on about this guy named "Jaco" and said that I HAD to hear him. I went out and got the solo album and that pretty much did me in. I immediately traded my maple fretted for a maple fretless and played fretless exclusively for the next 4 years.
  8. Mojo-Man

    Mojo-Man Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2003
    My first bass was a 1970 fretless P-bass.
    Every said to sell it and get a fretted bass.
    played the fretless for two years before buying my first fretted bass.
    Still have my fretless, sold the fretted.
  9. Franklin229


    Jul 25, 2004
    Northeast USA
    Started on the upright bass-so the fretless electric (to me) was just intended to be a more portable version. I grew up with the impression that fretless basses were the norm-fretted basses or fretless w/lines were some out of place guitar/hybrid thing for guitarists making the crossover. I actually was offended by this, me and my idealistic views as a younger adult. I have long since softened to realize and appreciate all the different talents out there, playing all sorts of basses, multi-string, fretted, etc although I still mainly play fretless.
  10. Gard


    Mar 31, 2000
    WInter Garden, FL
    Jaco on Pat Metheny's "Bright Size Live", and Pino on the 80's Paul Young stuff - particularly the remake of "Every Time You Go Away"....
  11. billbern


    Sep 11, 2004
    Daytona Beach, Fl
    Endorsing: Inearz In-ear Monitors
    Pino-Paul Young
    jaco-Don Juan's reckless daughter
  12. rusty


    Mar 29, 2004
    My first experience with a fretless came pretty late... to be precise, it took me 8 years to pick one up seriously :p

    I got a fretless Hoyt recently, and I haven't been able to put it down since ;)
  13. DDXdesign

    DDXdesign formerly 'jammadave' Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2003
    Wash DC metro area
    Somewhere between Pink Floyd's "Hey You" and the various Primus albums....
  14. Eli M.

    Eli M. Life's like a movie, write your own ending

    Jul 24, 2004
    New York, NY
    I got interested in fretless bass when I heard Paul Simon's Graceland album about six months ago. Now I can't help but think of frets as a hindrance to my playing, and I will be ordering a fretless Nordstrand later this week :hyper:.
  15. In short - Weather Report - Heavy Weather
    Graceland - Paul Simon
    Gary Willis - No Sweat + Bent
    Manring - er, everything he does is magic...

    In Long -
    I lept in at the deep end a few years ago and made the mistake of buying six string fretless as my first axe <i>sans</i>-frets - it was a while a go and I can't even remember the name (my memory is fading fast!!!). It had a few sweet spots but in general sounded pretty awful - and it wasn't even my intonation - it was just a crappy bass! Plus being a 6 it was more than a little challenging to play. I sold it after about a year as I wasn't really using it, the Warwick Thumb was and still is my trusty stead. So when I had the chance to finally afford a really nice second bass I decided that it had to be fretless as I'd been hooked on Willis' use of the 5 string - i.e. quite agressive in a jazzy kind of way - so I was extremely lucky to get this luthier in Brighton (UK) to make me a really beautiful bass, and I absolutely love it:

    <img src=http://www.munkio.com/music/basses%20&%20ting/webready/fretless_stand_sun450.jpg>
  16. smperry

    smperry Administrator Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Martin Keith Guitars
    The thing that clinched it for me was hearing "Oh My God" by The Police, probably around '84. I wore out my cassette listening to that album so much. It's still one of my music store fretless test songs.

    Take the space between us
    And fill it up some way.
    Take the space between us
    And fill it up some way.
    Fill it up...

  17. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Ah, someone else who got started fretless by listening to that tune! Sting and the Police were a big early influence on me, and my first fretless was a maple-necked 70's P-bass. I also really dug Pino's stuff with Paul Young--that big, synth-like vibrato definately caught my ear. My exposure to Jaco came along much later, and even though I appreciate his playing, I still gravitate more towards guys like Mick Karn and Tony Levin a lot more.

  18. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    Jaco for me. First Weather Report Heavy Weather and then his solo debut.

    I am moving this to Miscellaneous.
  19. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    The very first two basses I played were both fretless. Same with the first one I owned. First fretless players that got my attention were Rick Danko and Jaco, with Blood, Sweat, and Tears, back in the day. I'd had the fretless for a couple of years before I saw either one of those guys though.