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fretless question

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by brutal bassist, Oct 5, 2008.

  1. what styles of music are fretless basses good for, and what are they not good for, what kind of strings are best for a fretless? and are they good for slap?
  2. OliverH


    Aug 2, 2008
    I'd say they're good for just about anything, but probably not slap. The lack of frets makes it hard to get a decent slap sound.

    I've played anything from very slow jazz ballads to heavy rock on a fretless and it sounded great. That being said, a lot depends on your playing style and the actual bass itself (regardless of the frets/no-frets factor), and of course the strings (round-wound versus flat-wound).
  3. fretless is good for whatever you make it good for...
    be creative, work it into different styles.

    but i guess that fretless mostly lives in genres like jazz and RnB.

    flatwound strings are best for the fingerboard, because they dont tear apart the wood as much. but alot of people (including me) prefer roundwounds, because they are brighter sounding and are better responsive to harmonics.
    if you epoxy your board, you can use roundwounds without having to worry about tearing up the board.

    some people do slap on fretless basses, like pino palladino.
    heres a video:

    but IMO, W TF would you want to... fretless is supposed to be mellow, and slapping is the opposite of that.
  4. Elrend


    Feb 24, 2008
    If you play anything other than jazz, funk and R&B with a fretless, Jaco Pastorius himself will rise from the grave and slap you in the face :p
  5. Son of Magni

    Son of Magni

    May 10, 2005
    Builder: ThorBass
    Don't try to tell that to Steve DiGiorgio.
  6. I don't mean to sound harsh or anything, but EVERY metal guy and their cousin looks to him as some sort of fretless messiah and I'm not really impressed. Perhaps I've listened to jazz and fusion for too long, but it's for the most part regular metal bass that happens to be fretless....and you can kinda hear that it's fretless time to time when the rest of the band shuts up.
  7. René_Julien


    Jun 26, 2008
    I think it's a general misconception that a fretless can only be used for styles such as jazz, funk and fusion. It can be incorporated in any style of music.

    It's like saying fretless basses are "one trick" ponies. (I used the bad word , hehe :):ninja:)

    Just as there is so much variety between different fretted basses, so is there a wide variety of fretlesses. With some fretlesses that are suited more for a particular kind of music. IMO the choice of fretless is because the bassists wants to play it because he likes it, not because it's mandatory for a particular genre or frowned upon in other genres.

    I play exclusivly fretless and I play mostly metal.
    My sound is by far nothing like the "Jaco" sound. Just as you can make a fretted bass sound mellow or heavy, so can you get a wide spectrum of sounds from a fretless.

    And yeah, Steve DiGorgio is the fretless messiah... in metal music. Like him or not. IMO a very talented bassist and an overall musical genious.
    You can't compare him to Jaco (which I admire also btw, just in a different genre).
    It's like the endless discussion about Cliff Burton... he's not doing anything that Chris Squire did. :eyebrow::confused: Really guys?

    Oh I have a good one to end all discussions: Geddy Lee, Geezer Butler, Jaco, Cliff Burton, Victor Wooten, Chris Squire, Steve DiGorgio, Steve Harris, Bootsy Collins, Mark Hoppus, Les Claypool and Michael Manring, all those guys are so unoriginal and are false idols.
    They're not doing anything Monk Montgomery didn't do. :smug:

    Way to go overgeneralize bassplaying and bassists.

    I'm going to have a lie down now. :atoz:

  8. Son of Magni

    Son of Magni

    May 10, 2005
    Builder: ThorBass
    I was only pointing out that fretless can be used successfully in any style and is not limited to the genres you might expect to see/hear it in.

    I'm not a metal guy.

    Also Steve's probably more versatile than you might think:
  9. Really? Tony Franklin doesn't seem scared. :D
  10. NWB


    Apr 30, 2008
    Kirkland, WA

    Fretless can be used successfully for nearly any style you want.

    To answer points two and four, fretless is generally not considered the best option for funky slap style. Not that it can't be done, but a fretted bass will generally work better for slap style.

    Strings? Use whatever sounds best to you. I use rounds on my fretless basses because I like that sound. I also accept the faster fretboard wear that rounds may do. As with any bass, string choice depends on the style you are trying to play.
  11. Darkstrike

    Darkstrike Return Of The King!

    Sep 14, 2007
    I use a fretless with flats for hard rock, blues, metal, along with more usual melodic stuff.

    Makes no difference, but you can do what you want with any instrument really.
  12. No way. Sean Malone. Much more interesting bassist which utilizes the fretless much better within the metal genre.

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