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Fretless sound out of a fretted?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by m3llo, Jan 12, 2005.

  1. m3llo


    Jan 11, 2005
    Does anyone know how to get a good fretless sound out of a fretted bass by simply using eq and pickup tones?
  2. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    Add a pair of plyers to your list and we may start talking. :smug:
    I vote no.
  3. Dude, pick up a real fretless and learn how to play it. It's not as hard as you think it is. Believe me, the joy in playing fretless isn't just the sound, it's the way it feels. I play a whole bunch of instruments and fretless bass is the only one that I feel like I'm at one with the instrument. Get with the MWAH, man!
  4. RyanHelms


    Sep 20, 2003
    Cleveland, OH
    I'm going to take the risk of being wrong and say that you simply can't. No amount of EQ'ing is going to compensate for the notes being stopped on metal frets rather than bare wood. The thing to overcome is the note attack and decay, not just the frequency response.

    That being said, the Fretless patch I used on a Zoom 505 once wasn't all that bad. Not an exact fretless emulation, but not that bad. Basically an envelope controled volume effect with very fast attack, combined with the right EQ'ing. You hit the note and the volume quickly swells up from zero so you miss the initial sound of the note occuring from the string on metal.

    Try a Guyatone SV-2 or a Boss Slow Gear and *then* fiddle with the EQ'ing. Or get real co-ordinated with a good volume pedal.

    Or follow Stingraymund's advice, unless the reason you asked is due to lack of $ for a fretless...
  5. m3llo


    Jan 11, 2005
    The reason why i asked : I play in a rock band with a rock sound to it (I use a fender jazz bass and ampeq cab+amp). I don't have time to switch guitars, and my playing arround with eq does not give me THAT fretless feel i want, although a quick adjustment in eq i could do. But i need to switch back to that rock sound quickly. Is there a good fretless simulator out there (other than the zoom 505 which i don't like that much).

    Some people say the key to it lays in the mid lows and very little tone from the pickup together with muting the end of the strings with your palm and play the strings it with your thumb. Any comments on that?
  6. Bassic83


    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    Ah, I see what you're getting at here- try moving your picking hand towards the neck, slip a piece of foam rubber under the strings close to the bridge, roll off the tone about 2/3rds, no neck pickup, bump your low mids, and you should have somewhat of a decent simulation of a fretless. Also, if you "slide into" the notes from 1-2 frets below, and use less pressure on your fretting hand, especially going over the frets. It should give you a fretless-ish tone. Don't let the foam be too tight against the strings, it's just there to "soak up" the higher harmonic content. Try it out, tell me what you think.
  7. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    Quicker and easier just to change basses, IMO.
  8. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    Get a used MIM jazz with lined board. $300. Done.
  9. NV43345


    Apr 1, 2003
    +1 This is the best idea.I paid $250.00 for the MIM Lined Fretless Jazz,Threw in a set of Seymore Duncan pickups and a set of Rotosound RS66 45-105 strings and it sounds like the "Bass of Doom" .All cats on the local scene always want
    to buy it off me.It's a keeper.
  10. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
  11. RyanHelms


    Sep 20, 2003
    Cleveland, OH
    Well you don't say. JMX, that soundclip is mighty convincing! So much for my rant, there's mwah in them thar saddles. Some sitar-ish-ness mixed in, but hey, it sounds really good!

    :looks around: How'd they do it?
  12. How the heck does that bridge work? Very interesting.
  13. i'm sold! Where the heck does we gets one?

  14. I'm guesing EXTREMELY high action. Wonder how that would effect the neck switching back and forth like that...
  15. That's it! - favor the bridge pickup, drop the treble, boost the mid - if you have one, add some chous and play tight and close to the bridge. Slide and all that jazz, but more over, 'think' fretless... more sustain, more expression, less notes - but if ya gotta get busy, be close to the bridge, and pick tightly. You'll really come close. The only thing missing will be the full, 'mwah' and that real glissando... otherwise with that bass and that rig you should be able to get really close.

  16. My Zoom B2 has a defret effect on it...not as good as an actual fretless but not terrible either.
  17. theshadow2001


    Jun 17, 2004
    That bridge does work well. But I would agree it seems easier to switch basses as opposed to getting a dodgy synthised version from a pedal or having to modify your existing instument.

    Maybe if you used an A/B box it would speed up the change over.

    Of course if your ridiculously rich you could get one of these
  18. greenboy


    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    V-Bass COSM fretless model works great. That said, all I drive my Roland unit with are fretless basses anyway. In fact I rarely play a fretted bass - only at jams when I don't have a bass with me.

    And I am amused with some of the suggestions here. People really seem to typecast the fretless instrument. Well, dig it, you don't need foam {maybe for a poor quasi upright instead?;} and a lot of fretless basses have more than just a bridge pickup. The fretless can sound a LOT of different ways even before one begins to do obvious gestural slides and vibrato. How one uses the hands gives a multitude of tonalites and envelopes.
  19. zazz


    Feb 27, 2004
    try a "reversed gear"....its an envelope thats applied to every note like a limitter and slides it in volume wise...if you get the setting right it can sound pretty damn close ...combined with a chorus it might be what youre looking for.