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Fretless vs 24 Frets

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by dimensionx, Apr 6, 2006.


  1. dimensionx

    dimensionx

    Mar 27, 2006
    Hey, I am buying a new bass for my cousin. The one he wants is Fretless but there is another bass similar with 24 frets... Would someone mind explaining the difference between the two, and also tell me which would be better for someone fairly new to the bass. I heard that Fretless are harder to play, but are they really that much more difficult to play. Any feedback would be appreciated, Thanks!

    By the way, they are both 4-string basses
     
  2. A fretless bass has no frets, therfore you have to be exact in your finger positioning in order to play in tune. This could be a good thing, as your cousin will have to work at his intonation and technique to get results. As long as he isnt tone deaf then he should adjust pretty quickly.

    A 24 fret bass has, you've guessed it, 24 frets. This gives a full 2 octave note range on each string, which is nice. This would probably be the easier option, but if he wants a fretless, and he's played both to make up his mind (I hope that he has played both?) then by all means go for the fretless. It will be a little harder but so are all good things in life.
     
  3. dimensionx

    dimensionx

    Mar 27, 2006
    Do you think fretless gives a nicer sound/tone... or do you think it will sound almost the same as the bass with 24 frets..
     
  4. A fretless sounds like a fretless. It has a very distinct tone all of its own, that is quite different to the sound of a fretted bass. It all depends what your cousin prefers the sound of and also his musical preferences.

    Fretless basses have more of a mellow, woody quality that works very well with jazz, funk and fusion - presonally I dont think they work too well in a rock scenario (although many people have made fretless basses work in rock). Fretted basses have a more percussive, punchy tonality to them and are more "the norm". For examples of the sound of a fretless listen to some Jaco Pastorius, or most of Kate Bush's back catalogue. You'll hear fretted bass on 90% of mainstream recordings.

    Fretless is a very rewarding instrument to play, there is a lot more scope for expression due to the fact its your fingers fretting the note, rather than a piece of metal (fret). Different fingering styles lead to different sounds, ya dig?
     

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