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Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by motherfunker, Apr 29, 2002.

  1. motherfunker


    Apr 29, 2002
    New York
    Me and my bass punk buds are in an argument: my friends think that a fretted bass is the way to go because it makes playing easier, but i think that fretless is the way because playing one requires more skill. help me sort this out.:confused:
  2. well.........yeah, fretless takes more skill. does that make it a better bass? no. what good is a fretless bass in the hands of someone who can't play it?

    it all depends on what sound you want. if you've been playing bass (or even just listening to bass) for any amount of time, you can tell the difference between the sound of a fretted bass and a fretless bass.

    decide which sound you want, and let that make your decision.

    neither is better than the other. except that fretless is more impressive to those who don't play one.
  3. Elaskimo

    Elaskimo Guest

    Feb 23, 2002
    Well, if you play a fretted, you can literally make it growl, a very punk sound for super loud notes. Can't do it on a fretless. My opinion is that fretted get a nicer punk sound. Fretless are too melow in my taste, I like a bass that growls at the crowd, not one that wimpers in the background.

    Later, sXe
  4. grovest


    Feb 26, 2002
    Yeah, that's true that a fretted bass can produce buzz which may or may not be a wanted property. I feel that fretless allows a more expressive voice, though if your music is very up tempo the insurance of frets becomes clearer... Another thing to consider is that if you are really interested in playing chords, your pitch will (pretty much nearly) never be a problem with fretted, but good luck playing complex chord voicings consistently well on a fretless. Both systems have their advantages and disadvantages. Personally, if I never have another bass in my life, I’ll still be very happy with just my handsome Cirrus Fretless 5.
  5. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    In all actuality, you need at least one of each. Some folks play all their gigs on fretless, but you need a fretted bass now and then. As for Elaskimo's assertion that fretted can growl more, I say HAH! You need to come over and listen to my Pedulla T-Bolt Fretless 5. It growls like a mofo.
  6. Aaron


    Jun 2, 2001
    Bellingham, WA
    for me, a fretless is a much more expressive instrument. Fretted bass can be harder in the sense that you have to deal with fretbuzz.
  7. Well I just acquired a MIM Jazz Fretless - my furst venture into the fretless world. It's taking some getting used to, but it's fun. It's lined so I'm not aving too much in the way of problems tranisitioning - although I have to be a little more accurate with my left hand and I'm having to watch the fretboard (is that right - even without frets???) a lot more than usual.
  8. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    You've got it right.
    It is easier to play a fretted, which means almost any body can learn that. And they will all play slightly out of tune all the time, becaouse noone can place the frets exactly right. Especially as you need to move them when you change string types...
    Also, it will make you get a sloppy technique, because you are human=lazy.

    Without frets, you will have a longer learning time, and some people will not learn. Due to improper musicality, that's life.
    When you do learn, you can play anything, more expressively than on the limiting frets. Your technique will be precise, because if it's not, you'd have quit months ago:rolleyes:
    And there are no limits for a fretless, when it comes to styles. I was at a fair last october, when I heard a guy slapping wildly and nicely. So I went there, and was quite surprised to see there were no metal bars on that fingerboard! So:
    there are no limits on a smooth board!
  9. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    Each has its place and sound. I love fretless for ballads :D but prefer the fretted for slap/funk :cool: . Not for intonation reasons. Just because I like the crisper snap of strings hitting metal frets than a wood board (not to mention the damage this will eventually cause a wood board :eek: ).

    Even Jaco was not a "purist". He played fretted on many occasions and always said to get the best tone make sure your finger is pressed immediately right behind the fret (as if you were playing a lined fretless).
  10. Both rock - It depends on the sound you want.

    I agree with Mungibunga - I think you need one of each. Some cases, you will just like the fretless sound better, and vice versa.

    Listen to Catch 22 - I know their bass player uses a fretless, and I think he has great tone (I might increase a LITTLE high mids, but that's just me). Also I think the guy from the Bosstones does too.

    Fretless does in fact allow for more expressive technique IMO.
  11. tjoTim


    Apr 30, 2002
    Ohio, U.S.A
    Try a fretless neck with lines and dots and you'll find it's not that hard to switch over to fretless when you want to. And I wouldn't say either set-up is always better than the other.

    Go with whatever allows you to express yourself. Forget about what is easy or hard to play.