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Fretted or Fretless?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Dr. Cheese, Jan 12, 2005.

  1. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    I have been through quite a few basses in the last year and I want to stabilize my collection at two good basses. This could go two ways: I could pick up a nice fretless like the an Ibanez GWB (cheap version) for a really different flavor; or I could get another quality fretted five to go with my USA Peavey Millennium Five like a SR5 or Bongo (big $) or Lakland 55-01 or MTD Kingston Five (budget). I am mainly a hobbiest but I do play at church on occasion. If you were in my shoes, what would you pick?
  2. Only two basses? You'll get banned for sure. Seriously, if I had to have just 2, 1 would almost certainly be fretless, maybe upright. I've used my Rebop 5 in Church (my only gig) a lot- very effective in the right setting, if that's the right term.
  3. RunngDog


    Jan 22, 2003
    Chicago, IL
    If you're really focused on getting down to just 2 basses, I can't see a lot of point in both being fretted 5's. If your current 5 is able to give you the full range of tones you want, go with the fretless (or perhaps a fretted 4) for your 2nd bass. If you current 5 isn't capable of giving you the full range of tones you want, replace it with one that is and then go with the fretless (or perhaps a fretted 4) for your 2nd bass.
  4. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    What you guys are saying makes alot of sense. As a non-working bassist, I have hard time justifying a "backup" bass that is too similar to the one I have. I really like that Gary Willis Ibanez but I fear the tone may be too limited since it has only a bridge pickup. I don't know, maybe I could get a fretless 55-01 or fretless Bongo instead. :bassist:
  5. I love the looks of one big ol' pickup, but never got enough variety of tones out of that setup. You might want to factor reliability into your dilemna(sp?)- active bypass, specifically. It sucks to have your bass quit in the middle of a worship set because of a $3 battery.
  6. 0557


    Apr 12, 2004
    Go with the Bongo, HH/w a piezo. You will never need another
    bass, unless its an upright, and the bongo will give you an endless range of EQ. under $1500. It will blow a Lakland away...

  7. Mojo-Man

    Mojo-Man Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2003
    Fretless is my main bass.
    But I've been playing fretted bass lately, because I'am doing
    alot of thumb work.
    I do slap on my fretless, but fretted is sound I need right now.
    You realy need one of each.
    If I had to chose, it would be fretless.
  8. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    A fretless Bongo does sound good, but I would probably go for one pickup and maybe a piezo. I could get a decent Jaco style tone and a couple of other tones as well. A set up like that would work for me.
  9. Mud Flaps

    Mud Flaps

    Feb 3, 2003
    Norton, MA
    I think fretted is much more useful than fretless. Almost never do you get a gig where you are asked to play fretless. You are more often requested to play slap. And since I only slap on a 4 string, I would go with a 4 fretted and a 5 fretted.

    My impression of the real world: fretless is a hobby, fretted is a really low-paying job. That is unless you are %99 more lucky than the rest of the bassists on Earth.
  10. Don't worry about a bass having only one pup; to me, this is what gives certain basses their tone and reputation. (Precision, Stingray, Jack Casady)

    If you played an upright, how many tones would you have? I also feel that a bass with only one pickup makes everyone focus more on playing and less on control tweaking.

    My advice if you are to have two, and only two basses would be a good five string fretted, and a 4 or 5 string fretless.

    Use the fretted for most of your songs, and the fretless for ballads.

    Just my opinion. :)

  11. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    A few other fretless basses that have caught my eye are the fretless MTD Kingston 5 which costs about the same as the Ibanez Gary Willis bass new. I have also noticed a nice used Carvin on Bassnw's website. The jazz style pickups seem like they would offer good versatility but I keep hearing horror stories about Carvin pickups. The price on that bass is good though.