fretted or fretless

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Vampyre, Nov 19, 2005.

  1. Vampyre


    Dec 9, 2004
    hi everyone

    Im interested in buying a new bass ...but im completely lost on whether or not i want a fretted or a fretless

    I would really like a fretless. I love the sound. I love the feel. I play in mass a lot and im really getting into jazz. I tried out my friends a few weeks back and fell in love with it.

    On the other hand. The fretted i have right now is of poor quality and i really need an upgrade. Im not into slap all that much so that doesnt really factor into my decision but i have been practising my tapping quite a bit. I also jam quite often with my friends so im not sure how well a fretless would be in a situation like this.

    I have no idea which i want to buy. Price isnt that much of a factor since i have quite a bit to spend. I just dont know which one ill enjoy playing more. I really want a fretless but im just not sure it would be the most wise decision considering the fretted i have now isnt very good

    any idea?
  2. Vampyre


    Dec 9, 2004
  3. Fretless5verfan

    Fretless5verfan Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2002
    That's a tough call bro. i had to make a similar call lately and i went with the fretless just cause i couldn't take the GAS anymore.
  4. Geezerman


    Nov 28, 2004
    Chicago, IL
    if a price isnt an both :smug:
  5. Well that was going to be my advice until I read your post. But I must agree, if price isn't an issue you could consider getting a fretted and a fretless. I know guys who have done it and couldn't be happier.
  6. 7thbass


    Nov 21, 2003
    Houston, Tx
    It may be that the fretted bass could be upgraded with a fret job or new pickups. Or even a new neck.

    I would go with the fretless. I play in a rock/blues context most of the time, and the fretless is fantastic. WHen I play Rush, though , I have to break out the frets.

    Usually, I try to play fretless on every tune I don't sing when I am with the blues band.
  7. JPJ


    Apr 21, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    Would you give us an indication of what your budget is and which builders/models you're interested in...for both fretted and fretless?
  8. bannedwit


    May 9, 2005
    Buffalo, NY
    If you get a fretless, then you should NOT slap. Since you said you rarely do that nayways then that is a one point for the fretless buy. You will need to undergo a learning curve with the fretless. You have to make sure your fingers play the same way EVERY time... one slight movement left or right changes the notes and stuff like that...

    Getting a better fretted would also be a plus because I noticed for me that a better made bass, makes me acheive more milestones then I've had before. All of a sudden, a better bass makes finger tapping better, slap better, and stuff like that. Either way, it is good to upgrade.
  9. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    In my opinion, and assuming you work with a wide array of styles, the best is having both fretted and fretless. To me, fretted is great for driving, aggresive basslines and fretless for mellower, acoustic-type ones. I'm not saying that fretless can't be aggresive (Les Claypool proves the contrary). It's just that I don't see the fretless that way.

    Again, just my two cents. Hope they will be helpful.
  10. i echo the "buy both" sentiment.

    if i was starting over:

    for fretted, you can get an exceptional instrument for a wide range of prices.

    for the fretted fender sound, i'd get the Geddy or the 75RI.

    for a modern fretted sound, MTD and Spector make great budget and "boutique" models.


    for fretless, i wouldn't spare expense.

    Rob Allen
    Zon Sonus
    Pedulla Buzz

    i've owned MANY MANY fretless basses. and those 3 are the CREAM!

    save some money for a decent amp/cab. get as much power you can afford.

    as i've said before: its not the power you have, it is the power you have left.

  11. Why not?
  12. Fretless5verfan

    Fretless5verfan Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2002
    fingerboard damage.
  13. i love slapping all of my fretlai.

    no damage.

    especially on my Zons.

  14. Fretless5verfan

    Fretless5verfan Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2002
    don't they have special fingerboards? like diamondwood?
  15. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    I think Zons use a composite fingerboard on their fretless models
  16. Fretless5verfan

    Fretless5verfan Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2002
    yea that's what i was thinking. Ebony, Phenowood (i think this is zon's right F?), and Diamondwood ones are pretty stinkin' tough.
  17. phenowood, diamondwood, etc...

    are all Pakka Wood.

    great stuff.

    heck, i slap on my Rob Allen:


  18. Fretless5verfan

    Fretless5verfan Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2002
    You sir, are clearly a mad man! :p Sweet bass btw. very acoustic vibe. :D
  19. Same here.