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Fretted To Fretless

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by stefeb, Jun 18, 2002.

  1. stefeb


    Jun 9, 2002
    Bethlehem, PA
    It is a hard transition to go from playing a fretted bass to playing a fretless bass?
  2. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    Hard is a relative term. It will very much depend on your experience, current technique and how good an ear you have.

    If you have decent ear training, you are a long way there. By that, I mean a decent ability to identify relative pitch. (If you needed perfect pitch, they wouldn't sell many fretless basses)

    If you are have good lefthand technique, you are mostly the rest of the way there. If you practice fingerings, keep a good wrist plane and stay on top of other good habits on the fretted bass, fretless is not a difficult transition.

    It just takes practice and patience.

  3. What Chasarms said is all true, and I'd like to add that a lined fretless neck is loads easier to adjust to than an unlined one. If you're sitting on the fence thinking about getting one, let me be the one to push you over. Fretless is a ton of fun, and I feel that constantly going back and forth between a fretted and fretless neck benefits your playing in both styles, since you have to pay more attention to where you place your fingers with the fretless, and then it seems as though you pick up some speed when you return to fretted. At least that's how it is with me.

    Fretless = satisfaction + fun.

    Mike J.
  4. stefeb


    Jun 9, 2002
    Bethlehem, PA

    I just started playing bass (play guitar and keyboards) and figured since I'm just starting out now would be a good time to learn on a fretless as well since there's really no unlearning for me to do. That is, both fret and fretless basses are new to me.
  5. ZuluFunk

    ZuluFunk Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2001
    I just made that transition a couple of months ago. Actually, I added fretless to my playing, not replacing fretted bass.

    The lines really help. But, I really try to minimize my checking. Using the ear. Also, stick with the same scale you're used to. If you've been playing for a while you'll feel more at home if the placement is what you're used to. For that matter, if you can, having two of the same bass in a fretted and a lined fretless version would be the easiest way to go.

    Good luck!!!
  6. ZuluFunk

    ZuluFunk Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2001
  7. Stephen S

    Stephen S Member

    Apr 10, 2002
    San Bernardino, CA
    i just made the transition yesterday when i defretted my bass i love the new sound i get but i miss the string on metal tone but im sticking with this for a while
  8. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    If your left hand technique is good it's not that tough. I got my first fretless two years ago after 20+ years of playing and it is now my favorite bass.
  9. I just added a freltess to my collection (about 2 months ago). It's a lined MIM Jazz Fretless and it's real nice!!!

    I know I won't use it every song, but there are some songs that once I've cracked it I know I'll be able to be more expressive on! I'm still checking to see where I am, but getting better at listening yo where I am. It's not harder, just different!
  10. Like Johnny, I've had a fretless for about 2 months (Yamaha RBX270). I swapped the strings right off, too, for Tomastik Jazz Flats.

    I love that bass.:D

    I really can't see me ever going back to the fretted. I just don't like it at all. I might even go as far as to say I hate it. When I pick it up I quickly put it down again. The frets now seem like small mountains. 'Just can't get on with frets AT ALL now.

    For me the transition was fairly easy. My L/H technique has always been pretty OK and my ear's quite fair, too, so that made things easier.

    Go for it and you won't look back.