Dismiss Notice

Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

Fretted to Fretless

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by APouncer, Nov 3, 2000.


  1. APouncer

    APouncer

    Nov 3, 2000
    Lancashire, UK
    Hi, I've been playing fretted bass guitar for 3 years after a prior 5 years on guitar. I have been given a fretless bass and am now ready to face the challenge, only problem? I'm no good! ! ! Ant hints, tips etc to aid the transition? Nothing too bassic! ! !
     
  2. snyderz

    snyderz

    Aug 20, 2000
    AZ mountains
    I'm certainly no expert as I have only been playing for a year. Went to a five string fretless about a month ago. Easier transition than you think. One suggestion from this newbie would be to play for a while on your fretted bass with your eyes closed. Get comfortable on a couple tunes and then go to the fretless and play the same tunes. I agree with previous posts that it will definately improve your ear.
    Doc
     
  3. APouncer

    APouncer

    Nov 3, 2000
    Lancashire, UK
    It's not so much the lack of position markers that is the problem, I have pretty good feel for that, my problem is more that all I play sounds like a normal bass, how do I emphasise the fretless sounds? Why doesn't it sound like other players? Do I attack the notes? Before or after the beat? Vibrato - where? I want to sound more like a dble bass and it sounds the same as my fretted! Are you enjoying the change?
     
  4. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    The fretless "mwah" that you're looking for is in four main areas:

    1) LOW string action. You will want to straighten the neck some (some swear by dead straight, though mine still has a bit of bow), and lower the bridge saddles. When you can hear the "mwah" unplugged, then you've got it. Then go TOO far -- just so you know where to back off to.

    2) Boost 800-1200Hz on your amp's EQ. 900 Hz is Mwah's address.

    3) Bridge pickup. You can't get the sound out of a P-bass, I don't care HOW low your strings are set. (BTW, what is your fretless?)

    4) And get nickel roundwounds for the Jaco sound, medium lights. I use Elixirs but D'Addario XLs are pretty nice too.

    If you still don't get the sound, email me and we'll talk.

     
  5. APouncer

    APouncer

    Nov 3, 2000
    Lancashire, UK
    Hey, thanks man! I look forward to trying it tonight, why does lowering the action work? I play a Yamaha BBN4. Is this any good? I was suggested to get flatwounds - any reason for this? Is 900 Hz Low, middle high as I have 4 knobs on my amp, low, mid freq, mid and high with a mid notch push button that I have no idea what it does! I got a Stuart Bailey video this weekend on how to practice fretless WOW he's good! ! !
     
  6. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    The "mwah" is actually the sound of the end of the string right in front of your finger slapping the fingerboard. This can only happen if the angle of the string to the fingerboard is really low -- that is, if the string saddles are set low. (By the way, raising or lowering your action sometimes requires resetting the intonation -- search the "setup" forum for "intonation" and you'll find several how-to's.)

    Some people say roundwounds cause too much fingerboard wear so, they say, fretless players should use flatwounds. But flats generally sound darker. I prefer the sound of roundwounds, especially for the pronounced "mwah" we're looking for. It may require a fingerboard redressng after a few years, but to me that's worth it for the sound.

    900 Hz is probably closest to the "low mid" on your amp, but annoyinly enough, lots of mfr's set low mid at 300-500 and high mid at 2000. You'll just have to mess with 'em. Or contact the amp mfr. Are they on the net? What make/model is it?

    And the mid-notch is NOT for mwah! It likely cuts out evrything from 500 to 1500 Hz. Gives a great slap sound but KILLS fretless.

    Let me know how this goes!