fretted vs. fretless.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Casey C., Mar 30, 2002.

  1. Casey C.

    Casey C.

    Sep 16, 2000
    Butler, PA, USA
    What's some of the differences between the two? besides fretless means that you don't have the frets. Do you have to reposition your fingering in order to fret the note right (place the finger where the fret would be)? Whats the difference in sound. I think that fretless offers more bassier sounds but I'm not sure. Also, I don't like to hear the strings slapping against the frets when I play, would getting a fretless help reduce that noise?

    These sound like noobie questions but I haven't dealt with fretless at all. I have only played one once and I can hardly remember it.
  2. LarryJ

    LarryJ banned

    Dec 12, 1999
    Encino, CA (LA)
    Position is different on a fretless, placement has to be precise for the right intonation, on the fret, rather than the "leeway" allowed on a fretted bass.
    There is room for some slight off-intonation with glissandos, etc, and this also makes the fretless sound more "organic" like an upright.
    I just started playing my Renaissance fretless, and I really enjoy it. I think it has made me become more thoughtful about the bass line, with an emphasis on melody and movement, rather than the linear and sharper patterns I might play on a fretted bass.
    Do both! The biggest difficulty I have is changing the focus when switching between the two.
    As far as slapping strings, depending on your attack, you can also get a slap from the fretless which can sound really good in certain "controlled"
    contexts, very round.
    It's a trip- get one & have fun.
  3. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Spend about an hour or so with a fretless or two in your favorite music store. You'll have fun. Yes, there does seem to be less clanking and finger noise on a fretless, that's one of the things I like about it.
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