1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Going from fretless back to fretted....wow!

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by kopio, Feb 10, 2014.

  1. kopio

    kopio Supporting Member

    May 8, 2012
    Boise, ID
    Hey Guys,

    Just an observation from this weekend.... I play bass in a church worship band. About 9 months ago I got a Squier VM fretless with passive EMG's....it's a great sounding bass and I love it. Once I got it, I was finally able to get my fretted worked on...it had some wiring issues.

    So...I got my fretted back this Sunday before we played and I decided to play it instead of my fretless. I was absolutley amazed at how much better of a fretted player I was!

    So...is it just me, or does playing fretless really improve your fretted playing?

    It was pretty cool....I was all over the neck, blasting double stops all over the place and it was all effortless! Our worship leader even said....I love that bass!

    I was just curious if anyone else has had this type of experience.
  2. dukeandrews


    Jan 24, 2014
    I just did the same thing last week. It seems much easier to just groove. Intonation on fretless is challenging for me. I have to really pay attention to stay in tune.
  3. Red_Label


    Dec 1, 2013
    MT, USA
    Agree with all of the posts. I switch back and forth between fretless and fretted basses all of the time. And every time going from fretless back to fretted, I always feel like I climbed-out of an old hooptie car into a Ferrari. Not that my fretless is a "hooptie", cause it's an awesome bass (Sterling Ray 34CA FL with D'Addario black nylon Tapewounds). But after the exacting precision required to stay in-tune, it's always so freeing to get on a fretted bass and just be able to cruise.
  4. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    Nope, very strongly the opposite, although I'm coming at it differently than many people. I started on fretless, and fretted basses have just always felt profoundly wrong to me. I've owned 3 in 40 years, but none stuck around for more than a year or so, or ever felt like my go-to instrument. The fact that the speed bumps slow me down so much probably makes my playing more palatable to a lot of people though...;)
  5. kopio

    kopio Supporting Member

    May 8, 2012
    Boise, ID
    Interesting stuff....good to know I'm not the only one.
  6. Brother Goose

    Brother Goose The Process IS the Reward!

    Dec 4, 2013
    Syracuse NY
    God Is Love
    I spent 18 months playing nothing but fretless- after getting mired in the world of graphite and 18 volt emgs (to each their own- just didnt sound like a bass/ more of a sub harmonic typewriter sound)- and found my groove as a result. The real (and endless for me) challenge is playing slow and in tune. I practice all of my material on my fretless (with highish action) and keep my chops/ear/soul engaged. In the studio- i cop versions w both instruments. I'm very thankful that l burned out on high end basses at a relatively young age and had my fretless 4 to make me who l am today.
  7. INTP


    Nov 28, 2003
    Dallas, TX
    I can relate to this. I practiced mostly fretless for a while and when I moved back to fretted, I could definitely tell that my fingers had gotten used to being more precise.
  8. JimmyThunder

    JimmyThunder Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2008
    New Hampshire
    when I go from playing my fretless with my fingers
    which is how I play 99.99% of the time, in a pretty minimalist style

    to playing my shortscale fretted with a pick...
    I sound like Geddy Lee and Jack Bruce had a baby and taught it how to play a million notes per minute

    I always think "damn I sound like I'm really good" but go back to fretless/fingers by the end of the jam session
  9. tobias3469

    tobias3469 Supporting Member

    Sep 28, 2013
    West Los Angeles
    Totally agree... I forced my self to play fretless exclusively for about a month. I had the best luck playing with my eyes closed :)

    But when I went back to fretted and it was night and day, practicing fretless really does make you a better player
  10. I switch back and forth between fretted, fretless and upright. I don't think one really helps with the other because I approach each instrument differently, and play different styles of music on each. I will admit that after playing fretless for awhile it is nice to play fretted and not have to worry about intonation!
  11. Scoops

    Scoops Why do we use base 10 when we only have 8 fingers Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 22, 2013
    Sugar Creek, Wisc
    I am me
    I had a violin placed in my hands when I was very young, and I got quite proficient at it. Playing fretless bass then is not as much of challenge for me (tonality wise) as it is for others. I also find that I can be much more expressive with a fretless

    I'll [DEL]never[/DEL] probably never go back to a fretted bass. The frets just don't feel right.

    In fact, I have some plans to make a neck for one of my guitars. It will be fretless.
  12. theduke1

    theduke1 Supporting Member

    Dec 22, 2010
    Manitowoc WI
    I go between both. Mine are both G&L2500. For me fretless is more of a challenge. I play it mostly on praise team when the set is more worshipful. Love the sound of it. It also works very well with blues. Most other types of music call for the freted. I am a faster player with frets