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How hard is fretless?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ba$$player, Jan 10, 2013.

  1. ba$$player


    Dec 8, 2010
    I have been thinking of having my bass de-fretted, but having trouble deciding. I think it sounds cool, but wonder how useful it would be. I also wonder how difficult it will be to adapt to a fretless bass. Any help or suggestions?
  2. GM60466


    May 20, 2006
    Land of Lakland
    It is all in the ear training
  3. john m

    john m Supporting Member

    Jan 15, 2006

    Muscle memory
  4. I'd say ear training and muscle memory.

    Before you do anything drastic, go to your local music shop and check out any fretlesses they have, to see if it's something you would want to get in to.
  5. jasper383

    jasper383 Supporting Member

    Dec 5, 2004
    Durham NC
    I have had a few fretlesses over the years. I found that most of the facility on fretted I had transferred right over, and I was passable on fretless after just a short while.

    Of course if you want to fully develop the expressive differences that are only there on the fretless, that will take longer. :)

    Get yourself some tunes to play along with. Forget you even own a fretted. Take it to practice without a backup, and don't draw attention to yourself. lol
  6. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    Don't defret your bass. Get an inexpensive fretless.
  7. What kind of bass do you have? I had a G&L L2500, so I bought a fretless, unlined, same finish as well. I kept things similar. If you do defret, you'll at least be very familiar with the positioning. I would say go for it and give it at least a year. You'll get used to it and never want frets again.
  8. pnchad

    pnchad Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2005
    as one of the posters said above - you can play passably in fairly short order depending on how much you play/practice

    I've played almost exclusively fless for 40+ yrs - and I own 18 high-end EBs right now, 16 of which are fless as well as DBs/EUBs, if you REALLY want to play well and with expression (without overdoing it) it takes a whole different approach and many years

    when you get good though you can play a tune without anyone knowing it's a fless and the next tune you're Pino or JP - can't do that backwards
  9. ba$$player


    Dec 8, 2010
    I play a peavey cirrus 5 as primary. I have a peavey grind 5 that I'm thinking of de-fretting because its already familiar to me. Also I have played fretless at a music store and can play songs on it, however I am in a band that writes a lot of originals and we have a song that is really needing some musical fretless work in it. Im just wondering how quickly some of you were able to switch to fretless and start writing semi-difficult pieces?
  10. I own quite a few instruments including a fretless. Fretless is awesome but you can't play quite a few styles of music on it. It has a norrow and specific range of utilization. I strongly recommend to to keep your fretted bass and get a cheap fretless. Also it will be a lot harder to sell your bass once it is defretted.
  11. bassvi


    Jul 12, 2005
    I think this is great advice. A Squire VM fretless can be had used for a couple hundred bucks or less, and it's a great way to explore if you're gonna like fretless. If you dig it, you can upgrade later.....
  12. ba$$player


    Dec 8, 2010
    A carpenter I know has the extra supplies and time to defret my extra bass for free. He is currently finishing his own bass. The bass is not getting played at shows and it would cost less to defret my extra bass than to buy a new one, plus I am already famiar with it. I just don't want to do this for one song and then never play it again.
  13. Epidrake


    May 24, 2011
    Definitely DON'T de-fret your bass. You can get an inexpensive fretless used or even a new Rondo

    Try renting too.
  14. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    I find fretless to be relatively easy, tons of fun, and very unforgiving.

    I liken it to the dirt track racing of bass. You just kinda slide around real fast! It's a ton of fun, but if you're not playing in tune, you really don't have much of a safety net.
  15. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    Phillipsburg, NJ
    How about finding a fretless neck for one your existing basses. Then you can swap for a while or forever.:cool:
  16. Its only hard if you get your pubes caught in the strings. If that happens everything is difficult.
  17. Disagree. If you read the OP's post - he has a bass that he is already comfortable with that doesn't currently get any use - and there is someone (with experience) willing to do it for free.

    I defretted my first bass (squier p), and never regretted it. (did end up selling it, though)
  18. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    I disagree.
  19. atomicdog


    Jun 18, 2011
    Get a cheap fretless (Squier or Fender Standard Jazz Bass) with lined fingerboard. Not hard at all.
  20. One of the tricks to fretless (or double bass) is that you HAVE to be able to hear yourself, for obvious reasons. This may involve getting your bass amp off the floor and closer to your ears, or patching to a little bass amp on a stand to act as a bass specific monitor. And it will require total concentration to keep your pitching right. Start looking at a chick in your audience, and before you're a few bars in you're a 1/4 tone out already. :D