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How Much Do You Use A Fretless?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by SBassman, Apr 8, 2006.

  1. SBassman


    Jun 8, 2003
    Northeast, US
    I know there are lots of fretless threads, but hopefully this one isn't too much a duplicate.

    I'm interested in hearing what types of material you use a fretless for, and how much of the time you use it.

    I'm especially interested if you're in a cover band playing a range of stuff yet still using your fretless for most of the material.

  2. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I use my fretless mostly for noodling around when im practicing alone. I will use it for the occasional mellow song with my band but its a rarity.
  3. richnota

    richnota Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 11, 2005
    Santa Cruz
    i find i play the fretless almost all the time even when i play cover tunes. However If you're in a band that perfectly "replicates" songs I'd think you'd want to keep a fretted around.
  4. SBassman


    Jun 8, 2003
    Northeast, US
    Man, you're about the hit the magic 10K mark. :)

    Interesting about fretless noodling only/mostly. Why?
    Does the sound not fit most of your band's material?
  5. emblymouse

    emblymouse exempt Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2006
    Lakland Artist Endorser
    Just last nite I brought only my fretless for an off the cuff trio cover (mostly) pop band. New bass needed a test drive!
    I use a pick normally on about 25% of this stuff but last nite I just made due with a fingernail and tight two finger stops to get staccato. I think its a great way to open up new approaches and break old habits to walk in with a fretless and NO backup. JUMP! You are the leader, not your instrument.
    Fretless bass can fall into the 'special effect' catagory too easily and one forgets that it's a complete instrument and can do whatever you can hear it do. Play it straight when called for and mute it till it thumps when needed. It doesn't have to be a 'mwahh' fest! It really was a confidance booster to just get through a whole night without training wheels and that has value in itself. Makes your ear really work if you're singing too. I guess you'd only get in trouble if you were covering alot of slappy funk. Go Man!
  6. WoodyG3


    May 6, 2003
    Colorado, USA
    I only use my fretless on a couple of tunes that we play live, "Tears in Heaven" and "Simple Song." I enjoy using the fretless in practice to come up with some new ways to approach a song, and it's a great way to work on your fingering skills. Still, for some reason, I only occasionally use my fretless live. :meh:
  7. AndroWal


    Sep 28, 2003
    Ojai, CA
    I use it 99.9% of the time...only use fretted on harder rocking stuff.
  8. paintandsk8

    paintandsk8 Pushin' my soul through the wire...

    May 12, 2003
    West Lafayette, IN
    I use my fretless mostly for worship gigs. I like the mellower tone in this setting. It also works out because I'm not quite as proficient on fretless and the worship gigs don't require as complex lines as my jazz gigs. I'd like to use fretless for some of my jazz stuff but I already have two basses on stage (EUB and my JO) and third would just be obnoxious and I would have time for all the changes back and forth.
  9. zazz


    Feb 27, 2004
    the thing with my fretless is that it can just sound like a good standup rather than some paul young track....its up to you.
  10. Fretless5verfan


    Jan 17, 2002
    I'm using my fretless for any type of tune where the bass gets a solo that has to be very expressive, or any song that is meant to be mellow and reflective....so that's about 35%-50% fretless, everthing else i bust out the Roscoe for.
  11. steve4765630


    Feb 27, 2006
    I will, and do, use fretless anytime, anywhere. I have recently purchased a couple nice fretted basses, so my fretless has been seeing less time, but as soon as the "new bass syndrome" wears off, I'll probably go back to it as my main bass.
  12. barthanatos

    barthanatos Insert witty comment here

    Feb 8, 2006
    South Carolina
    I use fretless for my church gig(s), and for the cover-band that I am in. The cover band is playing mostly country, with some rock.

    Sometimes at church I'll use an Ebow on it, and I totally dig that, and have gotten some positive feedback about it.

    Fretless is the only thing I have right now. I love it. My second bass, which is supposed to get here within the next few weeks, is also fretless. I'm kicking around the idea of getting a fretted bass, but I'm in no hurry. I was playing at the church for a couple of months before the worship leader noticed I was using a fretless (it has fretlines).

    My first bass was a 4-string fretted Epiphone, and I have also owned a 5-string fretted Ibanez. I don't miss them. LOVE the Cirrus.
  13. I use mine 80% of the time... my fretless tone is more Danko than Jaco.
  14. Blues Cat

    Blues Cat Payson Fanned Bass Strings Owner Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 28, 2005
    Katy, Tx
    Payson Fanned Bass Strings Owner
    I don't even have a fretted bass right now.
  15. BassFelt


    Mar 26, 2002
    I use an acoustic fretless most of the time on my main gig, which is mostly jazz. It wouldn't work for me in a cover band situation.
  16. bmc


    Nov 15, 2003
    I use my fretless for our first sets when we play mostly jazz, reggae, swing, blues. I love my fretless.

    The rest of the night is fretted.
  17. Kenny Allyn

    Kenny Allyn

    Mar 25, 2006
    Wish I could use it more (Modulus Q-5)... the band I'm in now makes the use of a fretless or even a 5 string near impossible unless I switch basses two or three times a nite ... and I'm not going to do that ... I usually keep two basses with me, but they are usually identical, or close to it.

    I like to use of fretless for slow numbers ... we do Govt Mules "Beautifully Broken" as an example, also for slow blues and shuffles and such. I'm more Danko than Jaco too.
  18. kjones


    Dec 4, 2004
    I use my fretless almost all the time in my primary band, which is essentially classic rock covers. The only time I don't is if there's a slap line in a song. Most of the time, I play it exactly the same way I use fretted basses, and would suggest that as long as your intonation is good, it's a matter of style rather than equipment.
  19. Mojo-Man


    Feb 11, 2003
    Played fretless only for last 3 years.
    I'll use fretless in any situation.
    But lately have also used fretted bass, just for change.
    Now I play fretless about 70% of the time.
  20. I bought a fretless about a month or so ago ;)

    Since then, my fretted bass hasn't seen much time. I could see the fretless bass becoming my main bass pretty easily - ust need to spend a bit more time with the band to see how it really fits in.


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