Low B on a fretless...what´s the point?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Emanuel Apascaritei, Dec 18, 2014.

  1. I´m a five stringer, but I´m thinking about a fretless in the near future. And thinking about the low B on a fretless I don´t know if makes any sense....so please talk me in!
  2. Geri O

    Geri O Endorsing Artist, Mike Lull Guitars and Basses Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 6, 2013
    Florence, MS
    No, I won't...

    That's for you to decide.

    I have a 5-string fretless Jazz. Truthfully, i seldom use the low B string. But since I'm used to having 5 strings in my hands, it is helpful to have. And it does get used from time to time. So it makes sense for ME.

    This is such an individual decision based on YOUR playing style, what YOU'll be playing style-wise, and what YOU are comfortable with.

    I actually bought a MIM fretless Jazz first because it was a great price. But I found it unsettling because of the missing B string that I was used to being there. Since I don't play enough fretless to have really good intonation (and being a piano tuner doesn't help...:D), I didn't need anything distracting me from concentrating on the intonation. So I sold the 4-string fretless and got my current 5-string fretless MIM Jazz.

    But that works for me. If a 4-string will do it for you, go for it. Certainly cheaper on strings...;).

    Good luck with however you proceed...
  3. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    It's good for creating the mental image of large animals moving slowly. See Victor Wooten on the early Flecktones albums. He does a great hippo.
  4. Nic.


    Aug 28, 2009
    I don't get it, why would a low B on a fretless be useless...? I'm on the B string on my fretless nearly half the time with my rock band. It just sounds huge and heavy, and there's always space in the mix down there.

    Maybe if we know more about what you play and how you play, it might help?
    TonyP-, BrBss and NealBass like this.
  5. Mostly gospel and praise&worship.

    I do use the low B a lot, but don´t know...for a fretless.
  6. Gorn

    Gorn Supporting Member

    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    Does it have more of a point on a fretted bass?
  7. Well.... On a fretless you look for that mwhoa tone, the low b is so deep...don´t know. It makes better sense a hich c...
    praxedes likes this.
  8. Dave W

    Dave W

    Mar 1, 2007
    Westchester, NY
    Why do you think it's pointless on a fretless but not on a fretted bass? That makes no sense.
  9. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    Not necessarily ... a fretless bass doesn't have to be all about that cliché jazz bass mwah sound or be solo oriented, it can be just about as versatile as a fretted bass. Change the EQ, your playing, string height, etc and you can get a sound that is pretty much the same as a fretted bass. My fretless jazz can get that mwah sound if you play it in passive mode and favour the bridge pickup, but switch to active mode and change the pickup balance and it sounds completely different.
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2014
    gleneg61, macribas, SteveCS and 6 others like this.
  10. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    You call yourself a 5 string player.
    So you should know of the benefits a 5th string brings.
    If it is for 5 additional lower notes only and you do not use the B string for anything else, then just go ahead and take a 4 banger.
  11. Sorry, I didn´t answer your question actually.

    Well, yes. For a fretted bass a low b is cool. I use it all the time. But I see fretless as a diferent animal than the fretted. On the fretted you don´t have to worry about intonation....now on the fretless....is crucial to have a spot on intonation. And also I´m thinking of the fretless more as a double bass approach.
  12. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    Maybe your approach to a five string fretless bass isn't the same as everyone else's approach. ;)
  13. Believe me, I use the low b a lot high above the fifth fret. And many times in the 12th to 24th fret range. But I don´t have to think about intonation....it´s a perfect tunned intrument, unlike a fretless wich I see it as an imperfect tunned one. Don´t know if it makes sense.
  14. That´s what I´m trying to find out! :) But first I want to know as many opinions as can be.
  15. Maybe I see the fretless as more for solo work than the fretted. And it makes more sense a high C than a low B....
  16. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    5 string fretless has the same advantage as on a fretted bass...a nearly two octave stretch in any position. It's also a great idea if you play fretted 5s exclusively.

    BTW fretless can be perfectly in tune if you play it right. It's fretted bass that has tuning compromises, as all fretted instruments do.
  17. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    I don't necessarily agree with either of those statements, but I'm now understanding your original question.
  18. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    Um...so instead of "that mwhoa tone" you want an instrument that sounds like an electric sitar?

  19. LOL! :laugh:
  20. BruceWane


    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    Even if you see fretless as more for solo stuff, how often do you do a solo through an entire song? For the other 90% of the song, you're in a more traditional supportive role where those low notes can be very useful.
    Emanuel Apascaritei likes this.