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New bass........ Fretless or Fretted?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by nirvanarules28, May 16, 2001.

  1. nirvanarules28


    Mar 7, 2001
    Im about to buy a new bass, and Im not sure if I want to get a fretless bass or a fretted. I play punk/alternative music and Ive never heard any punk bassists using a fretless. Also, Im learning to play percussive slap bass, and slap bass doesnt really work on a fretless. But still, I would like to get a fretless because it would help me get better. If you have any suggestions, please share them. And if you have any comments about the difficulty of fretless bass, share those too... cause Im not even sure if I can play fretless (Ive only played a fretless bass like twice). Thanx
  2. If you want to give fretless a try, i say go for it~!~ i plan on trying eventually.. And if u want to get into it cheaply try a fretless MIM jazz. They are around$350 i think.

    Also, i believe the bassist from Catch 22 uses an unlined fretless bass, not 100% sure, but damn near close to it.. anyone want to back me up on that?
  3. Fretless is great, if you want to do it, do it. It's hard at first, but it just takes practice. The MIM Jazz Bass is good, another good cheap one is the Yamaha RBX260F, and the Yamaha BBN4F was given good reviews by Bass Player magazine.
  4. Nirvanarules, if you want to get a fretless, I'd definitely say go for it. I bought one last July(fretless MIM Jazz) and don't regret it. The main difference in sound a fretless gives you as compared to a fretted bass is a much smoother one. This may be why punk/metal bassists don't use them a lot. Most factory production fretless basses come with a lined neck, so the transition to fretless is a lot easier than going to an unlined one.
    This takes a lot of discipline, kid yourself not.

    If you buy a lined neck, it's not really harder to play, but, you have to pay a lot more attention to where you're putting your fingers, there are no frets to bail you out. It will definitely make you look at the bass a lot more seriously; the only caution I'll say is: don't expect to master this thing anytime soon. Fretless basses are dynamite; I think it should be a prerequisite for all bass players to get one within a year of getting their first bass. You may even start getting into Jazz, and that's good.

    My vote: Buy it!

    Mike J.

    P.S. I re-read this before posting it, and realized; any violin, cello or upright players that read this must laugh to themselves.
  5. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    Some players have a fretless lying about the house but dont gig with it. I love the sound and as a pragmatist cannot see the point in owning 2 fretted basses (or two fretless ones).

    I have retired my fretless for a while as I have 'got into' fretted again. And thats the point I have a choice. Put in hard work play into a chromatic tuner sometimes to check your intonation but rely on your ear whilst gigging. It will also take you down a different road playing wise. Just because your band does a certain style it doesnt mean that you cant play other stuff personally. Jason Newstead was/is an example of this.
  6. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    Go listen to www.mp3.com/mamasutra and then come back and tell me a fretless can't be slapped!

    You can do it if you can sing in tune... and maybe even if you can't. The reason to get a fretless is the tone and the expressive capability. You will certainly find more ways to play, and in that sense a fretless will help you grow. And for songs where you want to play like a fretted, either (a) turn down the treble and mids, or (b) switch to a fretted! I've been taking two basses to every gig for 5 years now -- identical fretted and fretless basses.

    I vote for fretless!
  7. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Mwahahahahaah! :D
    I'm not a viol-player, but I still laugh. I started with unfretted bass, and that is the way to go! :cool:
    You'll learn more on an unfretted and be a better bassist, because the instrument plays exactly what you tell it to - not something slightly sharp of where you put your finger. Warning, though: you may end up feeling that the fretted is always out of tune, because of the tolerances in fret placement.
    And the sonic possibilities......:)

    (Now we are solemnly awaiting mr Berlin, to come in and "balance things up" :D )
  8. I am 100% sure catch 22's bassist uses a fretless, and it sounds super good.... It is an Ibanez Soundgear 400 I believe. I am curious though, how did he get the neck for it? It has an Ibanez headstock still...and he did not pop the frets out and fill them with maple....It looks like it was manufactured that way....like a custom...but I am not sure. Can anyone shed any light on this? alright thanks!
    Chris Murray
  9. If I remember correctly, the Clash's bassist (Paul Simonon?) used to use a fretless. Though probably that's not punk in the sense you mean.
  10. If I remember correctly, the Clash's bassist (Paul Simonon?) used to use a fretless. Though probably that's not punk in the sense you mean.
  11. nirvanarules28


    Mar 7, 2001
    Yeah, I will probably go buy a fretless...... but it may be in a while. I just got $300, and I think Im gonna buy a PA system for our band (we've been borrowing someone elses PA), so I'll have to wait a little while to get the fretless. But, yeah, Im gonna get one. Thanx for the advise!

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