Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

new found respect for all you fretless guys

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bumpcity, May 21, 2001.


  1. bumpcity

    bumpcity

    May 12, 2001
    NYC
    FINALLY. My new bass arrived toady. Epiphone El Capitan 5 string acoustic/electric fretless. Its really nice and I am digging it. So, I turned on the 1st Jaco album, and Heavy Weather, I learned a few tunes off those albums...


    WOW.


    WOW!!!


    I can't beleive Jaco. His intonation on these songs. Its damn perfect everytime. I mean, the first time you hear "Teen Town" you are floored. Then, you try to learn it, and you are floored again by how tricky it is (not to mention really hard to memorize). Then take the frets away... It's amazing how much Jaco still continues to blow my head off still to this day... I never appreciated fretless like this before.
     
  2. bumpcity

    bumpcity

    May 12, 2001
    NYC
    I got so caught up in my amazement at Jaco, I forgot my whole point. I mean, this IS the BASS forum, not the BASSISTS forum, right. Anyway, onto the aforementioned point...

    This new bass is great, and I love the tones I get, especially since it's acoustic. I really wanted a Rob Allen 5, but didn't have the bank for it. But having a full hollowbody acoustic is nice, because I don't need an amp to practice on it, which is a refreshing change.

    So to all you fretless guys, how long did it take you to get comfortable enough with your intonation to start gigging with your fretless?
     
  3. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    I was arrogant enough (or dumb enough) to gig almost immediately. I was having way to much fun.
     
  4. And I thought I was the only person to do that.

    :D
     
  5. bumpcity

    bumpcity

    May 12, 2001
    NYC
    Brad, your bass is beautiful...my other bass is a Zon Sonus 5 special...Why is it turned around in your picture ?
     
  6. jasonbraatz

    jasonbraatz

    Oct 18, 2000
    Oakland, CA
    didn't take me more than a half hour.


    of course...i've been playing upright for 9 years, so that helped a smidge.


    jason
     
  7. Suburban

    Suburban

    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Two or three days.
    I started with unfretted, because I couldn't abide with the frets sitting in the wrong positions, slightly out of tune all the time.
    IMHO, that's the way to go!
     
  8. I was crazy enough to start right away. I thought I sounded pretty good until I got with the rest of the band - and they were in tune! I was used to not watching my hands on the fretted but found myself glued to watching my fretting hand on the fretless. It's taken time to get my eyes off the fretless, but I still watch my fingers more than on the fretted.

    The other thing I discovered is how much I "cheat" on the fretted - fingers not aligned correctly on the frets. Working with the fretless has really helped my fretted playing.

    Jeff
     
  9. I defretted my bass about a month after I started playing, and gigged with it the night I removed the frets.

    Intonation was probably pretty messy, but there weren't any complaints from the rest of the band.

    13 years later, I gig regularly with a fretless bass. Intonation is probably pretty messy, but there aren't any complaints from the band ;)

    In addition to pics of my basses, I guess I have to find the time to put some of my recordings up for target practice from you guys.

    FF
     
  10. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    Thanks, bc. According to a "special friend" of mine here at TB it's because I'm punishing it;)

    The truth is I thought the back of the bass looked pretty good, even though the picture's small. Silly, huh?
     
  11. Right away for me. When I first started playing bass my teacher taught me to play close to the fret so the the edge of my finger was resting on the side of the fret. I think that helped me when I jumped into fretless. Not to mention a really great ear.
    I had already learned Teen Town on fretted so it was easy on fretless. Actually thinking back it is easier on fretless..no fret noise.
     
  12. bumpcity

    bumpcity

    May 12, 2001
    NYC
    All of your responses to my post have inspired me to play my fretless at my gig tomorrow night (shameless promotion, tomorrow night at Wetlands, NYC, 8:30, sorry for that, can't help myself). There is one tune I have been practicing all morning along with my bands CD, and I think I can get it, I'll just have to look at the neck a little more than usual, especially during the parts where I sing. I should try to be on pitch with at least ONE of my two parts, and I have been trying to do that with my singing for 3 years, but it still evades me ;)
     
  13. Kewl Bump man!!!! Let us know how it turns out for ya.!!
     
  14. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    Have fun
     
  15. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    Hehe, I can't imagine who! :D:D:D

    BTW, "new respect for fretless guys"!? Well, apparently you've never heard me play! :D
     
  16. bumpcity

    bumpcity

    May 12, 2001
    NYC
    Well, I has my fretless debut last night, I thought I played decently on the fretless, I only played it on one tune. I switched off my amp to switch basses, and when I was plugging back into my other bass, I put the cord in after the power came back up and made a nice "snap, crack and pop" come out of my eden...

    I enjoyed it, and I am glad I went for it. You only live once. As it turned out, we didn't have a big crowd turnout, so even if I sucked, no big deal, right? But I was having an off night, felt tired 'cause I was running around all day, yadda yadda. Hate when that happens, 'cause it was a good venue, and I was jazzed to try out my new bass. When we didn't have the numbers, I was a little bummed. AND it was the last gig with my drummer, who I have been in various bands with for 5 years. Kept looking back at him thinking "this is the last time I am gonna play this tune with George", blah blah. But fretless is cool, and I am looking forward to adding fretless sounds to my humble little bass arsenal.

    Long story short, fretless GOOD, gig not so good, but not because of the new instrument.

    Thanks for all the encouragement fellas!
     
  17. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    I had been playing URB in jazz band at college, and when I came home to my wedding band in the summer, the frets on my P were actually in my way! I bought a fretless neck, bolted it on, and was ready to play instantly.
     
  18. bumpcity

    bumpcity

    May 12, 2001
    NYC
    I would play upright if only my hands were big enough...damn it hurts my left hand!
     
  19. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    You could consider a 1/2-size student URB. The string length is 34", same as Leo settled on. And you could probably score one for under a grand.
     
  20. jasonbraatz

    jasonbraatz

    Oct 18, 2000
    Oakland, CA
    my hands are pretty small, i just found a URB that had a skinny neck - it's actually about the same back shape as my warwick, with a rounder radius fingerboard.

    URB's vary alot in neck profile, much more than electrics. i played one once that the neck was as big around as my upper arm! needless to say, i didn't like it too much. so don't write them all off because you played one that was too big. URB is FUN! :D


    jason