New Lease on Life

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Dr. Cheese, Apr 26, 2014.


  1. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    I just love fretless. I have said it before, but fretless has made bass fresh for me for the first time in years. I love the tone of fretted basses, and frankly, I understand the tonal advantages of frets much more clearly now that I mainly play fretless, but at least for one, I prefer fretless in most playing situations.
     
  2. nostatic

    nostatic

    Jun 18, 2004
    Lompoc, CA
    Endorsing Artist: FEA Labs
    I spent most of 2 sets Thu on fretless. For years I rarely picked up a fretted instrument. With the right fretless, there are very few limitations. The only serious one is if you do a lot of comping. I can get close doing chords on fretless, but intonation remains a challenge. The other thing is slap sounds different. Not worse, just different. This one is seriously floating my boat

    fff1.jpg
     
  3. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    Mine is a lot more modest than yours, but I simply love it.
     

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  4. Thumper

    Thumper Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2000
    Syracuse Ut
    I did fretless 5s for years in a hard rock then a classic rock band with no issues. I went back to fretted when I started doing vocals (intonation became an impediment). Otherwise I'd still be fretless only.
     
  5. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    The other big change for me had been flat wound strings. I over thirty years of playing, I never liked them, but they work great on my fretless.
     
  6. Whenever I get a little stale, my fretless revives me! My Godin sounds surprisingly like an upright so I have that tonal changeup and thump that is really different and keeps things fresh. I use it extensively in church as a lot of the slower songs with more feeling lend themselves well to fretless. Sometimes it gets the bulk of the work throughout the service. The other one shown is my LTD lined fretless. Yeah, I put D'Addario Chrome flats on the Godin and black tapewounds on the ESP - the only way to go!
     

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  7. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon.

    Dead on.

    I would play fretless exclusively if it wasn't for my crappy intonation. I guess it isn't actually that terrible, but my more complex double/triple stop and arpeggiated work sounds better on a fretted bass by far.
     
    Jah Wobble Fan likes this.
  8. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon.

    P.s. I do practice exclusively at home on fretless basses (a Rob Allen 5 and a Squier VM 5) as it improves my overall playing. I also force myself not to look at the fretboard while playing at home. This alone as helped my stage presence substantially and of course improves my technique.
     
  9. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    I am getting a fretless five soon. I think I want and ebony fingerboard and I will use half rounds or round wounds.
     
  10. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    I have tentatively sold my 6 - waiting for the check. Once I get it I will start the build for my Roscoe fretless 5. Last time I had a fretless it was all I had. I was waiting for my current Koa fretted 5 to be built. I played my fretless 5 for everything for over 2 months. Even when I got my fretted (an amazing bass) I still played my fretless. It sounded and played great. It only sounded fretless when I wanted it to. I can't wait to get another. Gave me a bit of a new lease on bass as well. Even with the "simple" church stuff I had to work to be in tune, not "overdo" the fretless thing, etc.
     
  11. Lee Moses

    Lee Moses

    Apr 2, 2013
    Tennessee
    "New lease on life" might be a little strong for me. But fretless does give freedom and expressiveness that you just can't get from a fretted instrument.
     
  12. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    I mean a new lease on life in terms of playing.
     
  13. Lee Moses

    Lee Moses

    Apr 2, 2013
    Tennessee
    Right, I gotcha. I was just saying that going fretless--which I did less than a year ago--didn't have perhaps quite as profound an impact on me as it did for you. Glad it did for you, though.
     
  14. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    I have played fretless off and on for years, and I always liked them, but I had issues with intonation, and a bright and aggressive slap sound was much more important to me. From the moment I first touched my fretless Jazz, I have not had intonation issues, and the darker tone just suits what I am doing now more than a Marcus Miller or Melvin Davis sort of tone.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2014
  15. snyderz

    snyderz

    Aug 20, 2000
    AZ mountains
    I got my new 'lease' 12 years ago, and haven't played a fretted bass since. Maybe I need to sublet!
     
  16. vmabus

    vmabus

    Nov 1, 2013
    7200'
    For me, fretless means the difference between playing and not playing. Since the surgery on my left hand, I am unable to properly arch the fingers to play on the tips. Fretless allows a more relaxed position, playing with the fingers parallel to the fingerboard, instead of perpendicular.
     
  17. Son of Wobble

    Son of Wobble

    Mar 8, 2010
    I too am knocked out by the quality of my fretless MIM jazz. The neck is a beaut!
    Two hundred bucks, used. Thank you, Craigslist!
     
  18. theduke1

    theduke1 Supporting Member

    Dec 22, 2010
    Sussex WI
    Playing fretless challenges me but I don't use it to much for rock. Love it just the same
     

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  19. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    Your G&L is beautiful. I love the look of an unlined fingerboard, but I really love the security of lines.
     
  20. theduke1

    theduke1 Supporting Member

    Dec 22, 2010
    Sussex WI
    Thank you. It has made me a better player
     
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