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Overcoming Fretless "Prejudice"

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by nofrets5, Jul 9, 2005.

  1. You know: you want to audition for a new band/situation and play fretless, want to start using more fretless, or have other musician friends who try to deter you from using a fretless bass, etc. What are your stories on this topic and how have you overcome/won over those who don't think fretless can work properly in certain musical settings.
  2. DanGouge


    May 25, 2000
    So far everyone who I've told that I have a fretless has been positive about the idea of me using it. The only thing I need now is some more practice with it so they don't change their minds :eek: :D
  3. +1!

    I played my first fretless (happened to be an ABG) some weeks ago and fell in love. I don't think it will replace the fretted for rock situations (mainly because my intonation sucked) but I will get one next and probably play it more than the fretted at least for a while.

    Hope it works out for you though. There's lots uncharted space using a fretltess in modern music IMO.
  4. I used to get a lot of weird looks when I'd bring my fretless to jam with people

    but after a while they all sort of realized that anything they'd expect to be played on a fretted, I could do on my fretless
  5. Jeff in TX

    Jeff in TX Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2000
    Lone Star State
    I think there are four rules to getting bandmates to welcome a fretless bass:

    1. Play in tune.

    2. Play the instrument that best suits the music (fretted or fretless)

    3. Play fretless well enough to make it sound fretted when needed.

    4. Play in tune.
  6. and don't forget to play in tune... even if it does have frets! Sadly enough I have seen this happen.
  7. Bassmanbob

    Bassmanbob Supporting Member

    Is it me, or are there a lot of people switching to fretless within the last 6 -12 months?

    I know I'm definitely one of them. I love the switch, although I still use both.
  8. Pete skjold

    Pete skjold Gold Supporting Member

    May 29, 2004
    Warsaw Ohio
    Fretless is just my thing and if they want me , it is a package deal . I have worked real hard on my intonation and I try never to draw attention to the fact that I play fretless . I have played in bands for several gigs and no one new I was playing a fretless until the guitar player tried to so me a lick and could tell where I was :eek: . He goes wow ! Thats fretless !!

    I took a six string fretless Roscoe to a gig along with my fretted six and I played the fretless the second set . When I was finished they told me never to bring the fretted anymore just play the fretless . So now it is my voice . There are times when a fretted is perfect but the fretless is so personal .

    I hope you can get past these prejudices and grow as a player .

    Best regards ,

    Pete Skjold
  9. bass_drum


    Feb 13, 2005
    Heres my unwanted opinion:

    A fretless can be used in almost every music situation that a fretted can. PLus aslong as you dont slide up and down it sounds like a fretted (pretty much) and you dont need to worry about busing and stuff, so therefore you can play a little more "openly"-if that makes sence,meaning with more difference in aggression (you can really dig in without worrying about buzzing). The only problem is, you cant get a nice growl. listen to http://www.lizzydaymont.com/sounds/Bass-Drums2.mp3 to see what I mean by growl.
  10. ErnieD


    Nov 25, 2004
    Does a lined neck effect a fretless bass' sound? I won a new (floor model) KSD fretless 5 j70, lined neck on ebay from a online store. I already had a Cort 4 string fretless, unlined neck, that I bought when MARS music was going out of business in Houston a few years back, it has sat unplayed for about 2 yrs now, needs a setup real bad. The Cort, though a kinda cheapy bass, has 2 bart MK-1 pups and really has a very nice mwah compared to my new KSD which just kinda sounds fatter to me but even with aggressive slides it just barely has any mwah. Now, the KSD came with the stock Ken Smith med lite rounds and the Cort has some really lite rounds too that were on it when purchased. I will be taking the KSD in this week for a setup and I want to put some flats on it. Might this help? When the KSD arrived the bass was only wrapped in alot of bubble wrap and in a single box. UPS missed me by 10 minutes the day before so the bass did not come back till the next evening, about 23 hours later. It was a very hot week for us and the bass felt real hot when I opened the box, so I left it wrapped in the box and it sat for a couple hours in my air cooled house then I took it out. The action felt nice and low but I only played it thru an old practice amp for a few minutes then left in on a stand overnite. I can't be sure but it seems like the action was not as low the next day I picked it up. It came shipped from New Mexico and the humidity in Houston is hell. I am hoping the setup and flats will fix it up. But again, will a lined neck sound different than a unlined neck in any way? Thanks, ernie.
  11. DaftCat


    Jul 26, 2004
    Medicine Hat

    ALL hail the brick post! :bag:
  12. ErnieD


    Nov 25, 2004
    after I posted this mother I realized I was in the wrong bass section. I meant to be in the bass guitar threads section. I can see there will be no answers for me here, so if a mod can move this elsewhere, delete it, whatever, just do it. sorry for the bother
  13. Bard2dbone


    Aug 4, 2002
    Arlington TX
    No. Lines make no difference in anything but appearance.
  14. Bassmanbob

    Bassmanbob Supporting Member

    Agreed. To increase the mwah factor, there have been a couple of threads on this in the last few months in the bass guitar area. But here are a few pointers from a recent fretless converter. Others may have more info:
    1. Lower the action.
    2. Flat wound strings will not increase the mwah factor (it may decrease the mwah, but I'm not sure on that point)
    3. Lower the bass control and increase the midrange on your EQ. Play with it and you will find the right mix.
    4. Make sure you play with the tips of your fretted fingers (left hand on righties and right hand on lefties). If you play with the large fat pad of your fretted fingers, it will deaden some of the mwah.
    5. Have fun.
  15. Pete skjold

    Pete skjold Gold Supporting Member

    May 29, 2004
    Warsaw Ohio
    I beg to differ , but I can get as much or less growl as I want on a fretless , the term Growl I have always thought described the fretless midrange characteristics . I slap and pop as well .

    I agree you can use fretless for almost all the same situations as fretted .

  16. bass_drum


    Feb 13, 2005
    the kind of growl im talking about (as shown in that link) is the growl of the string hittign agaisnt the fret.
  17. Koushaku

    Koushaku The artist never sleeps, only dreams

    Mar 10, 2005
    Albany, NY
    When I got my fretless my bandmates were very excited. I let try it out, and they love the feel. One of my guitarists wants to defret an old guitar of his some point cause he likes the feel of my fretless bass so much.
  18. What bass did you use for that recording just out of curiosity?
  19. bass_drum


    Feb 13, 2005
    well, as much as I wish, that wasnt me palying int hat recording. it was done by lizzy daymont with her geddy lee jazz bass. all knobs up all the way, with standard gauge d'addario xl nickel roundwounds. The reason I think of growl being the string rubbing agasint the fret, is because that is how lizzy d. gets her growl like that, and that-to me- is the ultimate growl right there.
  20. The only way to overcome the fretless bias is to expose people to the fretless, and if they have an open mind they'll see there's nothing to fear.

    This is why there's such an uproar over allowing fretless bassists to be schoolteachers, run Boy Scout troops, etc. God forbid they are in a position of being a role model, then exposed to the world to be a fretless bassplayer. Prejudice against fretless bassplayers is impossible to maintain if you get to know and respect them first as people before you discover their "horrible" secret.


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