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Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Alv82, Mar 10, 2009.

  1. Alv82


    Feb 25, 2009
    Wien - Österreich
    i would like to buy a new bass and i have seen some models of fretless basses and i would like to know your opinion about it.
    i have just a single question... sometimes when you put your fretting fingers in the wrong position in a fretted bass, you dont get good quality sound (actually it sounds crappy), does this problem disappear with a fretless bass? i mean, can you put your finger wherever you want into the "invisible" fret and will the note be the same?

  2. sean.1986


    Feb 24, 2009
    Essex, England
    Yes, the problem disappears, but to hit the right note, you have to put your finger where the fret (the bit of metal) would be.
  3. Alv82


    Feb 25, 2009
    Wien - Österreich
    so if you dont put your finger on this possition... you will get a note that probably is not the one you want.... uhm... because my fingers are not so long and sometimes i dont reach the fret with my pinky, lets say 5-8 or 2-4 but i do reach the middle between the frets on 8 xD i know i should practice more on that but.... is the sound better on a fretless bass?
  4. sean.1986


    Feb 24, 2009
    Essex, England
    When you put your finger on the fret of a fretted bass, you're pushing the string against that piece of metal and reducing its length to the distance between that fret and the bridge. Without the fret there, you have to push down the string at exactly the right point to get exactly the right note. I've never actually played on a fretless bass myself, but I've heard the twangy phenomenon created by not playing right on the fret is eliminated.
  5. In short, yes, you will get rid of fret noise associated with not pressing down firmly enough on the string. This most commonly happens because bassists don't remove their fingers fast enough and they get a bit of "rattle".

    A fretless will rid you of that particular problem, but if you're thinking it must be easier to play, you're kidding yourself. Fretless requires much more precision with finger placement, or you'll get the note slightly sharp or flat.

    If you're just starting out on fretless, or you fall in and out of love with the fretless sound (like I do), or if you're having problems getting your finger placement right on a fretted bass, I HIGHLY recommend a lined fingerboard - a fingerboard that has the lines inlaid where the frets would be were it a fretted bass. If you have a good enough ear and the ability to fine-tune your muscle memory, go unlined.
  6. Dbassmon


    Oct 2, 2004
    Rutherford, NJ
    Alv, if you can't get it together on fretted bass forget about fretless. Its not easier, you are adding a new level of technical complexity and if you don't sound good on fretted bass, you are going to cause sonic pain with a frettless. Find a teacher, be kind to others within earshot.:bag:

    Pro & Contras, very clever!
  7. milothefultz

    milothefultz Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Portland, OR
    Going from frets to no frets is the equivalent of going from living with your parents to living on your own. You think it would be really cool to live without them. Once you move out, you realize it can be very difficult, but EXTREMELY rewarding if you are able and willing to put in the time and effort. Yada mean?

    You never realize how much frets help your fingers align the note until they're gone. Then you are left with lines if anything at all but your ears to let you know if you are in tune. Having no frets gives you much more creative and expressive ability, however the intonation drawback can be a doozy.

    Fret noise goes away, normal slapping sound leaves, but tonal and emotional barriers can be bent much easier without frets.

    Sorry about the weird analogies.
  8. Alv82


    Feb 25, 2009
    Wien - Österreich
    i dont wanna look for a teacher :S i have 3 months playing and i go good without one... actually i like to learn everything myself... there are enough books and visual material on the net, even though some one once told me i will really need one if i wanna reach a higher level... well... flea learned all himself, didnt he? XD why not me, anyway... now i see that fretless aint so easy as i thought... but i still think they sound pretty good, maybe i wait till i get my skills ready for it :D

    thanks guys
  9. joebass93


    Feb 21, 2009
    I got a fretless a couple of years ago thinking I could learn it, and it's not easy at all. Ther's no clanging, but every finger movement or shakiness is heard, and if you're looking at music and can't look down, it's very hard to hit the frets exactly. If you want to spend all the time in the world learning how to play fretless though, be my guest, but in my opinion, just push the frets down harder on a fretted.
  10. basspraiser

    basspraiser Jammin for the Lamb! Supporting Member

    Dec 8, 2006
    Chicago - NW Burbs
    If you have fret noise, maybe the bass needs an adjustment or maybe you need to push harder down on the strings...get a good set up and get the strings set to a height that feels comfortable for you and that you can play.

    I have played fretless for about a year and it can be easier and harder at the same time....

    good luck!!!

  11. DaveAceofBass

    DaveAceofBass Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2004
    Charlotte, NC
    Bro, if you're having trouble fretting the notes and don't know the correct way to play, you can spend all the time you want on the net and in books but that is no substitute for a prolific teacher who is in the same room as you and watching what you're doing. Don't get me wrong, you can find lots of material on the net, but you're most likely learning to play with tension, poor hand positioning, inaccurate rhythm, lack of music reading skills, etc. :rollno: Go and find a good teacher. In the meantime, if you have to use the web, check out Adam Nitti's instructional site, www.musicdojo.com.
  12. One thing about the fretless, people either love it or hate it. Not a whole lot of in the middle opinions on it. I would not invest heavily on one until I saw if I really wanted to play one. A nice inexpensive one to try out would be an Essex or the Vintage Modified Fretless Squire sells.

    The fretless will really make you depend on your ears a whole lot more than a fretted will. It is not very forgiving if your finger placement is not right. A lined neck might be the way to go for your first one. :cool:

  13. Your playing on a fretless bass must be more precise, period.:smug:
  14. contras?

  15. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    I will go a step further, and say that if you are still having problems fretting the notes properly after three months, that you are not progressing quickly enough, or not practicing enough. Plain and simple. We all learn at our own pace, but after three months, if you are practicing as much as you should, it should be somewhere from very rare to never that you get the clacking and clanging of fret noise, caused by your finger landing in the wrong place.

    How often are you practicing, and for how long?

    Oh, and get a teacher! At least for one or two lessons. Bad habits that you get into now are easily corrected. A year or two from now, they get much more difficult to unlearn. You want to make sure that you are using proper technique from the start, so you don't have to unlearn a lot of bad habits.
  16. Alv82


    Feb 25, 2009
    Wien - Österreich
    sorry i speak spanisch and german and the word in german is KONTRAS and in spanish is CONTRAS, so i thought itd be the same in english, nothing to do with the video game, sorry ahm... well i dont have much problem with fretting, i am still getting used to it, bass is my first instrument and i like it lots, i play something like 1 or 2 hours every second day and yeah i guess i should get into getting a proper technique maybe a couple of hours with a teacher itd help a little... thanks :)
  17. AndyMan

    AndyMan Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 17, 2000
    Columbus, Ohio
    Perfect Practice Makes Perfect.

    I just picked up a fretless after playing fretted for 30 years, and I never missed a beat. You just need to watch you intonation, especially when playing double stops/octaves. Muscle memory is key. If you are a beginning bass player, try learning on the fretted, then repeat the same on the fretless.

    Either you have talent or you don't. Use you passion and fire to develop your talent. Make a commitment. And yes, find a good teacher if you can.

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