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Should I consider a fretless?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bassman1185, Mar 23, 2002.

  1. I've been seriously thinking of getting an acoustic bass, but I can't decide if i should get a fretless or a regular fretted. I like the fretless sound, but i don't know if it would work well for me, since I play mostly rock. Plus I'm having a hard time finding a fretless, lined, five string that has a decent reputation.
  2. If you want to hear a fretless in a rock situation, get a copy of Glenn Hughes Blues, as for lined fretless, i would advise against it, it doesn't make it easier to play, and you may find it more confusing. Most fretted player tends to place the fingers between the frets and not against them, as is the correct technique, so that when you move to a lined fretless you may find it hard to adjust, and may have to relearn. As for decent budget fretlesses, try the Yamaha, but not the ones whith rosewood fretboards, it must be Ebony or Pau Ferro, good hunting.
  3. snyderz


    Aug 20, 2000
    AZ mountains
    Can't give you any advice on acoustic basses, as I don't play any. As for fretless, all I can say is to go ahead and take the plunge. You'll be pleased with your new versatility in tones, and will soon start adding it to your gigs. I agree and disagree with spectorman on a couple points. I only play unlined boards, as I don't care for the lines, but I don't know if it is really that confusing if there are twice as many lined fretless basses being made and played. Fingerboard woods are just a matter of personal taste. I've had rosewood, pau ferro, maple, ebony, and wenge boards, and liked them all for what each did. Strings are a big factor on a fretless bass. You'll end up trying a few different brands, just like you would on your fretted bass, depending on the tone and feel that you want. Go find a used fretless that feels and sounds good to you, so that you don't dump a load of money on an experiment. If you play rock, I don't think you'll like an acoustic fretless bass. As spectorman said, a Yamaha or MIM Fender can be had cheap. There are a bunch on ebay on a daily basis if there are none near you. Careful though, fretless basses are addicting.
  4. BASSethound


    Mar 19, 2002
    Buffalo, NY
    I own a 76 pbass fretless, rosewood unlined. Let me tell you that this was the most difficult bass to play, especially since I use the whole neck all the time. I would recommend flatwound strings although other cats don't mind chewing up their fingerboard!

    When I play upright, I use three positions, unfortunately I cannot play the pbass the same way! If you get unlined and work hard at it, you will have greatly enhanced your ear. I also think that it is addicting and actually changed my playing style on fretted. I slide a lot! I say go for it!
  5. I recommend getting a fretless to anyone, but, understand it's a different animal than a fretted bass. I'm not saying that it's hard, just different. This is just my opinion, but, I would recommend getting a lined fingerboard. I have a MIM fretless Jazz, and when I switch over to it, yes, I look at the lines a lot, but, they keep me in tune. I'll be the first to admit I'd be lost on an unlined neck, but, by playing my lined fretless neck, I still get that fretless tone. Playing in the first position isn't that hard on an unlined neck, but, when you have to seemlessly move to say the 15th fret, it ain't that easy to hit the note right on the money. I'm only saying this in a cautious way, so you won't get in over your head and possibly get frustrated and give up. The choice is up to you. Good luck whatever you choose. Just my $.02.

    Mike J.
  6. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    By all means consider a fretless! But be careful! Once you give in to the temptation of the Dark Side, forever will it dominate your destiny![​IMG]

    As far as lined vs. unlined, the reason that I prefer lines is that when playing in a situation where you cannot hear yourself, it is noce to have the lines for a reference. But that's all they are, is a reference. A good ear is the best way to play in tune.

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