1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

should i go fretless?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by jonathan_matos5, Mar 25, 2006.

  1. im a newbie and im starting my first lesson on this coming monday i was wondering if because im just starting should i learn how to play on a fretless or wait until i am fairly decent on a fretted bass until i go fretless
  2. Diego


    Dec 9, 2005
    San Francisco, CA
    I think they are not mutuially exclusive options
  3. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Its hard to start on a fretless and really have it be advantageous. In my opinion, a newcomer wont really have the knowledge of how to take advantage of a fretless. Even playing in tune will be quite difficult, since your ear is not yet developed.

    Im sure some people will say " go for it" but i have to disagree.
  4. my ear is pretty good from playing trombone in highschool but it has been a couple of years
  5. I respectfully beg to differ. Many musicians start out on instruments with no frets. In that respect an EBG needn't be different from a violin or doublebass. If you start with a fretless, certainly switching to frets later will be no problem, and your undeveloped ear will develop faster because you will be depending on it (not your eyes) for the right notes. You also will not develop that difficult to break habit of losing your place in the chart while you're looking away to see which fret you are on. Starting with frets, your ear may never really develop to your potential. You will also not have to hassle as much with setting up your bridge to achieve the proper intonation, which is a steep maintenance learning curve itself. Don't even get one with lines on it. Maybe some dots down the edge, for position references and then listen, read (music), and listen some more.
  6. Keef


    Jul 3, 2003
    Hollywood, CA
    When I began playing fretless, it was a very easy transition. I don't know why some folks have (so much) trouble with it. That said, I'd already been playing bass a few years at that point.

    Assuming your ear is pretty good (was it SLIDE trombone?), the only problem I can think of is this: the finger stretches on a bass can be pretty rough on a beginner. It may be better to get your hands in shape in terms of strength and flexibility before going to fretless. Remember folks, even Jaco recommended practicing on a fretted instrument, if only to get one's ears in shape.

    If I were you, I'd go into a shop and try a fretless out – who knows, you may take to it like a fish to water!

  7. west*coast*bass

    west*coast*bass Supporting Member

    Dec 6, 2003
    Agoura Hills, CA

    +1. Learn fretless and you will develop good position and intonation. Going from fretless to fretted is much easier than the other way around.

    Now, if your teacher is not a seasoned fretless player, I would either find a different teacher or go fretted.
  8. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    A good point as well.

    I definitely think it could work, if you eventualy play a fretted as well and realize the differences, so you can fully express yourself on both.
  9. Jazzin'

    Jazzin' ...Bluesin' and Funkin'

    I started learning on a fretless, but I didn't really play it like a fretless because I was new to bass. I bought my own fretless recently and I love it. I would recomend that some players start off on fretless. The world needs some variety. We shouldn't all start on fretted. If you want to be the different one, start on fretless and see if you can stay on it.
  10. I was lucky 'cos before coming ot bass I played violin which required the same kinda muscle memory,

    Have a look at why you want to play fretless. Do your bass heroes play fretless or does someone you know (friends and teachers) play fretless.

    If the fretless is suitable for the music you are playing, go for it. It might be a little harder than usual but all you have to do is practice !!

    On the other hand, if the music you are going to play (or your bass heroes/friends/teachers) is more suited to fretted, go fretted.


  11. rymix


    Mar 14, 2006
    If the general feeling is that intonation is the major potential stumbling block when attempting to play fretless, then having played the trombone will definately help you in this respect.

    I have played the trombone since I was 4, and the fretless bass has some very strong parallels to the trombone. I'd say that the slightly steeper learning curve will pay dividends in the long run.

    Having said all that, there are many far more knowledgable bassists here tham myself...I'm a good trombonist, but an average bassist.
  12. i was at one time good at trombone still have a ring from winning state jazz band competition and always wanted to play double bass but they are too expensive so i got an electric bass but i definately want to play fretless
  13. Diego


    Dec 9, 2005
    San Francisco, CA
    Couldn't agree more
  14. rymix


    Mar 14, 2006
    You've answered your own question ;) Having the desire is half the battle won.

    Let us know how you get on!
  15. are the lined ones any good to start on
  16. Despite what I said earlier, I wouldn't make the lines/no lines issue a make or break point in buying a fretless bass. Ususally, these are more helpful for those of us (yes I'm one of the fretted to fretless converts) who learned on fretted and need a visual safety rope. I don't think they would be as useful for an inexperienced beginner. Even so, after I took up DB a few years ago when I bought my fretless, I really liked one that had no lines the best. It wasn't about the lines;- it was about the bass, it's feel, it's sound. Try some of them out and you'll find your true love in the batch. Lucky you, there's so many to choose from. :)

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.