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So I bought a fretless ...

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by thrasher717, Oct 1, 2013.


  1. thrasher717

    thrasher717

    Jan 17, 2003
    North Dakota
    I made an impulse buy last Friday -- a Fender standard (MIM) fretless jazz bass. I had never played a fretless until then and I'm really enjoying it. It sounds great with my Bassman 100t. First thing that needs to go is the white pickguard (I'm thinking black or tort). It has the stock Fender strings (SS flatwounds). I wouldn't mind a little brighter sound. So I'm looking for string suggestions. Nickel rounds? Tapewounds? Chromes?
     
  2. A little brighter you say? Try stainless steel rounds.
     
  3. thrasher717

    thrasher717

    Jan 17, 2003
    North Dakota
    Aren't stainless steel rounds too hard on the fretboard?
     
  4. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Chromes. They will be almost "too" bright at first. But they will settle in well.
     
  5. speeves

    speeves

    Apr 18, 2008
    Nevada
    They mark up the board, but with proper technique, they won't groove the board for quite some time. (Years)
     
  6. Marial

    Marial weapons-grade plum

    Apr 8, 2011
    I'd go with Pedulla nickle rounds or DR Sunbeams.
     
  7. LanEvo

    LanEvo Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2008
    Manhattan
    Both excellent choices. So are Fodera nickel-wounds.
     
  8. Max Blasto

    Max Blasto

    Nov 29, 2010
    San Diego

    For me, I use nickel rounds (ken smith burners).

    Flats and tapes don't sound or feel good to me. What about you?

    For brightness, rounds are the way to go. Now, stainless is rougher than nickel, but that may not make a difference on a bare fretboard - they both will wear into the fretboard eventually. But it depends on your technique and how often you play the instrument.

    I recommend you use the same strings that you use for a fretted bass, since you know you like that sound. Just remember, a fretless will always be less bright because part of what makes a fretted bass bright is the frets themselves. That's why I use rounds for fretless: gotta have something bring on the brightness without those frets there.

    Also: you should have a guitar tech or luthier in your rolodex. Over time, you'll need to have that fretboard sanded. That's life in fretless-land.

    I have mine done every couple of years if I'm playing actively on the fretless. Haven't had to do it in over 5 now cuz the current gigs are for rock, and I use the fretless for mostly blues.

    :bassist:
     
  9. boristhespider9

    boristhespider9

    Sep 9, 2008
    IMO, Daddario Half-Rounds (medium) are the perfect fretless string.
     
  10. Shakin-Slim

    Shakin-Slim

    Jul 23, 2009
    Tokyo, Japan
    Buy the strings that will get the sound you like, and don't worry too much about the fingerboard. Do you like the sound of flats? Flats and a fretless can be absolutely beautiful, but if you want a bright, Jaco-like tone, rounds are the best option. I wouldn't go for any of that 'half-round' stuff, if I were you.

    Protecting the FB with an epoxy job, or something of the like, is another option, but it's not entirely necessary. The fear of a fingerboard wearing down is quite overblown. It's not too different than needing a refret after some time.

    Of course, this all depends on your play style. If you are a 'thrasher', rounds might not be the best choice. In saying that, refrets are also dependent on play style.

    tl;dr - get what you like the sound of, fo' real.
     
  11. bh2

    bh2

    Jun 16, 2008
    Oxford, UK
    I've always used RS 66's on my fretless basses... don't worry at all about damaging the fingerboard.
     
  12. tylerwylie

    tylerwylie

    Jan 5, 2008
    Dunwoody, GA
    Fretless is awesome! I've got 2 now, one with an ebony board and one with a dymondwood. Rosewood should hold up pretty well though it's not as hard as other alternatives.
     
  13. Wallace320

    Wallace320 Commercial User

    Mar 19, 2012
    Milan, Italy
    You gotta reach for your kinda sound thru experiments

    What you like on a fretted bass shouldn't apply on a fretless

    And sure they differ by nature.

    You don't approach different women the same way, don't ya?

    Fender flats are good... would you like a lil' more brightness? D'Addario (light: 40-95) Chromes are the way to go

    Cheers,
    Wallace
     
  14. bh2

    bh2

    Jun 16, 2008
    Oxford, UK
    Not true Wallace old fruit.
     
  15. It depends on your fretting technique. As you may have noticed by now, you don't play fretless like a guitarist makes string bends. I use RS66s as well, which feel harsh out of the package. Besides, I think under nornal and proper use, a fretboard on SS rounds would hold up for a very long time.
     
  16. Shardik

    Shardik

    May 24, 2011
    Halden, Norway
    After I started playing fretless I have discovered that it is a much more versatile instrument than I thought. Personally I think I can use it for everything but the hardest metal and where you need slapping (but I could be wrong, since I am a terrible slapper).

    I certainly prefer flats for those smooth slides. Some of the sting of the rounds can be achieved through the proper use of EQ.

    Unfortunately I am just a mediocre bassist, and I need the fret lines. I am also unable to play fretless and sing lead at the same time (which I sometimes do).

    But I think I'll try to work in the fretless in more songs. There is a more organic feel to it which suits a lot of songs.
     
  17. Wallace320

    Wallace320 Commercial User

    Mar 19, 2012
    Milan, Italy
    except that I ain't eat no fruit at all:D

    Cheers,
    Wallace
     

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