Starting out with a fretless bad?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by AndrewT, Jun 26, 2001.

  1. AndrewT


    Jun 16, 2001
    Sugar Land, TX
    I was all set with my first bass being a Fender MIM Jazz bass, and I saw the fretless (with the fret lines) today. I picked it up and played it, and like it a lot. Does anyone think that its a particularly BAD idea to start out on a fretless? I think I feel more comfortable playing on a fretless because I've been playing violin for 7 years, and well, violins are fretless. I think I want a fretless, but just wondering what the opinions of the people more experianced than I. Thanks a lot.
  2. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
  3. bakdo03


    Jun 26, 2001
    I just bought my first bass, and it is the same model you bought. I play guitar mainly and had been thinking of a bass for a while. As soon as I picked up the fretless with the lines, I fell in love with the feel. Does it have the flat wound strings? The fretless neck and flat strings are great. I can't imagine it would be bad to start with this, actually I think it would be better. You don't have to worry about fret buzz either. I find myself slapping the strings on the neck more than I want, but I'm a real beginner when it comes to bass method.
  4. furtim


    Dec 12, 1999
    Boston, MA, USA
    There is nothing at all wrong with starting out on fretless. In fact, if you intend to eventually play a fretless, it's probably better. There's no point in learning a fretted bass if you're just gonna ditch it for a smooth one later. ;) There's a very slight difference in technique, too, so it's probably best to just start out on fretless and not have to re-learn the feel.
  5. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Well...I suspect what with no concept of Frets, the fretless would be pretty easy so opposed to switch to, which many bassisits do...
  6. if you already play violin i would reccommend getting a fretless bass. plus i love mine to death and i like the sound of em.
  7. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Go for it.

    Since you played violin, if your intonation was good on it, then you probably have a good ear.

    It's much easier to start on fretless and then get a fretted later on down the road than the reverse.

    And who knows? You may not ever want a fretted.

    I know that if it was up to me, I would probably rarely if ever play my fretted basses, even though I love them.
  8. Definitely go for it...especially with your violin background as everyone else has mentioned. Personally, I think you'll become a better player by learning on the fretless. I wish I had! I'd love a fretless but unless its marked, like the Fender you mentioned, I sound like slop on one
  9. BassMen


    Jun 27, 2001
    Yup yup yup---they sound GREAT... I love their sound. But don't start off LEARNING on one. Get acquainted with a fret bass, then move onto fretless. :-D
  10. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Welcome to Talkbass, Bass Men.:)

    Please tell me why someone should not start out on a fretless? After all, there are no fretted violins or upright basses for beginners.;)
  11. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Playing fretless is not harder than fretted! Unlined has a higher threshold, but soon enough it doesn't matter.

    At one point or another, you'll get frustrated on the intonation, and you think "I throw this junk in the wall", but you don't (too much money involved:) ). Three days later, you realize that your ear is getting better, your intonation is improving drastically, and you are becoming a better bassist.
    (That my not be the issue for Andrew, being a violin player)

    Then you pick up a fretted... "Ah", you think, "I can play fast on this one!" and you do that. You go back to your fretless, and notice your hand has become sloppy, it doesn't hit the notes as well as before. You practice and get good again. Then you play a slow tune on a fretted - and you almost puke! It does not intonate right!!! "Where's that fretless, now when I need it?"
    /////the story of my life/////

    So, on a fretless you will learn a lot more, and faster, because it forces you, it challanges you and it entices you.
  12. furtim


    Dec 12, 1999
    Boston, MA, USA
    It's true about trying to play a fretted bass after playing fretless for a while. There were a couple of times in class when I forgot to bring my own fretless (oof.), and I had to borrow a friend's fretted P. Man, that was weird, and not just because of the fat neck. I didn't have any intonation issues (since I'm tone-deaf, anyway! hah!), but I was very distracted by actually feeling frets again. ;) When you switch back like that, they actually seem to get in the way sometimes. Not fun. And if you intend to play fretless, start on fretless, because relearning the instrument is no fun. Moreso because fretted basses often invite sloppiness in fingering, whereas fretless axes won't tolerate that as much (although that's never stopped me!).
  13. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    definitely start on what you want to play. don't listen to people who think you need to start on fretted and then "grow" into fretless :rolleyes:

    especially with your experience on violin, you'll probably make a fine fretless player :D.
  14. furtim


    Dec 12, 1999
    Boston, MA, USA
    Aye, JT.

    furtim's personal motto: Do what you feel is right, and sod the rest. ;)
  15. Carolyn


    Jun 18, 2001
    Newcastle UK
    I started out on a fretless Fender ( a 5 string at that!)...

    Do what feels right for you..enjoy!
  16. mattiskim


    Nov 8, 2005
    Hi from Wheeling, WV
  17. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    Erm.... hi. And welcome.

    Andrew, starting on a fretless sounds just fine to me, especially with your background. Worry not, go right ahead. ;)
  18. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    wow, what an odd way to make an introduction, resurrecting a 5 year old thread. :eyebrow:

    welcome to tb. :)
  19. DaveDanger


    Sep 12, 2006
    Play what feels good. Always!
  20. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    Oh sheesh! Never even noticed... :D

    The OP may well be totally awesome by now. He must have been practising a lot, he hasn't checked in for nearly four years!!

    How do find a five year old thread without the search function, anyway? He must have Googled "fretless" and then jumped to the 214th page of results.... :eek: