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Stay consistent between your fretted & fretless

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by TheGeneral, May 23, 2002.

  1. For quite a while I had a fretless 4 with a 34" scale made by one company and a fretted 5 or 6 string with 35" scale made by somebody else. The necks were different and so was the string spacing. Playing fretless in tune always seemed to be more difficult that it should be. I recently have been lucky enough to get fretted and fretless 6 string basses that are for the most part, the same basses in terms of scale length, neck, etc. (F bass BN6 and F bass Alain Caron 6). I have realized, in only a short time with this situation, that my fretless playing has significantly improved and become much more enjoyable. I would highly recommend to anyone playing fretted and fretless basses to try to have two identical basses because the consistency between the two is a great thing.
  2. Basso Gruvitas

    Basso Gruvitas Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2000
    Dallas/Ft. Worth TX
    Yes sir, General SIR!

    I can totally relate. I used to have 2 four-strings - a Music Man and a Precision fretless. I got rid of the Music Man to get a Zon 5 string. As a result, my playing took a hit. The string spacing between the Zon and the Precision were messing me up. I told my wife about it and her reaction was, "Not ANOTHER bass!!" But I swapped the P bass for a Zon fretless.

    As far as I can tell, the necks on the Zons are identical except for the frets of course. It's effortless to switch back and forth now.

    Some good advice to bassists who "can't do the 5 thing" or "don't get the 6-string". Keep the string spacing and set-up close if not the same, and you WILL get it!
  3. jasonbraatz


    Oct 18, 2000
    Oakland, CA
    see....that brings me to a question i've been having...

    if you like your tone with a certain bass - should you get all your variations (4 string, 5 string, fretless) of the same maker?

    i'm wanting to get a fretless 5 - and would like to try something like a zon or elrick, but then i feel like i would want to get rid of my warwick to make it all the same.

    i guess it's kind of a brad johnson vs. john turner deal. bunches of very different basses vs. bunches of different basses made by same manufacturer.

  4. jblake


    Aug 30, 2001
    Gray, ME
    I think as long as the string spacing, nut width and scale length are the same, you should be fine. I've got a fretted jazz and a fretless G&L ASAT. The scaled lengths and neck specs are identical. The profiles are a bit different but it doesn't seem to bother me. YMMV.
  5. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    Fretless Thumb 4 and fretted Stingray 5 and yes it causes me minor problems. I rarely gig with both so I just choose which one is the 'best' and practice with it a bit.
  6. I agree 100%. For a while I used a short-scale Gibson EB-0 and I had a hell of a time when I switched to my Fretless Jazz Bass. When I started using my Reverend Rumblefish, the problems disappered since the neck profile, string length and spacing are very similar to the Jazz Bass.
  7. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    For some people it does help to have very similar basses. In my case, my basses actually are similar in string spacing (18-19mm), that's my one bugaboo. Other than that I go between 4, 5, 6 and now 7 strings, neck profiles that don't vary much and 34", 34.5" and 35" scales. I even go between a 34" (Zon) and 35" (Elrick) fretlesses.

    The trick, in my case, is that I don't spend much time thinking about it, I just play whatever I'm playing. I subconciously adjust my technique to fit the bass... and it works for me. I know that probably sounds too simple but it works. For instance I don't try to play a 5 string Jazz like I would a 5 string Elrick... that would mean I'm thinking about the Elrick;). YMMV
  8. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    I'm in the same camp with Brad, except string spacing doesn't bother me either, unless I am slapping. But I'm working on that one.;)

    I switch back and forth between 4,5,6 & 12's with string spacing ranging from 15mm to 19mm, and scales in the 34" and 35" range. And two of those are fretless, one 4, one 5. As soon as I get around to it, I will have a fretless 6 as well.

    Like Brad, I just play whatever I'm playing.
  9. when I first had my Dean turned into a fretless, it was kind of goofy going back and forth between my 2 basses. my other bass is a 35" scale 5 string and my fretless is a 34" scale 4 string. but as of late, I just get used to the feel of both, and keep those feelings on tap. I switch to fretless mode, then switch back to fretted. it's just mental, and I try to keep each basses feel fresh in my mind.

    but, I can see where you are comming from. I could see how having 2 of the same basses would be an advantage. I'm actually thinking of having another DP custom made (fretless) with the same scale length and string spacing as my current DP.
  10. General;
    I have to agree, especially since we have the same basses, got any pics of yours?:D
  11. Hey Hexbass,
    No pictures right now. Maybe I can borrow my wife's digital camera and snap a few shots. I was truly amazed when I received my A.C. fretless--the finish makes it look like a piece of exotic glass. It is so beautiful.
  12. There's no "should" about it. If you think it would help, try it, but don't burden yourself with preconceptions. You may find, like Brad and embellisher, that it's not all that critical to you.

    I've done it both ways. These days, I prefer to have my basses resemble each other in feel (not necessarily to be identical), but that's mainly because I also play nylon-string guitar and electric guitar, and those already call for substantial adjustments on my part from playing bass, so I'm trying to keep a lid on the number of adjustments I have to make!
  13. eric atkinson

    eric atkinson "Is our children learning "Is our teachers teachin

    Feb 4, 2001
    Either ive been lucky or just never had this problem?
    Well i started out on a stand up and played that in jazz for about 5 years. Then got my 69 frettless jazz bass. Then warwick corvette pro-line and a spector american bolt on 5 string. Wonder if they are the same measurments? Will tell ya when i get home! Hehe now you guys have me wondering! I bet there not!
  14. I noticed a lot of difference playing last night. My MIM J fretless has very low action with a J nec. My MIM P has Fender rounds and a Gotoh 201 bridge that causes high action. There was a substantial difference between the two due to width, height, and strings. And a mile of difference between those two and my RB5.
  15. Chuck M

    Chuck M Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    San Antonio, Texas
    I have electric basses with both 34" and 35" scales and have no trouble with the fretted/fretless switching except I am having a bit of intonation blues down at first position with my new Sonus freltess 5 when I play octaves.

    That bass arrived last week and has been on only one gig. I took a fretted bass along thinking I might have trouble but I played the Zon all night. I have a little minor adjusting to do but will get used to it soon enough as the fretted 5's I own are both 35" scale basses.

    The Zon has close to the same string spacing as my Lakland 55-94 so I think it will actually feel more at home than my Pentabuzz after I get use to the extra reach for the longer scale.

    A few hours in the practice room can do wonders for these small adjustments. Makes me appreciate Jamey Aebersold's fine play a long recordings all the more.


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