"that" fretless sound

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by sloppysubs, Jan 8, 2005.

  1. sloppysubs


    Nov 24, 2002
    Swansboro, NC
    ok so there are two songs that embody fretless bass for me. one is failure's "small crimes" and the other is "take my breath away" (i think thats the name, it was in topgun when kelly mcginnis and tom cruise start to get busy) anyway, all the fretless basses ive played, which mind you arent many have little to no muah. is the extreme fretless sound im hearing on those track a studio thing or the bass?

    and while im at, what are some good fretless basses that really give out that fretless sound? right no im looking zon (of course) and wal. any others?

  2. IIRC "Take my breath away" is a keyboard bassline (If you're refering to the cover in the Top Gun soundtrack, I havn't heard the original) So if you want that sound go out and get yourself a Casio Keyboard!
  3. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Fbasses, Roscoes, and Brubakers all make spectacular fretlesses.

    EDIT: Oof, Pedulla, too. The Pedulla Buzzes are pretty amazing.


    Dec 1, 2004
    Asheville NC
    Alot of that "mwah" is in the hands, too.
  5. sloppysubs


    Nov 24, 2002
    Swansboro, NC

    that is the most disheartening thing ive heard in sometime. ah well.

    as far as getting the mwah from your hands, is it in the sliding or hand placement etc...? thanks for the help all.
  6. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Brooklyn, NY
    Playing closer to the fingerboard will always give you more "mwah". The further towards the bridge you go the tighter the sound.
  7. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Inactive

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    It's a touch thing. It's about figuring out how to pluck the string in conjunction with how you fret it. You'll get more mwah if you pluck parallel with the surface of the fingerboard. Playing over the fingerboards yields it easily becuase it forces you to pluck this way. OTOH I usually play close to the bridge and get it there too. Plucking with the pads of your finger instead of the tip helps too.
  8. Tritone

    Tritone Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 24, 2002
    Santee, America
    I couldn't agree more. I find I get more "mwah" when I "fret" the note with the pad of my finger rather than toward the tip.
  9. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    Assuming you have a good, quality instrument (of whatever make & model), the great majority of your mwah will come from a combination of your pickups, your setup, your strings & your technique. And of these four, the most important are your setup and your technique...


    (But a Zon would make an excellent choice...) :cool:
  10. sloppysubs


    Nov 24, 2002
    Swansboro, NC
    thanks everyone for the help. off to the stores to see what i cna come up with.
  11. Spector_Ray


    Aug 8, 2004

    I remember the first time I really heard a fretless bass. I was listening to a new "supergroup" on the radio playing a song called "Radioactive". Tony Franklin and The Firm became a HUGE influence on me as far as the sans fret bass goes and I studied his technique religiously. Pads all the way baby! :hyper:
  12. +1

    The electronics do their part too, I like passive pups for the classic mwah sound rather than active...I would suggest playing as many different brands/setups that you can, get a feel for what sounds you like and what you don't....I personally love the sound of a good warwick fretless...
  13. i can't describe how i acheive the mwah...its just a certain style of playing that seems tighter on the fretting hand and looser on the fingering hand.
  14. jeff schmidt

    jeff schmidt no longer red carded, but my butt is still sore.

    Aug 27, 2004
    Novato, CA
    "mwah" is almost entirly a function of the bass. I've had good and bad fretless basses. Good fretless basses that are properly set up simply sing the minute you touch them. My Pedulla is a perfect example of this. As well as a Zon I demo'd but decided against because Joe Zon hates lefties. Even a near beginner could get it these basses to properly "mwah". My brand new Carvin LB75 fretless on the other hand was a dud. Nothing - and I mean NOTHING in the way of set-up and technique could coax much "MWAH" out of it. I had the same experience with an Ibanez I owned as well as a few de-fretted basses. Technique can enhance mwah and make turn into "singing" - but the bass has to be set up for it and that's why I put the primary "mwah" factor to be the bass itself.
  15. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2000
    SF Bay Area
    I don't think I'd entirely agree with that. I'd be the last to say that all basses are identical in this respect, but I've been able to get all the mwah I needed out of any well made and well set up fretless. Most definitely including Carvins.

    Just as a sideline, I sometimes think the whole mwah thing is overrated as a measure of fretless quality. I love that sound too, and I use it, but personally, I get tired of it if I hear it constantly. It Gets To Be Sort Of Like Capitalizing Every Word You Write.
  16. sloppysubs


    Nov 24, 2002
    Swansboro, NC
    thanks for all the input everyone. now i know what to look and what not to look for.
  17. troll


    Aug 31, 2000
    Chicago area
    Amazingly, my wenge cirrus 5 sings like crazy, and you don't have to fret or use any special technique to make it so. And in the several years I've owned it, the neck hasn't moved, it sings as good as the day I got it, used even. I don't think any other cirrus I've tried sings as well. It's damned near Buzz territory, although quite a bit darker with the woods. I of course leave it on the bridge as it really makes the buzzing pop right out.

    Although I've long been a cirrus advocate, it's honestly the only one of them I actually would keep if I moved onto something else, except maybe a hexabuzz to replace it :)

  18. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Inactive

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    I don't agree. IME knowing how to get mwah is the biggest part of it. Sometimes it's as simple as soloing a bridge pickup on a two pickup bass, others it's finding the sweet spot. Granted, some basses are easier to get it with than others but I've yet to find a fretless I couldn't get it out of to a usable degree.

    I had an LB75 years ago and while it wasn't the most amazing fretless I've ever played, it was very easy to coax mwah out of it. Solo the bridge pickup and it was there. Easy.

    The flip side of this is learning how to "not" get mwah on a fretless. This can be as difficult (if not more so on some basses) as getting it.

    Try this experiment... hand a fretless to five bassists of varying experience levels. Bet you'll get just about as many different sounds out of that bass.

  19. jeff schmidt

    jeff schmidt no longer red carded, but my butt is still sore.

    Aug 27, 2004
    Novato, CA
    Sorry guys - I have to disagree with you too. IMO there's no magic to mwaw. Good basses make it easy - bad basses make it hard. My Carvin fretless, for example - simply never opened up no matter what I did to it or how I played it. If you have to try too hard - it's time for a better bass.

  20. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Inactive

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    I'd have to see that bass. I'm trying to imagine what would have to be wrong with it to not get mwah. Haven't seen a Carvin neck through fretless I couldn't get it on yet. Never had to try hard either;). Straighten the board, drop the action, solo the bridge pickup... it'd be pretty amazing "not" to get mwah after that.

    What exactly "did" you get out of it instead of mwah? Did it just sound like a fretted you could slide on?

    The again... maybe you have to be right-handed;)

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