Tonal differences between Fretted and fretless basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by TaySte_2000, Aug 27, 2002.

  1. TaySte_2000


    Jun 23, 2001
    Manchester, UK
    Endorsing Artist: Mojohand, Subdecay, Overwater, Matamp
    What are the tonal differences between these two types I hear alot about Mwah but when is it when you slide up the neck or is every note like this?

    What can't you play on a fretless that you can play on a fretted and vice versa?

    Thanks in advance
  2. LM Bass

    LM Bass

    Jul 19, 2002
    Vancouver, BC
    Slap isn't a great idea on fretless because of wear on the fingerboard. Fretted bass notes don't swell or mwah like fretless. Vibrato is easier on fretless. The tone of a fretless is usually darker and warmer because the finger is stopping the string instead of a metal fret. Having played both types for about 24 years now, I'm in a "fretted is better" phase.
    Though my true love -doublebass- has no frets whatsoever (so help me Gary Karr).
    Laurence Mollerup
  3. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Laurence got most of the high points.

    Regarding slap, with a phenolic, ebanol, poly coated or phenowood fingerboard, wear is not much, if any of a problem.

    My Zon fretless has a phenowood board. I slap it like crazy, and there is no wear. And I use stainless steel roundwounds, too. YMMV.

    Slap sounds totally different on a fretless. Fretted has a sharp, metallic attack, while fretted has a woodier thump. Although with a piezo pickup, I can get pretty close to a fretted slap sound, when I need to.