Transition to Fretless : Vertical Move or Lateral Move?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by osciphex, Jun 1, 2001.

  1. osciphex


    Jun 1, 2001
    Hey. I've been playing bass for about a year now; I've built up a bit of skill in certain areas but I'm definately still a beginner. For a while I've been obsessed with the sound of fretless basses; players like Jaco and Michael Manring rank at the top of my list. Anyway, I'm thinking about perhaps getting a fretless myself, but I'm not sure because I wonder if doing so would complicate my learning of bass in general.

    I realize there is some added difficulty in learning to play a fretless, but would switching to fretless slow down or complicate the process of learning theory, rhythm, and other techniques? In other words, would switching to a fretless be overly difficult given my nature as a beginner? Would it impede on my ability to learn to play music as a whole? Opinions? Thanx
  2. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    This is simple: Play what you want to play. That's ALL you need to know!

    BUT, fretless is more difficult. Staying in tune and learning to play music without starring at your hands will be increasingly difficult. However, if you start early, you'll get accustomed to it far sooner.

    Besides, people who start on or mainly use a fretless tend to have far superior and cleaner technique, i've found.
  3. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago

    Fretless is not better, it's just different. I'll agree it's a little harder to play, but IME bass is more forgiving of tuning inaccuracy than higher pitched instruments, so you can "get away with" a little fuzziness.

    I do not think it will slow your musical growth. In fact, it will force you to develop your ears.

    I personally have more FUN playing fretless, and I like the expressive capabilities. It's not for everyone, but if the bug keeps biting you, you probably ought to get an inexpensive used fretless to see what you think. If you don't like it, OR if you love it, you can easily get almost all of your money back out of it.

    Have fun!