Typical effects for fretless?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by JPrinos, Jan 12, 2009.

  1. JPrinos


    May 16, 2008
    Toronto, Canada
    Hello all,

    I was talking to someone who claimed that they would only play fretless with a flanger.

    Is there a suite of processing that players tend to use with fretless basses?
    i.e. compression with flange or anything of the like.
  2. mwiles30


    Dec 31, 2008
    Cincinnati, OH
    Play what sounds good. I personally like chorus and sometimes flanger. Overdrive and Wah sound good.

    Compression is a good tool, but don't overdo it. You can crush your signal and lose the ability to control dynamics with your hands.

    Effect compatability comes down to personal taste and opinion.
  3. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches

    Aug 21, 2006
    Denver, CO
    Would ONLY play fretless with flanger? Never heard that before.

    Personally I use the same effects whether I'm playing fretted or fretless, but yes, there are some effects that are often used with fretless basses: Reverb, chorus and octaver are the first ones that come to mind for me.
  4. ryco


    Apr 24, 2005
    The compressor + chorus is a very popular sound for fretless.
  5. I play fretless and I have all kinds of different effects, none are a chorus or flanger. I throwdown with filters and dirts and modulation and octaves. It's just what sounds you like. If you don't like the effects with your fretless, don't use 'em. Anybody that says you can't do something creative is usually a blowhard that doesn't completely know what he is talking about.

    That said, no one's suggestion is going to be wrong, just not gospel.

  6. Compressors come in handy if, like my bass, your bass tends to have a very loud mwah characteristic. Mine can get a great deal louder than a typical fundamental, so I sometimes use a compressor if I'm playing an expressive piece.

    A good old Boss OC-2 is great for octave doubling. and a Boss chorus will do nicely as well... Be gentle with the settings though as turned up they'll begin to destroy the fundamental note... leaving you with a wishy-washy 1980's-like thin tone.
  7. andvari7


    Aug 28, 2004
    Well, all of my effects sound good with a fretless; they have to. If they didn't, I wouldn't have bothered to buy them in the first place.
  8. lowbass68


    Feb 3, 2008
    There are no rules, use whatever it take to get the sound your looking for.
    Personally I love the sound of a mild overdrive with fretless.
  9. unclejane

    unclejane Guest

    Jul 23, 2008
    For my solo stuff, I'll use some reverb. For everything else, I prefer it totally dry...

  10. kevteop


    Feb 12, 2008
    York, UK
    I use my fretless with all of my effects, especially the most extreme ones. When trying to ape a synth I usually pick fretless over fretted bass so I can do nasty unstable-tuning noises and portamento effects.

    Get an OC-2 and a Pulse Synth from Robot Factory, use them in parallel using an LS-2 and stick the lot in the loop of a good envelope filter, or before a filter with an exp. pedal input. Have fun being Bernie Worrell for the day. :)
  11. Oh that's absolutely insane fun for the whole family...:p
  12. El-Bob


    Oct 22, 2006
    Hamilton, ON
    I just got my fretless today, but i'm enjoying a bit of reverb on it :)
  13. greenboy


    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    From a guy that owns only fretlesses now:

    Everything including the alligator clips and the broken bottleneck!
  14. Mudfuzz


    Apr 3, 2004
    I play mine through any and all effects if I'm in the mood, frets or not isn't all that big of a deal.

    Personally I've always thought excessive use of Flange and chorus on fretless was to make up for bad intonation,
  15. SteveD


    Feb 20, 2006
    Denver, Colorado
    I've been just using a little compression but you guys have got me thinking now. Reverb? I have a reverb effect, but never thought about it for bass. That's interesting.
  16. Reverb is great for soloing ... When you're using the higher registers and creating vocal-like phrasing it gives it a little punch...

    It's lousy down low though...
  17. greenboy


    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    -- Unless its a pretty good sounding 'verb with adjustable high pass filter.
  18. JPrinos


    May 16, 2008
    Toronto, Canada
    Wow everyone!! I'm completely overwhelmed by the response!!

    I'll horse around a bit and see what I like.

  19. I'll have to take a look...I have a cheap midi controlled Zoom rack unit (the 1204), and one of the reverb settings works well...
  20. I mostly play my fretless basses clean, maybe a lil compression if needed. Though for the cool "classic" fretless sounds for you to experiment with, go with an octaver, chorus/flanger, compression, reverb and you'll pretty soon see you can have a great deal of fun with that for a start..

    My weapons of choice for doin that, would (so far) be:

    Boss OC-2, EHX Micro Pog, I like them both, they are different birds and good at different things.

    Danelectro Cool Cat, Killer chorus!

    Danelectro Hash Browns, Nice vintage feel flanger

    Aphex Punch Factory, It just does the job, no questions asked
    Art Tube Levelar, I swapped out the factory tube for a lil cleaner tube (dont remember the name etc.) that gives more gain and less noise, great compressor this one too!

    And reverb I still haven't found anything that has spellbound me yet (and since I am not a live player I most often add that in the computer when I have recorded what I need so the need hasn't yet been that urge to me).

    Good luck, and have fun!!!