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What are the benefits of fretless?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Armedxx, Mar 23, 2009.

  1. Armedxx


    Mar 21, 2009
    I mean I don't see much difference besides the tone, and the fact that there are no frets of course!
  2. You serious?
  3. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    For me, it's an expressive and very vocal sounding way to create music, and that's all that really counts.

    But, it's also useful for playing along with recordings without having to tweak the tuning for each different recording. And I was able to use it once for pointing out a singer's intonation issues. He said "give me a G" so I played a G and slid it all over sharp and flat. He said "Which one!" and I said "Don't worry, you'll hit all of them by the end of the song."

  4. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    This topic comes up only once a week or so on average - week in, month out, year in... :rolleyes:

    Isn't tone alone a good enough reason for playing fretless?

  5. ~Ethan~


    Dec 3, 2008
    Abilene, TX
    I like that! I think thats true.

    I personally just love the tone of a fretless, every time I go into guitar center that's usually the first bass I pick up. It's also smoother to play when sliding.
    And if it's unlined then that shows your good player IMO. I mean if you can play some really good riffs and solos even with no frets then I give you props!
  6. snyderz


    Aug 20, 2000
    AZ mountains
    I just don't like frets. Simple as that.
  7. mrtn400


    Dec 6, 2008
    Carmichael, CA
    There's no real benefits to having or not having frets. It's all what you like.

    But I have both so that I can use a fretless when I feel like it (or when a song calls for it).
  8. sonicnuance

    sonicnuance Commercial User

    Aug 30, 2003
    California, USA
    Engineer & Owner, Sonic Nuance Electronics
    being out of tune :bag: :p

    in truth, expressiveness especially "lyrical" playing
  9. I just like the feel of wood against my fingers; it feels more sensual somehow. Plus, if your ear is good, you can make up for any small variations in tuning; here in SW FLorida, pitch problems can happen at outdoor gigs very quickly and unexpectedly.
  10. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    Sorry to disagree but the first two immediate benefits of having no frets is that you must finger correctly for intonation. By that i mean using the tips of you fingers for the smallest cover of surface area on the board. The smaller the area covered by the end of the finger tips the better the quality and the more exact the note. On intonation again, it trains your ear to hear the correct intervals and notes. As there are no frets you have to be exact with your fingering to correctly hear the note and the true intervals between it and others. I myself have never played a fretless in a gig or studio situation in over 25years, but i do practice on mine to keep my playing standard up, and can recommend it to anyone to improve the overall quality of their freting hand and ear training.
    There are so many more differences but these two points alone will improve any fretted bass players skills and technique alone.
  11. rythman6969


    May 29, 2007
    the tone, and the fact that there are no frets.:smug:of course
  12. JoelEoM


    Mar 11, 2002
    Lancaster, PA
    haha, nicely played. does your singer still sing in the band?

    i enjoy fretless for the expressiveness you cant always get out of a fretted bass.
  13. MNAirHead

    MNAirHead Supporting Member

    Random notes

    1-Less competition.. I've gotten several gigs because I had fretless
    2-Finer tuning.. takes practice
    3-Sound - "portamento" "Gliss" or "Mwah" pick your word.
    6-Options.. transitions have more variables on a fretless.

    Many of us play as it is a bit more challenging..
  14. Skarekrough


    Aug 7, 2006
    It's just a different voice.

    Some folks can find a use for it, some can't.
  15. Natrix


    Mar 21, 2009
    Sydney Australia
    I think the main benefit of the fretless is the fretlessness.
  16. Tumbao


    Nov 10, 2001
    (benefits of fretless?).You can get a full limitless natural voice feeling from staccato to legato, seemed to the human melodic sung expression.
  17. mikeyswood

    mikeyswood Banned

    Jul 22, 2007
    Cincinnati OH
    Luthier of Michael Wayne Instruments
    You will probably never get a gig with a fretted bass in an orchestra ;)
  18. sean.1986


    Feb 24, 2009
    Essex, England
    This must be a joke topic. "other than the tone" sounds distinctly sarcastic.
  19. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    I have to STRONGLY DISAGREE with this. I can name a number of KILLER players that have lined fretless basses.

    Very wise.
  20. ~Ethan~


    Dec 3, 2008
    Abilene, TX

    I didn't mean that if you have a lined fretless your not as good, just that if you CAN do it without any lines it would show extra skill and practice I guess. I don't know if I'm making sense or just going right back to where I started. lol

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