what is good and bad about fretted and fretless

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by fenderbluesdude, Apr 11, 2004.

  1. name some of the good and bad things about a fretted bass and also name the good and bad things about a fretless
  2. lyle

    lyle Guest

    Jan 10, 2004
    Vernon, B.C. Canada
    ... you cant get a fretted sound with a fretless and you cant get a fretless sound with a fretted. :smug:
  3. Kheos


    Aug 12, 2002
    yeah, but is that a good thing, or a bad thing
  4. lyle

    lyle Guest

    Jan 10, 2004
    Vernon, B.C. Canada
    up to that person to decied. sorry couldnt resist
  5. csholtmeier


    Feb 8, 2004
    omaha, ne
    They are two different animals. Best to treat them as such.
  6. Limo


    Sep 22, 2002
    Reykjavik Iceland
    This is a good question and I'm sure me and my associates will find a good answer with that question.
  7. fretted has guidelines, fretless does not. once again you decied if thats good or not.
  8. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    What do you mean by guidelines? The fact that fretless is not limited to the 12 tones we know in a Western society? You're wrong, just gotta bend the rules a bit, and the strings too for the semitones. :)
  9. If by saying "sound like a fretted" means that the intonation of your notes are precise, then yes, but frets add fret noise (which is a good thing if not overdone) and especially with roundwounds, affect the tone albeit ever so subtly. You can't get that on a fretless.

    A fretless offers you a different kind of sound than a fretted. The issue isn't choosing one over the other, but adding one to your sonic pallette and your playing abilities (fretless playing involves a slightly different skill).
  10. Fretless...

    Bad - you have to pay attention to your intonation.
    Good - you have to pay attention to your intonation.
  11. sethlow3

    sethlow3 Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    Nashville, Tennessee
    Fretless is tough to stay in tune on but it can be done with practice. There is nothing like the bloooming notes on some fretless basses. Most people don't notice a difference unless you slide, use vibato, or have a cool breathy fretless ( turner, pedulla, zon).

    I prefer fretted myself because you can still get semitones with bending and sliding. You will be more precise in sound with proper techinique. Finger noise actually depends on technique more than anything but fretted can have slightly more noise due to the slight noise a fret makes when a note is stopped. Needless to say, in a band setting most people won't hear or even care about finger noise unless you keep getting open string noise which is very annoying to me.

    Plus there is something more solid and purcussive about fretted bass that I love. It actually has a wider array of tones IMHO.

    Oh wait!
    unless you are Michael Manring. He can get thousands of tones out of fretless which most people have never heard before including slap! Plus good ole Jimmy Haslip CAN make a fretted sound fretless. I have seen him do it (ie plam muting and well done vibrato sometimes) and it is very convincing!

    Honestly, its great to learn both, but more of todays music is done on fretted.
  12. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    IIRC, Michael Manring also goes into a bunch off different tunings -- it isn't just the fact he plays fretless that allows him to make all those crazy sounds that he does.
  13. sethlow3

    sethlow3 Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    Nashville, Tennessee
    Yup, but he slaps, taps, harmonic, double stops, pops, finger picks, uses thumb and finger for a pic, and many other things BESIDES using different tunings. I am talkin primarily about the range of timbres he gets without tuning which I have seen in his live work.

    You have to admit, it is very difficult to tap on fretless in tune, but michael does it really well.
  14. armybass

    armybass Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2001
    A good thing about fretless is that fewer people ask to sit in on your gig! :bassist:
  15. Makatak


    Apr 13, 2002
    New Zealand
    Fretless ...well depending on your capability , or lack of , you either make or loose friends........REAL FAST !
  16. Fretless is truly about technique. Its a totally different experience to a fretted instrument. Reaching a standard where you never miss the intonation is an exeptional feat. Let alone double stopping, slapping and tapping.

    I've been playing my Musicman 5 string fretless for about 2 months and am just starting to get some kind of reliabilty out of my intonation technique. Im still not brave enough to gig with it.