whats the difference in sound between fretless and not

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by OxhadokenxO, Jul 5, 2002.

  1. Yeah I'm new to playing the bass world as you can tell from my question and previous posts....whats the difference in sound and playability?
  2. Well you dont get the clear, sharp not you get on a fretted bass, you get what is called mwah. Listen to the beginning of "Hey You by Pink Floy and you'll understand. The mwah is from the strings vibrating against the board. As far as playability, i think fretless is easier because you can get much lower action (action the the string height from the board).
  3. Turock

    Turock Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2000
  4. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    Beg borrow or don't steal a copy of Graceland by Paul Simon. Most of the bass tracks are done by a great fretless bassist with an unpronouncable name.
  5. Getting the notes properly intonated on a fretless is much harder than on a fretted, but not overly so. On the other hand, some times note-to-note transitions become more fluid on a fretless... giving a song more feeling.
  6. Well I have only played one fretless bass (and that was for about 20-30 minutes and I was amazed how different it sounded. Try one and you will hear/feel the difference. I thought it was cool but probably nothing for me to play.
  7. xush


    Jul 4, 2001
    mobile AL
    aww, it's not that hard. :) Bakithi Kumalo: Bah-gee-tee Koomah-low.

    A definite milestone. What a tone! What a player.

    The mwah sound of a fretless is generally a blooming attack that is a little bit slower than with frets, it builds to a vocal-like timbre.

    Though I'm no Bakithi, I've got a sample of a fretless on my demo pages. If you can get past the singing (not me...), both bass tracks are fretless:

    fretless mp3
  8. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    Tone has been reasonably well-described above; as regards expressiveness, I love fretless for being able to glide smoothly, and play slow, lush vibratos as wide as I want. There are so many things you can do with fretless that are nearly impossible (at least much harder) on fretted.

    It's true you have to learn to play in tune, but if you can sing in tune then you'll get it under control with a week or two of practicing.

    I take a fretted and a fretless to every gig, and there are plenty of songs I think sound and feel better on frets, but I can't imagine ever being without my fretless again. I just love the freedom.