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To go fretless?


BlueEcho811

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Well here's the deal: I have been playing for roughly 2 years now, and currently play a 6 string bass. I play fingerstyle and slap, no picking. I am mostly into heavily progressive rock / metal, jazz, funk and some experimental stuff. I am debating whether or not to try a fretless bass and I'm wondering what are the advantages and disadvantages of one. How long does it take to get accustomed to it? What is the tone difference? Does it affect playability? etc..

 

 

Thanks for any input. :wave:

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Advantages? It can be more expressive. And a good fretless bass will have a very nice, blooming mid-range warmth that works nicely in certain contexts.

 

Disadvantages? Obviously, you'll need to pay very close attention to your intonation. You'll have to avoid the temptation to slide up or down to every note and/or use excessive amounts of vibrato. Lots of guys pick up fretless basses and turn into instant wankers who can't stop themselves from sliding around all the time :mad:

 

Emre

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I would say that if you manage to play precisely and with good intonation, fretless is actually easier in many ways. It definately sounds and feels a bit different. I started out playing bass on a fretless myself, and it has helped my ear a lot.

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I always liked them for R&R. Though, I can't think of a music style that they don't work with. I've used them for Blue grass, R&B, rock, country, and for a local production of Jesus Christ Superstar.

 

I wouldn't call them better, just different. I built the one in my avatar.

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Nothing to add but you can buy an inexpensive fretless as relatively risk free way to try one. Rondo or IMO, the new Squier Vintage fretless (looks like Jaco's bass)

 

 

the Squier one is definitly a good buy... i gotta get me one of those one of these days...

 

i dont have a fretless, but i dont have much trouble playing one, really... its just really hard to improvise decently if youre not looking at it....

 

but they have a warmer sound that is great for sliding and stuff... really dig the tone if used in the proper situations...

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Something that is very important is: will the band(s) you currently play in be able to play dynamically (i.e.: turn the volume down)? Because if not, it will be a constant struggle for you to hear yourself well, which is crucial for your intonation (also on fretlesses with lined boards).

 

I love my fretless, but it just wasn't feasible in the band I used to play in: two loud guitarists with overdrive, a crazy drummer and everyone had lousy gear.

 

Also: for the same reasons, you can't very well use any kind of earplugs, thus you run more of a risk of damaging your ears if your band(s) are loud.

 

When that is said, go for it, fretless is wonderful. But you gotta get used to using your ears a lot more.

 

Listen to some fretless players and see if you like the sound.

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