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grammy
02-02-2010, 09:25 AM
advantages and disadvantages please?

i already have a fretted bass, love it, i just got a new acoustic bass and i am thinking of converting it to fretless. this is the type of bass, fretless version.

http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=hingstler#p/u/7/TzXVhamQIMc


i have a mate urging me not to do it , he thinks the clicks and clunks are part of what makes bass.

but what do you think?

gobes
02-02-2010, 09:35 AM
The obvious advantage to having frets is that it makes it much, much easier to play in tune.
Fretless has the advantage of not having to worry about fret buzz and maybe being able to hit those slightly sweeter notes depending on what key you're playing in.

Chris Tarman
02-02-2010, 05:26 PM
I bought a fretless a few years ago and love it. I had played for over 25 years before I bought one. I got one with fret lines inlaid in the neck, which helped when I was starting out. I find that I play totally differently on my fretless. It isn't my main bass, but there are certain songs where I want that particular "vocal" quality that a fretless gives. For a while after I first bought it, I used it for everything that didn't require my five string, but now I play it less, just because of the type of band I play with now.

heymelbs
02-02-2010, 05:41 PM
I tried an acoustic fretless bass similar to the one you link to. After a couple of months, I purchased a Warwick Corvette fretless which I tried to use for about 5 months. I grew tired of having to hit those notes spot on all the time and didn't see much need for it playing classic rock songs. Slides are nice on the fretless but they are much more difficult to play IMO. Best thing would be to try one for awhile and see if it's for you.

Here's an interesting option: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1PbnbbIpEw

angelopb
02-06-2010, 10:28 AM
I too have that same warwick. It forces you to listen more than watch but its a gret sound.
For an ABG, I think it would be worth giving it a shot. But finding the right strings will be another matter.
Std ABG strings, phosphor bronze on steel core sound very brittle and kind of defeat the purpose IMHO. The Thomastik Infield Acousticores are bronze over nylon, sound noticeably much better and are low tension.
I would try them or some flat wounds, even the Rotosound Tru Bass (black tape wounds). You will lose some volume, but it will sound great.

grammy
02-10-2010, 08:48 AM
Well, i put it into the shop today for the fretless conversion. can't wait. i am not too worried about the tone issues, cos the neck will be marked so i can see where the frets were that makes it easier to hit, i am really looking forward to that flatwrap sliding feeling. can't wait.

angelopb
02-10-2010, 01:29 PM
You will like it. Get some decent strings, TI acousticores or some decent flatwounds. The notes swell and sing, but you can still play percussive grooves. You want lower tension on an ABG with room to dig in.
The defret job should leave lines.

Russell T
02-10-2010, 03:31 PM
I have a Epiphone Les Paul, I pulled the frets on it (except the first 4 frets for chording), put flat-wound strings on it, and LOVE IT. It's so much fun!

I wouldn't recommend this to just anyone, I thought about it for a while, did some research, bought a super-cheap student model and basically did it so I wouldn't buy a Godin frettless guitar.

grammy
02-12-2010, 06:39 AM
putting D'addario flat wrap xl chromes on it, gonna start with medium gage and see how it feels and sounds, i might switch to a light gage if i can't get the vibrato working well in a few weeks.


i don1t fancy playing fretless guitar at all, but i think bass is kinda meant to be fretless.

happyslappysoong
02-16-2010, 04:28 PM
Your friend has got it wrong. Its not about 'better' or 'pros' and 'cons'. Fretless and fretted are for different applications.
Frtless is great for playing jazz when you want to emulate an Upright sound or just want a more vocal timbre to the bassline.


The obvious advantage to having frets is that it makes it much, much easier to play in tune.


Famous fretless bassist once said that "playing fretless is about the notes in between the notes.."

grammy
03-02-2010, 09:52 AM
finally got it back from the luthier yesterday, he did a really great job, the neck feels fantastic the action is super low and it absolutely sings, i'll review it soon, when i get used to playing it a bit.

grammy
03-17-2010, 05:26 AM
ok, finally got round to putting up a look and listen to it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVILNX-voqY

kollkolen
03-17-2010, 07:42 PM
I have always played fretless and think it has many advantages to a fretted bass. If not advantages than just interesting differences. The sound is obviously smoother, steel on wood is "warmer" than steel on steel. I think one has more control over the tone as well the placement and "grip" of fingers affects the sound dramatically.For intonation, it's all about practice and nothing to be worried about. I wouldn't recommend a lined or unlined, whatever you like best.

TwoLegPete
06-17-2010, 01:25 AM
i think bass is kinda meant to be fretless.

hmmm...

I used to play (classical) double-bass. I never felt comfortable on guitar-style fretless basses, I alwas prefered fretted ones, sound-wise and as far as playability is concerned. The biggest problem with fretless (guitar-style) basses is the long and only minimally tapered neck: it gives you very little information about where your hand is positioned. On a double-bass on the other hand, the heel of the neck is at the 7th or 8th position and the neck has a significant taper. This gives you a lot of tactile information about where you're playing. The fine-adjustment of the pitch is done by ear. I've never seen any double-bass player looking at the fretboard or even having fret-markers. Most fretless bass-players that I've seen, constantly look at their fretboard.

Another problem with fretless bass guitars is the finger/hand-position. With an upright bass your fingers almost naturally find their positions. With a fretless bass-guitar I find I have to actively position my fingers on the right spot. A lot of fretless players seem to struggle with this, too, judging from the way it looks.

To me double basses ought to be fretless (except for some early baroque and renaissance music), bass guitars are meant to be fretted.

Chris Tarman
06-17-2010, 05:14 AM
hmmm...

I used to play (classical) double-bass. I never felt comfortable on guitar-style fretless basses, I alwas prefered fretted ones, sound-wise and as far as playability is concerned. The biggest problem with fretless (guitar-style) basses is the long and only minimally tapered neck: it gives you very little information about where your hand is positioned. On a double-bass on the other hand, the heel of the neck is at the 7th or 8th position and the neck has a significant taper. This gives you a lot of tactile information about where you're playing. The fine-adjustment of the pitch is done by ear. I've never seen any double-bass player looking at the fretboard or even having fret-markers. Most fretless bass-players that I've seen, constantly look at their fretboard.

Another problem with fretless bass guitars is the finger/hand-position. With an upright bass your fingers almost naturally find their positions. With a fretless bass-guitar I find I have to actively position my fingers on the right spot. A lot of fretless players seem to struggle with this, too, judging from the way it looks.

To me double basses ought to be fretless (except for some early baroque and renaissance music), bass guitars are meant to be fretted.

I've played bass guitar for almost 30 years, and got my first fretless about 2 years ago. After a couple of days of getting used to it, I don't think I've had any of the problems you mention. I don't believe I look at my fingerboard very much (not for getting my position straight, at least, although I still have to on ukulele!). I think after 30 years, my fingers naturally find their positions on an electric bass, fretted or fretless. Playing fretless has improved my ear, I believe. I sometimes have to make micro-adjustments to the note (just like a lot of double bass players I know), because, while fairly comfortable with my intonation, I am of course not PERFECT. But overall, I was surprised and pleased at how readily I adapted to fretless. I was afraid the trumpet player/band leader in the jazz band I used to be in would tell me not to use it (he would be very quick to notice pitch problems!), but he really dug it. I do notice that I play really differently on fretless, because of the way the note "blossoms", as opposed to just BEING there.
It helped that I have played a Fender Jazz bass almost exclusively for about 12 years, and my fretless is also a Fender Jazz, so the neck feels VERY familiar. There can be a surprising amount of variation in neck dimensions or feel from brand to brand or even model to model (and sometimes between 2 basses of the same make and model).

TwoLegPete
06-17-2010, 07:58 AM
Chris,

I don't doubt that you or some other bass players excel on the fretless bass. The point I wanted to make was

* even though I come from a non-fretted instrument, I found it difficult to adapt to fretless bass-guitar. I've never had problems with fretted bass-guitars, though
* I've never seen a double bass with fret markers whereas fretless bass-guitars mostly have fret markers. Why? Because many players seem to need them.
* I've seen very few convincing bass players on fretless bass-guitar - most of the times I whished they had chosen double bass or fretted bass instead
* I don't agree with grammy's verdict that basses are "meant to be fretless". Just a thought experiment: imagine the last 50 years of popular music, leaving out all pieces (a) with fretted bass-guitars, or (b) with fretless bass-guitars. I could easily live with option (b), but there wouldn't be much left with option (a). I can only think of very few pieces of music were I would rather have a fretless bass-guitar than a fretted one or a double bass - but of course, that's just me.

I don't think that if someone likes to play fretless bass-guitar, he or she shouldn't.

Chris Tarman
06-17-2010, 09:07 AM
I also certainly don't agree that basses are "meant to be fretless"! Can you imagine??? No Chris Squire! No John Entwistle! No Geddy Lee! No James Jamerson or Paul McCartney! Yikes!

jacothedog
08-22-2010, 03:04 AM
I've been playing fretless for over 10 years and really don't like playing fretted basses anymore. The last band I played in was a heavy rock band and I got plenty of punch out of my bass / amp combination for that gig, so in my opinion, fretless basses can be used for any application.

mydlands
01-26-2011, 07:53 AM
I've been playing bass for 6 years, and once I made the committment to play, I wanted to play fretless. (I lay that blame solidly on Tony Franklin's shoulders.) While I've had a fretless instrument for 3 years, I've only been playing it to near exclusivity since the end of July. I had a private lesson with a world-class teacher who happens to live in my area of the swamp.

I notice that on the odd times that I do play a fretted bass now, it's a whole lot easier for me to play. Certainly easier than it was before I made fretless my full time goal. You'd think it would be easier when I was doing it all the time, but no...

I like it because my musical background is in voice and percussion. Fretless concepts appeal to me as a singer. The only thing is that I don't particularly care for a lot of fretless music I hear. It seems so prevalent in jazz, and I am not a fan of it, particularly the kind of "jazz" that is used just to make noise in bookstores and department stores. I hear it played a lot on that piped in music, and it makes it seem bland and uninteresting.