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> Bass Playing, Fretless or fretted?
Becca
post Apr 29 2014, 08:28 PM
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Hi People.
Wasn't sure about this on a guitar forum but there must be bass players on here or at least Guitarists who can double up on bass as and when necessary. I am over the latter persuasion. My main thang is the guitar but I do love playing bass too and have ended up with a standard fret Kramer and a fretless Jaco type Jazz Bass.
I had the Jazz bass first and was asked to join a rock band that was having trouble keeping bass players. I already knew these guys but when I turned up at the studio the singer and keyboard player were horrified that I had a fretless! Nevertheless I sat in on two or three numbers they were working on which seemed to go fine but the next session the keyboard player had borrowed a Rickenbacker copy that was awful and insisted I use that. Oh it was dreadful. The action so high that my forearm ached but any lowering of tha action resulted in awful buzzing.
After a while I compromised and used some fretted and some fretless. all seemed well until drummer innocently said how great the fretless lines were working on the numbers that i used it on.
Oh dear! I thought keyboard player was going to have a stroke. He was furious that I was using the fretless against his orders.
It was getting rather heated especially as guitar player agreed with drummer and rather than see a Tap type meltdown I made an excuse the next day that I was too busy to continue with them.
I was playing around on the Jazz bass earlier and I remembered all this and wondered how the bass stands in general use now?
I mean there are amazing bass players like Bootsy, Larry Graham, Geddy Lee etc.
But fretless players like Jaco, Mick Karn and Marcus Miller all have played on a huge variety of styles. It's not just for the jazz heads.
Is it?
If you play bass what type do you favour?
Or do you think Fretless and Rock music= Hell NO!
I would love to hear how you guys and gals think about this. The above anecdote happened in the early nineties and, no, I am not telling you who they were but they did have some success in UK at least. It would be interesting to hear your opinions and thoughts on this topic.
see you later.
Peace people
Becca x


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Spock
post Apr 30 2014, 09:14 AM
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I would love to have a fretless bass. I think my favorite basses are Fender Precision and Jazz, and also Warwiks, but I think a fretless bass would be just fine on heavy rock, and I love the way they look. Of course someone that is funk driven or does a lot of slapping, may disagree with a fretless, I think they're beautiful instruments.

All that said, I've never played one.

I posted a picture of this one in another thread - who would't want this thing?...


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Gabriel Leopardi
post Apr 30 2014, 07:24 PM
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I really like fretless basses, I like how they sound and look but I've never tried one. At the same time, I would never relate a fretless bass with rock / metal music. I would relate it to jazz and maybe some pop. I would really like to know the opinion of bassists about this because now I'm curious.


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Becca
post May 1 2014, 03:20 PM
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QUOTE (Spock @ Apr 30 2014, 08:14 AM) *
I would love to have a fretless bass. I think my favorite basses are Fender Precision and Jazz, and also Warwiks, but I think a fretless bass would be just fine on heavy rock, and I love the way they look. Of course someone that is funk driven or does a lot of slapping, may disagree with a fretless, I think they're beautiful instruments.

All that said, I've never played one.

I posted a picture of this one in another thread - who would't want this thing?...



Wowsers. I WANT ONE!!!! That looks fantastic. I have found Fretless to be extremely versatile. Not on every track I suppose, but used judiciously it can really add atmosphere . I often play slap style on my fretless. Just a personal thing but I find stuff like Fishbone's bonin' in the boneyard a LOT easier to play on the Jazz than on the Kramer. Thank you for replying, Spock. I hope you get a fretless soon smile.gif


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Gabriel Leopardi
post May 1 2014, 03:23 PM
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Not exactly on topic, but this is Bumblefoot explaining why he decided to use his fretless guitar which is used even in some songs with Guns and Roses.



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Becca
post May 1 2014, 03:45 PM
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QUOTE (Gabriel Leopardi @ Apr 30 2014, 06:24 PM) *
I really like fretless basses, I like how they sound and look but I've never tried one. At the same time, I would never relate a fretless bass with rock / metal music. I would relate it to jazz and maybe some pop. I would really like to know the opinion of bassists about this because now I'm curious.

Hi Gabriel. you really should try one out. I bet you will get hooked. There is something about the feel of fretless that gets under ones skin.
I have tried to embed a YouTube video of Primus with the incredible Les Claypool really going for that bass. Warning . This track was once responsible for my thumb bursting after I persisted in trying to nail that percussive rythm he gets. My fault for persevering long after I should have stopped playing, as my thumb was swelling by the minute.
Oh the things we suffer for our art. biggrin.gif
I too am curious about how out and out bass players feel about this. I hope they all respond with their opinions



QUOTE (Gabriel Leopardi @ May 1 2014, 02:23 PM) *
Not exactly on topic, but this is Bumblefoot explaining why he decided to use his fretless guitar which is used even in some songs with Guns and Roses.


Now that is interesting. It is something I never cosidered trying but, man it looks like hard work. Similar to playing with a slide, I guess , where you play visibly sharp?
Our responses must have crossed as I included a Primus video in mine. Purely coincidence my friend. Not a tit for tat sort of thing. Have you ever tried a fretless guitar? I never even seen one. I must lead a sheltered life these days.


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Gabriel Leopardi
post May 1 2014, 03:59 PM
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QUOTE (Becca @ May 1 2014, 11:45 AM) *
Hi Gabriel. you really should try one out. I bet you will get hooked. There is something about the feel of fretless that gets under ones skin.
I have tried to embed a YouTube video of Primus with the incredible Les Claypool really going for that bass. Warning . This track was once responsible for my thumb bursting after I persisted in trying to nail that percussive rythm he gets. My fault for persevering long after I should have stopped playing, as my thumb was swelling by the minute.
Oh the things we suffer for our art. biggrin.gif
I too am curious about how out and out bass players feel about this. I hope they all respond with their opinions




Now that is interesting. It is something I never cosidered trying but, man it looks like hard work. Similar to playing with a slide, I guess , where you play visibly sharp?
Our responses must have crossed as I included a Primus video in mine. Purely coincidence my friend. Not a tit for tat sort of thing. Have you ever tried a fretless guitar? I never even seen one. I must lead a sheltered life these days.



I've never enjoyed Primus music, don't know why. It's not my thing. But playing that song on bass can be really tricky and also very entertained.

And yes, fretless guitars is like playing a violin, you have to be very precise and had a very trained ear to be able to play always on pitch. Check this video by the master Guthrie.




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Bogdan Radovic
post May 1 2014, 09:56 PM
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Bass player here! smile.gif

I would agree that most of us relate fretless bass to jazz music (this is coming from funk/rock player) - at least those kind of lines come to my mind that I would play if I would be holding a fretless bass in my hands. You know - the smooth slides and all the tricks you can't do with a fretted bass? Another presumption would be that lots of bass/mid frequencies warn jazzy tone you'd get from a fretless.

Unfortunately, I never actually had a chance to play one myself and really get into it although I think every bass player wants to. In my mind - I would either get an acoustic bass which is fretless as two seem like an interesting combination to me OR I would completely skip going for fretless and get the "real" thing - upright bass! Now when it comes to upright bass (which I also never had a chance to try out in the store - very limited opportunities), I would love to have one! I know exactly what I would be interested in playing on it : jazz walking bass, rockabilly and country tunes + 50s evergreen classics smile.gif

I think fretless is marginally used by the bass community as we all tend to first get a great 4 string, great 5 or 6 string, acoustic bass and then maybe go for exotic stuff - fretless bass smile.gif This of course depends on the style of interest, but I don't know any of my bass playing friends who started on the fretless bass.

Now, I suppose the same thing is with the fretless guitar community?
Did anyone have one and what do you play on it (this is probably the key question)?

I'd like to spice up the thread with some cool fretless playing :



...and upright bass :



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SeeJay
post May 5 2014, 06:46 PM
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Bumblefoot. . . . sad.gif sad.gif sad.gif

axl what have you done to GnR?

QUOTE (Gabriel Leopardi @ May 1 2014, 02:23 PM) *
Not exactly on topic, but this is Bumblefoot explaining why he decided to use his fretless guitar which is used even in some songs with Guns and Roses.




I think their are instruments made to work with certain styles of playing. Jazz dudes like big hollowbodies with flatwounds, country dudes like the honk of a tele.

But you can still play jazz on a tele. You can probably get some decent country on a big hollowbody.

I've seen rock on a fretless.

You might just have to play it with a different intentionality, different attitude for that kind of thing. I think that is more key.

I say GO FOR IT!


QUOTE (Becca @ Apr 29 2014, 07:28 PM) *
Hi People.
Wasn't sure about this on a guitar forum but there must be bass players on here or at least Guitarists who can double up on bass as and when necessary. I am over the latter persuasion. My main thang is the guitar but I do love playing bass too and have ended up with a standard fret Kramer and a fretless Jaco type Jazz Bass.
I had the Jazz bass first and was asked to join a rock band that was having trouble keeping bass players. I already knew these guys but when I turned up at the studio the singer and keyboard player were horrified that I had a fretless! Nevertheless I sat in on two or three numbers they were working on which seemed to go fine but the next session the keyboard player had borrowed a Rickenbacker copy that was awful and insisted I use that. Oh it was dreadful. The action so high that my forearm ached but any lowering of tha action resulted in awful buzzing.
After a while I compromised and used some fretted and some fretless. all seemed well until drummer innocently said how great the fretless lines were working on the numbers that i used it on.
Oh dear! I thought keyboard player was going to have a stroke. He was furious that I was using the fretless against his orders.
It was getting rather heated especially as guitar player agreed with drummer and rather than see a Tap type meltdown I made an excuse the next day that I was too busy to continue with them.
I was playing around on the Jazz bass earlier and I remembered all this and wondered how the bass stands in general use now?
I mean there are amazing bass players like Bootsy, Larry Graham, Geddy Lee etc.
But fretless players like Jaco, Mick Karn and Marcus Miller all have played on a huge variety of styles. It's not just for the jazz heads.
Is it?
If you play bass what type do you favour?
Or do you think Fretless and Rock music= Hell NO!
I would love to hear how you guys and gals think about this. The above anecdote happened in the early nineties and, no, I am not telling you who they were but they did have some success in UK at least. It would be interesting to hear your opinions and thoughts on this topic.
see you later.
Peace people
Becca x



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Marius Pop
post May 5 2014, 07:10 PM
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QUOTE (Becca @ Apr 29 2014, 10:28 PM) *
Hi People.
Wasn't sure about this on a guitar forum but there must be bass players on here or at least Guitarists who can double up on bass as and when necessary. I am over the latter persuasion. My main thang is the guitar but I do love playing bass too and have ended up with a standard fret Kramer and a fretless Jaco type Jazz Bass.
I had the Jazz bass first and was asked to join a rock band that was having trouble keeping bass players. I already knew these guys but when I turned up at the studio the singer and keyboard player were horrified that I had a fretless! Nevertheless I sat in on two or three numbers they were working on which seemed to go fine but the next session the keyboard player had borrowed a Rickenbacker copy that was awful and insisted I use that. Oh it was dreadful. The action so high that my forearm ached but any lowering of tha action resulted in awful buzzing.
After a while I compromised and used some fretted and some fretless. all seemed well until drummer innocently said how great the fretless lines were working on the numbers that i used it on.
Oh dear! I thought keyboard player was going to have a stroke. He was furious that I was using the fretless against his orders.
It was getting rather heated especially as guitar player agreed with drummer and rather than see a Tap type meltdown I made an excuse the next day that I was too busy to continue with them.
I was playing around on the Jazz bass earlier and I remembered all this and wondered how the bass stands in general use now?
I mean there are amazing bass players like Bootsy, Larry Graham, Geddy Lee etc.
But fretless players like Jaco, Mick Karn and Marcus Miller all have played on a huge variety of styles. It's not just for the jazz heads.
Is it?
If you play bass what type do you favour?
Or do you think Fretless and Rock music= Hell NO!
I would love to hear how you guys and gals think about this. The above anecdote happened in the early nineties and, no, I am not telling you who they were but they did have some success in UK at least. It would be interesting to hear your opinions and thoughts on this topic.
see you later.
Peace people
Becca x


if you are not playing slap, i don't think is very important if the bass has fretts or not.i think is all about building a good tone.So, in my oppinion Fretless and Rock music can be HELL YESSSS.Take a look here :




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SeeJay
post May 5 2014, 07:45 PM
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Oh and purely for reference (not sure if anyone would be a fan or not), Jeff Ament from Pearl Jam plays a fretless on occasion.
They've done pretty well for themselves in the rock world



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SirJamsalot
post May 6 2014, 12:12 AM
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One would hope the only thing that matters is how it sounds for the songs you're playing. If it sounds good, what does it matter, right?
Are they hearing a sound coming out of your bass that is not the tone they want? Are you hitting the notes spot on? Perhaps they're hearing you a few cents off key (hard to hear in a bass, but some can hear it). Perhaps it's image?

I would get the reason "why" from the band-mate who is complaining. If it's tone, it's your obligation to meet that tone expectation.

All I can think of, really.


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waynedcoville
post May 6 2014, 12:50 AM
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I prefer frets on a bass. I don't really like the mwah sound. I do own a fretless but I use it more for effect that anything. Don't get me wrong - the fretless is very musical and very expressive. But its needs phenomenal precision, especially in a band setting. That said there are some phenomenally precise fretless players out there...



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Becca
post May 6 2014, 01:34 PM
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QUOTE (Bogdan Radovic @ May 1 2014, 08:56 PM) *
Bass player here! smile.gif

I would agree that most of us relate fretless bass to jazz music (this is coming from funk/rock player) - at least those kind of lines come to my mind that I would play if I would be holding a fretless bass in my hands. You know - the smooth slides and all the tricks you can't do with a fretted bass? Another presumption would be that lots of bass/mid frequencies warn jazzy tone you'd get from a fretless.

Unfortunately, I never actually had a chance to play one myself and really get into it although I think every bass player wants to. In my mind - I would either get an acoustic bass which is fretless as two seem like an interesting combination to me OR I would completely skip going for fretless and get the "real" thing - upright bass! Now when it comes to upright bass (which I also never had a chance to try out in the store - very limited opportunities), I would love to have one! I know exactly what I would be interested in playing on it : jazz walking bass, rockabilly and country tunes + 50s evergreen classics smile.gif

I think fretless is marginally used by the bass community as we all tend to first get a great 4 string, great 5 or 6 string, acoustic bass and then maybe go for exotic stuff - fretless bass smile.gif This of course depends on the style of interest, but I don't know any of my bass playing friends who started on the fretless bass.

Now, I suppose the same thing is with the fretless guitar community?
Did anyone have one and what do you play on it (this is probably the key question)?

I'd like to spice up the thread with some cool fretless playing :



...and upright bass :


Thanks Bogdan. Very cool Bass playing on both those videos. Real skill and "feel". My bass playing cousin sold his Musicman bass to get the identical fretless version. Now he claims he will never go back to fretted bass! I don't think I will ever go THAT far in my love of fretless but it does show there is differing opinions in this field. He did try an upright bass (I never played one either) but says it felt totally alien to him. Like a whole new instrument. I am rather intrigued by the fretless guitars out there. I shall have to look out for a cheap one to try out.


QUOTE (Marius Pop @ May 5 2014, 06:10 PM) *
if you are not playing slap, i don't think is very important if the bass has fretts or not.i think is all about building a good tone.So, in my oppinion Fretless and Rock music can be HELL YESSSS.Take a look here :



Hi Marius, yes tone is half the battle for sure. Thanx for posting ARK. They are a new band to me and I like what I heard. Having clocked the fretless sound in that track I think its difficult to conceive it with a fretted bass on there instead. Great call. I am going to look for some more of their stuff to listen to.

QUOTE (SeeJay @ May 5 2014, 06:45 PM) *
Oh and purely for reference (not sure if anyone would be a fan or not), Jeff Ament from Pearl Jam plays a fretless on occasion.
They've done pretty well for themselves in the rock world


Hey SeeJay. yeah PearlJam have had a bit of success over the years havent they smile.gif
Good point well made.
Congratulations on impending fatherhood. Hope all is well and you keep us up to date with your new arrival.


QUOTE (SirJamsalot @ May 5 2014, 11:12 PM) *
One would hope the only thing that matters is how it sounds for the songs you're playing. If it sounds good, what does it matter, right?
Are they hearing a sound coming out of your bass that is not the tone they want? Are you hitting the notes spot on? Perhaps they're hearing you a few cents off key (hard to hear in a bass, but some can hear it). Perhaps it's image?

I would get the reason "why" from the band-mate who is complaining. If it's tone, it's your obligation to meet that tone expectation.

All I can think of, really.

Agreed. If it sounds good, why worry? Their objection at the time was fretless bass was for new Romantic bands and Rock used only fretted. Ideological reasons rather than aesthetic.
It was all a long time ago now but I was curious how it would be perceived today.
Thanks for replying smile.gif


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SeeJay
post May 6 2014, 02:43 PM
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QUOTE (Becca @ May 6 2014, 12:34 PM) *
Hey SeeJay. yeah PearlJam have had a bit of success over the years havent they smile.gif
Good point well made.
Congratulations on impending fatherhood. Hope all is well and you keep us up to date with your new arrival.



Well thank you very much for that. Very nice. We're due at the end of the month. Can't wait for my little guitar playing girl to be born.


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