#1
Hey guys, so I wanted to get a 5-string bass and at my local music store they have some nice ones I can afford but theres one 5-string there thats fretless. I like the unique sound it has and it feels/looks really sexy, but I was wondering if it would be useful to me or not. I play mostly metal and indie punk and was wondering if it could suit those genres. Also, does slapping and tapping still sound good on feretless basses or does it sound worse/better? Thanks guys!
#3
^ Yeah, but thats Claypool holding a bass that is worth more than most of our souls. Don't expect to sound like that
pinga
#4
Quote by Cb4rabid
^ Yeah, but thats Claypool holding a bass that is worth more than most of our souls. Don't expect to sound like that
Haha, you have a point.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
#5
Spend some more time trying out fretless's and give it some thought, see if that fretless "mwah" is something you want.

And don't worry about genre, you can get away playing anything with a fretless. You are the one who decides how you will sound, and if you think a fretless sounds good for what you're playing, then go for it.
Composite Aficionado


Spector and Markbass
#6
I like the fretless cause of how 'singy' it sounds. I think it'd make my lines sound different and I know it probably takes more work to learn to play but I don't mind a little hard work, lol. My only concern is whether my tapping or slapping would be affected. I don't do much of either, but when I do, I drink dos esq- I mean I want it to sound just as good as if i had a fretted bass. Same with my effects, I use distortion and Wah sometimes.
#7
Quote by Beton_Soldat
I like the fretless cause of how 'singy' it sounds. I think it'd make my lines sound different and I know it probably takes more work to learn to play but I don't mind a little hard work, lol. My only concern is whether my tapping or slapping would be affected. I don't do much of either, but when I do, I drink dos esq- I mean I want it to sound just as good as if i had a fretted bass. Same with my effects, I use distortion and Wah sometimes.


It's not a little hard work, it's a lot, whether it is lined or not. You have to work at it everyday. You need proper technique, intonation and intonation fixing techniques like the vibratos, and ideally you should be really used to the fretted fingerboard in terms of notes and positions so you dont get lost on the fretless. It sure is worth the sacrifice though, I only play fretless and I would never go back.

I'd say the tapping will be the worst off because you'd have to nail the intonation with the first hit without really being able to fix it and you'd have to hit it a bit harder to get the tapping sound since you wont have a metal fret to give you more sound.

Slapping works but meh, most people sound weird slapping on a fretless, your best bet is going to the store and trying it out for both techniques and see if you like how you do it.

On genre, it doesn't really matter but you wont have the bright solid pick attack for punk. Metal I guess you can get by. It's up to you though.
#8
Yeah, I'm not worried about difficulty. If I can't do it, I'll learn to. I was just wonding if it was affected negatively tone wise.
#9
With a little distortion, you could make it work for indie punk. I'm doing that for a blues band I'm in at present. I'm also in a rock cover band, and ironically after a few rehearsals, they like the sound of the fretless best. But try it out a bit before you make that leap of faith.

And yes, it takes some work to get your intonation down. To be honest, mine didn't come together until I took up upright bass.
#10
Alright, thanks guys, I'm going to play it again tomorrow and see if my thoughts on it are the same. Thanks!
#11
Nothing is going to sound the same, but with practice you can get all the same techniques down, and they will still work (just sound a bit different).
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
#12
I went through the same situation as you. Went for a 5 string. Found one without fretts. I play Death Metal and Jazz.

Go ahead and do it, its a great thing to have, just remember its goin to be a lot of work getting it in tune. I suggest looking up an upright bass fingering chart.

And as far as sound goes, Jehron from Obscura, Steve DiGiorgio and Les Claypool all use fretless. You can get a lot of different tones out of them. The only thing I find a bit harder is tapping.
#13
Do you already own a bass? If you want a five-string and are interested in a fretless sound, but are worried about it not suiting your style, you could consider defretting your other bass in addition to getting a fiver.

That's what I did. I had a Fender Jazz Bass and eventually got a G&L L-2500. As the latter can do anything the former can and more, the Jazz became a bit obsolete, but I refitted it with a new bridge, some new pickups, and had the frets taken off so now I have two basses that can do things individually that the other one can't. It's worth giving it a thought.