heres the situation.

in my band, me and another guy usually swap around bass/guitar duties as complexity dictates (the bass belongs to me).

it seems to be working ok at the moment, but bassist #2 really isnt very good, which i have no problem with (nobody starts out at the top right?).
my problem comes in that, he wants to get a new bass, BUT seems dead set on getting a fretless bass.

like, totally dead set. we've been trying to subtly say "you arent good enough to get a fretless", but he just refuses to listen to us giving that "oooh, what are you worrying about, i'll be fine" look every time we say he would be wasting money (not to mention ****ing up our sound with his lack of intonation).

i guess with time, he might improve, but hes one of those guys who only ever seems to hear what we play, and never actually listens. as far as he is concerned, he played one in a guitar store for 15 minutes, and by his own admission he "played better on a fretless"

hes waay too stubborn to let us convince him not to get the fretless, but like i said, i dont want him wasting money or making our tracks sound sloppy, so what should we do?

do we keep on at him subtly til he caves? do we just straight up tell him hes nowhere near good enough (which will probably destroy him, as he already feels like he's on a lower level to the rest of the band) or do we let him waste his money and find out for himself what a bad idea it is?

opinions? thought? discuss.

--------------------i'm definitely the alphaest male here--------------------
Try saying that your band's sound overall would be better with a fretted bass, and does not call for the fretless' tone.

Failing that, you could just explain how difficult it is to play a fretless.

There's an interview on www.bassplayer.tv with Geddy Lee, where he says that he cannot play in tune on a fretless, and he only gets away with it because he's playing so fast nobody will notice.
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I knew what video that was before even clicking it. I would kill for one of those necks.

To the OP: As long as you can keep going as the main bassist for the band, you could probably let him get the fretless. But if you really don't want it to come to that, sit him down and explain to him that the band doesn't call for the fretless sound.

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I think the problem is not fretless versus fretted. It's a common misconception that playing fretless is more difficult. Of course there are mistakes you can make on a fretless that are impossible on a fretted, but the same goes the other way round.
No, I am afraid the problems will not be less when you convince him to go for a fretted. What you get then will only be rattling strings instead of false notes. Instead you must somehow get him into seriously working on improving himself. If his level of playing is not on par with the rest of the band he should be offered the choice of either getting better quick or leave. Letting him have a less conspiculous instrument is not the solution. If he takes up the challenge, he stands a far better chance of succeeding if he can play the instrument that encourages him to really get to work. If that is a fretless, let it be a fretless
You could get him to buy a fretless, but with fret lines on it. That would probably help him some with intonation.
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You could get him to buy a fretless, but with fret lines on it. That would probably help him some with intonation.

Yeah, he prolly wouldn't do that terrible if that was the case.
I'm a big pusher of the classical guitarist's left-hand technique; thumb on the back of the neck, one finger per fret at all times. Being a crappy bass player doesn't mean he can't play in-tune. If you want to point out his crapiness, subtley in a store play the same thing he's playing, or try a duet. When he hears he's out of tune, he might cave in.

However, about Geddy and speed covering up intonation flaws; yes, it's true. However, as flamey as this might sound, Geddy Lee is not a guy you want to base your technique off of. He's a solid player, but both his left and right hand techniques are extremely unusual and are the exact opposite of how you should play fretless. In my opinion, you need a rather traditional technique. Steve Bailey and Jaco are great examples of this.
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cheers for the advice guys.

i think im just gonna have to find a cheaper fretted bass, and shill it to him until he caves.

like i said, he hears what we play, but doesnt always listen. i dont think he would even notice if he was slightly flat or sharp.

we may just have to get a little less subtle and say "you arent good enough for a fretless.".
tough love kinda thing.

--------------------i'm definitely the alphaest male here--------------------