#1
Just a quick oppinion question, I'm thinking of using my economic stimulus check to buy a Fretless MIM J Bass, and it, of course, has fret markings in the fretboard. If I were to buy the bass, would other bass players consider it "cheating"? Is part of the fretless deal to show you know your way around a bass well enough to hardly need fret indicators? Just wondering if this sort of thing is looked down upon.
Quote by StoopidRudeboy
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Hmm...

closest thing I ever got to a compliment
#3
it's not cheating that much because if you get an unlined fretless the edge dots on the fingerboard are moved to where the fret lines would be so there's not much difference.

although in princilple alone it is cheating but no one will think any less of you for it. the almighty jaco used a lined fretless
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#4
i guess i didnt have a choice cause when i defretted mine i only had white filler on a rosewood fretboard

but its not cheating its like a guidline
i cant do it with out them

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#6
Even with fret lines you'll still have to rely on your ear to get the notes perfect.
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#7
There will be people who look down on it, but it's not really a band thing. The point of a fretless bass is to get a different, unique sound, and also to have slightly different playing dynamics. All of the sound and playing dynamic factors of a fretless bass that set it apart from fretted basses still exist if there are lines on it, so it wont affect the sound and way it plays.

The only difference is that the lines make the bass easier to play, so TECHNICALLY lines are better because they allow for better accuracy, while not compromising tone or capability of the instrument. But, not having lines does encourage you to have better knowledge of fret location, which is good discipline, so in that sense a lack of lines is better.

I reckon that on paper both are just as good, because they only have slightly different pros/cons, but I would go for one without lines to avoid getting flak, which is a scale-tilting factor as far as I'm concerned. Plus I believe in the discipline aspect more than the ease aspect, but that's just a personal thing.
#8
Oh yes, because "real" men use an unlined fretless

No seriously (and I was in jest above, believe me), aixelsydevahi is right, even with lined fretless intonation is going to be difficult. Frankly, I just liked the way my unlined looked and I would be lost with out the dot markers on the side. For me, it all comes down to aesthetics in the end and not the players ability as a bass player.
#9
I never understood the whole "skill = good music" thing.

People talk about how bad ass and technical passages are.. but that means nothing to me. It's all about the sound. If you want fret markings, use them. Music should be about the sound you produce, not the methods you use to produce them. I could give half a **** if Lynard Skynard played Free Bird by pressing one key on a keyboard over and over. It's the sound that matters, and that's it.

If you passed on a bass purely because you thought other players would look down on you for using fret markings.. Well, that's the only time I'd look down on you as a musician.
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#10
Quote by Haanz
I never understood the whole "skill = good music" thing.

People talk about how bad ass and technical passages are.. but that means nothing to me. It's all about the sound. If you want fret markings, use them. Music should be about the sound you produce, not the methods you use to produce them. I could give half a **** if Lynard Skynard played Free Bird by pressing one key on a keyboard over and over. It's the sound that matters, and that's it.

If you passed on a bass purely because you thought other players would look down on you for using fret markings.. Well, that's the only time I'd look down on you as a musician.


Come on, some things make you look like an ametuer, and nobody wants to be seen that way in front of your peers. Obviously fret markings don't make that happen. It, by the way, isn't a question of need vs. looks/skill here, I would just find a bass that didn't have the markings if it made me look like an inexperienced douche. But now I don't, thanks to those who gave me a straight answer as opposed to questioning my musicianship and attitude towards playing bass!
Quote by StoopidRudeboy
Ohhhhh, you still ruined it for me now...... never mind. Your cool ill let it go.


Hmm...

closest thing I ever got to a compliment
#11
No, it's not cheating. Jaco played a lined fretless, I doubt anyone cares if your bass has lines or not.
#12
Quote by anarkee
Oh yes, because "real" men use an unlined fretless


Yup, we do. It's called Double Bass, or Contrabass

Now, TS, is there something you're really worried about?

This thread cries out, "Help! I don't think I'm a man!"

Nah, just kidding. If they help you, use them. You aren't copping out, they're a guidline.
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#13
I mean, the inlays and dot markers on your standard guitar or bass are kind of the same thing. I've never called somebody an amateur because they use dot markers, why should lined fretless be any different. It's still harder than playing a fretted.

Although I agree with anarkee... unlined fretless does look far sexier...
Les Claypool
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Flea

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...Coincidence? I think not.
#14
It's definitely not cheating.

I, personally, use a fretless without the markings, and do OK. But there's nothing wrong with using them. I mean, most basses have them, right? So why not a fretless?

To call it "cheating" just seems sort of stupid. Now, if you were getting someone to play for you...that might be cheating.
The.
#15
dont subscribe to the elitist culture that exists amongst a few players these days?
Get off this damn forum and play your damn guitar.
#16
Quote by stevo_epi_SG_wo
dont subscribe to the elitist culture that exists amongst a few players throughout history?

Fixed.

And BINGO.
Les Claypool
Geddy Lee
Robert DeLeo
Flea

Weileder

...Coincidence? I think not.
#17
Quote by IHATECHILDREN

To call it "cheating" just seems sort of stupid. Now, if you were getting someone to play for you...that might be cheating.


How vicious of you!
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#18
A smooth fingerboard, especially ebony, looks cooler so the guy/gall playing it automatically looks cooler too. Being cool is 50% of rock & roll music, or of all music for that matter. For some musicians it's 99%. The sad paradox here is that the more a musician is driven by the need to be cool, the more his intonation depents on position markers. On the other hand: some guys are so cool that they don't need to play in tune at all. As long as they play fast they're OK.

Being a rather mediocre musician myself, I'm all on the hand of Haanz. Whenever cheating can offset your lack of skill, go for it.
#19
my Fretless had no marker frets or dots on the top of the neck so I marked it with a pencil where the 5th fret and the 12th fret would be to help me with my intonation and i found my two marks helped me a lot and i never in any way thought i was cheating as it helps with me play in tune quickly and not with my actual playing ability.
i also find that playing the fretless and then going back to my freted bass had helped with my fingering on the freted and i sound cleaner on the fretted now and i put that down to playing on the fretless.
cheers
bill
#20
Quote by Nutter_101
Yup, we do. It's called Double Bass, or Contrabass



ERROR!

We all know real men play the Octobass.

Yeah, now you're gonna die wearing that stupid little hat. How does it feel?

Help me to live.


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#21
Quote by flyingmarlin
ERROR!

We all know real men play the Octobass.



Well, I didn't want to scare you all...

But I can play that thing on my own.

Yeah. Damn right.
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#22
Quote by flyingmarlin
ERROR!

We all know real men play the Octobass.




if i'm seeing what i think i'm seeing then that bass has fret markers and is therefore cheating
Quote by bassmanjoe08
Dan

Don't stop being you <3


Quote by fatgoogle
I think after this relentless adding for the last 10 mins, that Dan is the coolest looking. Goddamn welsh people and my great etc etc etc etc etc granddad is welsh.
#23
Quote by skater dan0
if i'm seeing what i think i'm seeing then that bass has fret markers and is therefore cheating


Nah, they're little hammers which are operated by some levers.

Of course, mine doesn't have them, as I just play it by hand.
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#25
Quick, somewhat related, question: If you were to line to play fretless on a lined, get your intonation perfect, improve your ear etc: Would you find it noticably difficult to switch to an unlined fretless?
#26
I'd get an unlined just because I like the way it looks. I'd still look at the inlays and the dots on the neck though, so it's not really much different. Some people that watch you might be more concerned about your "cheating" lines than your music, but what does that say about them?
Got Bass?
#27
Yeah, you'll get a few elitists cackle at it, but in my opinion, the end result is all the same. If you're good, you'll know where the notes are, lines or not. If you don't stare at the neck, it doesn't matter what's on it. My first fretless was unlined and I didn't find it THAT difficult. You still need to fret properly, and lines can only help with that so much.

However, from what I understand, current fretless basses (even the Jaco sig with face dots as well, as well as the Squier) has the dots on the same place as the lines (as opposed to in between). That may not sound like a big deal but initally it's as confusing as hell.

EDIT:
Quote by skater dan0
if i'm seeing what i think i'm seeing then that bass has fret markers and is therefore cheating

It actually has frets, and levers to pull down the strings. If that ain't cheating, dunno what is.
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#28
Rule of thumb: If it makes a good sound, it's good.

Personally, I would want unlined, soley because of aesthetics. Yup, I know sound is more important, but if I had the skill to get the same sound out of both, I'd want an unlined because the black with the strings running down it... daym, that looks badass.
#29
Mine has lines couse it used to have frets. But for some technical necessity I've made the bridge piece unadjustable, so most of the lines don't match the notes at all. Then there is the problem that the further up the neck, the bigger the effect is of putting your finger just a tiny bit off the right spot, up to the point that you can clearly hear that you're off but not see it. In addition to this I can't see the markers very well, unless it's broad daylight. On stage they're utterly invisible most of the time. And finally there are the band members I must keep an eye on to figure out on which count they decide to switch to the bridge this time.

All this makes that you are going to play by ear, markers or no markers, not because you have to, but because it is the most convenient way by far. Switching to an unmarked instrument will hardly be a problem then.
Being an avid (but rather inadequate) fiddleplayer myself, I can tell you that one gets used to playing by ear surprisingly quick.
#30
Fretless is purely a tonal option, it is not for bragging rights. If you get crap for it, remember how important tone is.
Get a good teacher, he should get it drilled into you, tone is more important than anything when it comes to producing music, you don't want your band hiring someone to play bass instead of you do ya?
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#31
I see no problem with a lined fretless. I see more lined fretless basses being used that unlined, largely by reason of them either being defretted (Jaco being the poster child of this) or they simply got what they got, whether because it was given to them (Geddy Lee) or they just needed the extra help (insert name here). In my case its because I liked the Fender Fretless, it was affordable, and quite frankly, an unlined Fender would look damn peculiar.

Quote by thefitz
However, from what I understand, current fretless basses (even the Jaco sig with face dots as well, as well as the Squier) has the dots on the same place as the lines (as opposed to in between). That may not sound like a big deal but initally it's as confusing as hell.

Erm, yeah, try again. The Jaco sigs are lined with the dots in their normal positions
Jaco Relic
Jaco Sig
It also states in the specifications on both that the side position markers are likewise positioned between the fretlines
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Last edited by Fett13 at May 13, 2008,