Re: dumb question about fretless

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Posted by splatbass on January 16, 2002 at 17:17:30:

In Reply to: dumb question about fretless posted by derek on January 16, 2002 at 12:43:07:

: hey I got an incredibly stupid question...

: can someone tell me the "purpose" of the fretless electric bass?

: is it just to "sound" like an upright bass?

: thanks from a beginner!
: derek

Fretless has its own unique sound, not like an electric or an upright, although you can get it to sound somewhat like an upright with the right EQ and technique. It has a woody "growl" to it that many people like, an almost singing quality. Plus, you can slide up and down smoothly between notes, unlike fretted which jumps directly from one note to the next when you slide. You can get a true vibrato (the note going both above and below the pitch) unlike fretted where you can only go above the pitch. It takes more concentration and discipline to play, becuase you have to finger very precisely where the fret would be or it will not be in tune.

To listen to some good examples of fretless try Jaco Pastorius, Tony Franklin (anything by The Firm), or Timothy B. Schmidt on "New York Minute" on the Eagles "Hell Freezes Over" live album. Or the original Don Henley version of that song with Pino Palladino on fretless.

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