Is an unlined Fretless difficult when mainly sticking to the lower register?

What's Hot
I ask because I've had a few fours over the years and have come across a relatively good deal on an upgraded Yamaha BB5 with a replacement ebony fretless board and I'm really tempted. I understand the 'main' issue with fretless is intonation, especially when you get into the higher registers and especially when there are no fretlines. As this instrument will primarily be me-sodding-around-at-home and me-recording-low-register-basslines-for-my-tracks I don't see these as a big problem, but it's entirely possible I'm just being an idiot and infact it's still a problem.

As an aside, if anyone could advise if this Yamaha BBG5 (RBX375 pickups, ebony fretboard) or a Squier Deluxe Fretless 5 is a better shot then I would appreciate it.

Thanks,
0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
«1

Comments

  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 17962
    How good is your ear?
    I am the juice of four limes.
    Trading Feedback
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • fretmeisterfretmeister Frets: 9142
    edited December 2016
    Lined and  unlined have their own issues.

    Unlined is a bit more tricky to start, but lined actually needs playing off the line a little. Some lined players intonate on the 7th fret rather than 12th. The higher you go, the more off line you need to be.

    Ive got unlined and I have side dots at 3,5,7,9 etc.

    But I've added another at the 1st fret as if I get something wrong it's that F!


    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • proggyproggy Frets: 1823
    I don't find it that difficult, you can hear if you're slightly out, then it's just a matter of rolling your finger a bit to the left or right. You'll soon get used to it. 

    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • I know my ear when it comes to being out of tune - I don't have perfect pitch, but certainly can tell when I'm out of tune. Unlined sounds very fun, but I'm a little worried that I'm going to be letting myself in for alot of pain - as a second instrument however, it's more of a vanity than a demand, especially when I can just sit in the first position and pump roots on my rock tracks :)
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • slackerslacker Frets: 929
    I played an unlined 4 live for a few years. Some thoughts...

    1 Play into a chromatic tuner for a while. This is frowned apon at Talkbass etc but IMHO it's a good initial ear trainer. Stop using it asap and get on with it. Which leads to...

    2 get on with it. I'd had mine a fortnight when Mrs S said to me, you better use it out. So I took it and got through it somehow. 

    3 On the lower registers use muscle memory more than looking at the dots. 

    4 The notes bloom more on a fretless so use them. 

    5 Play a harmonic then fret it and slide it. People will think you are a real fretless player. 

    6 Dont listen to Jaco it's not good for the ego. I always liked Mik Kahn or that Graceland bloke. 
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 2reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • My tuner (polytune mini) doesn't appear to support going out to a cab at the same time but other comments seem they'll work well. Out of curiosity, I'm planning on using my Runt as a DI box, but for an amp/cab should I be looking at the newer Fender Rumbles? Size is a bit of a concern, realistically I'm hoping for something not much bigger than a 1x12 + lunchbox head size...
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • slackerslacker Frets: 929
    I have the Markbass 1x12 combo. It's small, light. loud, sounds great, has a good DI feed but is quote expensive. I've used Rumbles as backline and they are ok but dont play a great amp as well. 

    You can go really silly on bass amps with EA EBS Glockenklang etc. I've owned and tried a lot of that in the past. The Markbass stuff tends to be more value IMHO. 
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • martmart Frets: 2719
    I heard someone in a pub using a Rumble the other week and I was really impressed with the sound. Cheap as chips, too.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • ^ I used one of the 'new' generation Rumble 100's at home and it was pretty awesome, but I decided that I was never gonna gig and so got shot of it - probably stupid in the long run. 

    This is a shot of the bass I'm hoping to collect on Friday:
    https://twitter.com/WilliamAyerst/status/805096479056658434


    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • RockerRocker Frets: 2664
    Why make playing music any more difficult than it is by using a fretless bass? 
    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. [Albert Einstein]

    3reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • HA :)  Why make music more difficult than it is by using instruments instead of programming VSTs? Why make music at all and not just listen to it? Why listen to music instead of just sitting in a darkened room until you die?

    Well, I've always wanted to try, for one - and I enjoy the sound i.e.:



    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 1reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • martmart Frets: 2719
    Rocker said:
    Why make playing music any more difficult than it is by using a fretless bass? 
    Personally I find fretless easier. The sounds I want to make, the smoothness, and the control of the timbre of each note, are easier on a fretless. Sure, someone like Palladino or Sklar* can play a fretted bass and get those sounds, but I find it much easier to do in a fretless.

    And maybe that's why the vast majority of string players, across the world and for the last couple of hundred years, have played fretless instruments. ;)


    * Yes, I know Palladino and Sklar both often play fretless, but even when they play a fretted bass they can get the same smoothness and control. The bastards.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 1reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • slackerslacker Frets: 929
    yes awesome amp I,'ve played various basses through it all controls flat except the filters which I have a 2 o clock.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • RockerRocker Frets: 2664
    Why the 'HA' @William Williamson, I only asked the question.....

    And @Mart I know that string players use unfretted instruments.  @Sporky from this parish plays the Cello.  My brother-in-laws daugher is learning the violin.  If the answer to 'why' is for the musical freedom playing a bass, that no frets grants you, then fine.  Just say so.

    I never heard of Palladino or Sklar.  I tried looking them up but........  I presume they are bass players.  Please suggest an album that they or one of them played on.  Not a solo album*, they are usually shit, but an album of decent music that showcases their talents.

    * My aversion to solo albums is mainly due to not liking the sound of most instruments when played solo.  With the exception of piano, church organ, uilleann pipes and the occasional flamenco guitar, most solo instrumentals are more technique based than musical.  Not casting aspersions on your musical choices, this is how I see/hear it.
    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. [Albert Einstein]

    1reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • martmart Frets: 2719
    edited December 2016
    I didn't say "musical freedom" because I recognise that what I can do on a fretless others can do with frets. It is simply that I find it easier to achieve that on a fretless, which is why I said it was easier.

    To some extent I share your views about solo instruments. Apart from classical guitar there aren't many instruments I like the sound of on their own, and a solo album does tend to come across as a boast about technique rather than something designed to be listened to.

    If you want to hear Lee Sklar at his best, then listen to him playing on an album you like. There's hundreds listed here:
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leland_Sklar#Selected_albums

    And similarly for Pino Palladino: pick any of these:
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pino_Palladino#Discography_.28selected.29

    My personal favourites are his playing on Paul Young's No Parlez and Tears for Fears's The Seeds of Love, but you probably have other tastes. I'll be amazed if there aren't albums you know and love that feature one or the other of them.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 1reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • Rocker said:
    Why the 'HA' @William Williamson, I only asked the question.....
    The "HA!" was meant to soften my reply because I think desire/reason is quite a qualitative thing rather than something you can measure and quantify. I've always preferred flats on my basses (I say that as if I have years of experience and multiple instruments: but I switched a few years ago and was very satisfied), and the fretless instruments I've played were even more smooth and pleasant. 

    Having said that, the gentlemen who was due to sell me the instrument recorded a demo and wow, he's quite out of tune a few times. Hopefully I can focus myself to make it work.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • RockerRocker Frets: 2664
    Thanks guys for the replies. I will lookout for that music @mart.
    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. [Albert Einstein]

    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • Rocker said:
    Thanks guys for the replies. I will lookout for that music @mart.
    When you look at the lists you will realise that you have already heard Palladino and Sklar.

    Sklar has played on over 2000 albums.

    Pino came to fame on Paul Young's "Wherever I lay my hat" tune. While these days it sounds a bit cliche, it was one of the first, if not the first pop tune to mix with the bass that far forward in the mix to make the first half of the tune a duet between vocal and bass.

    He used a fretless stingray for that.

    He famously thought the production guys were mad and that it would never sell with the bass that high. It sold by the truck load and his phone has been ringing since.




    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • Rocker said:
    Why make playing music any more difficult than it is by using a fretless bass? 
    It sounds very different.

    Just like you can play many of the same notes on similar instruments in the same family. Like the range overlap between a cello and a double bass.

    Those notes have a different tonality to them. The cello has a faster attack due to the shorter string length and the smaller body being easier to vibrate. The double bass has a slower attack but a greater swell to the note bloom.

    There are fretted double basses around, and in the good old days some players used to tie gut around the neck in the note positions as temporary frets.

    The fretless bass guitar, when strung with roundwounds has quite a unique attack to the note that many players describe as "mwah" - there is nothing else that sounds like that.

    It really is a different instrument, albeit in the same family.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 2reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • SnapSnap Frets: 2211
    edited January 2017
    Rocker said:
    Thanks guys for the replies. I will lookout for that music @mart.
    When you look at the lists you will realise that you have already heard Palladino and Sklar.

    Sklar has played on over 2000 albums.

    Pino came to fame on Paul Young's "Wherever I lay my hat" tune. While these days it sounds a bit cliche, it was one of the first, if not the first pop tune to mix with the bass that far forward in the mix to make the first half of the tune a duet between vocal and bass.

    He used a fretless stingray for that.

    He famously thought the production guys were mad and that it would never sell with the bass that high. It sold by the truck load and his phone has been ringing since.




    You know the first major hit he played on was Music For Chameleons, gary Numan, 1982, made even more famous by Alan Partridge's now legendary air bass playing in his caravan. HIlarious. Regardless of what your opinions on Numan are, if yo like creative bass playing, you should give the album from which MFC came from, I Assassin, a listen. Numan gave Palladino free rein to play what he wanted, and to make the bass a lead instrument. Its chock full of awesome grooves, and is where Palladino first honed his signature tone of the 80s. This was before he joined up with Paul Young.

    Another superb album you wouldn't expect Pino to be playing on is Nine Inch Nails 2013 album, Hesitation Marks. Check out the track All Time Low for some v cool playing. Also, look up the live show by NIN, on youtube, called Tension 2103. Pino was the bassist for the tour, and this film is simply brilliant - stunning show, brilliant playing and fantastic visuals. Again, regardless of whether you like NIN or not, this will surprise you.



    and even more coolness




    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • Rocker said:
    Thanks guys for the replies. I will lookout for that music @mart.
    When you look at the lists you will realise that you have already heard Palladino and Sklar.

    Sklar has played on over 2000 albums.

    Pino came to fame on Paul Young's "Wherever I lay my hat" tune. While these days it sounds a bit cliche, it was one of the first, if not the first pop tune to mix with the bass that far forward in the mix to make the first half of the tune a duet between vocal and bass.

    He used a fretless stingray for that.

    He famously thought the production guys were mad and that it would never sell with the bass that high. It sold by the truck load and his phone has been ringing since.




    Pino is da man.....
    No Darling....I've had that ages.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 1reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • DLMDLM Frets: 1781

    I remember laughing at an interview with a bassist in Guitarist magazine years ago.

    When called for a session he cockily said "you're only ringing me because you couldn't get Pino, aren't you?"

    "Yes. That's exactly why I'm calling you".

    :sunglasses:

    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • Pino once played for Jagger at a rehearsal. Didn't hear anymore so sent an invoice.

    Jagger agent claimed it was an audition. Pino stated something like "I'm Pino, I don't audition"

    He got paid. :) 
    0reaction image LOL 1reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • DLMDLM Frets: 1781
    @fretmeister That's great! Especially having heard how Jagger can behave toward "supporting musicians" on the fantastic Double Stop podcast interview with Bernard Fowler.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • KanterKanter Frets: 7
    If there were only one track to check out the musical leeway Pino was taking/getting (and the guts of the producer!), it would be I'm gonna tear your playhouse down, from that same Paul Young LP.. it even came out a single at the time.

    from the get-go, you wonder- what's that crazy distorted-octaved moog solo churning through the whole song and totally overshadowing the remains of what is a catchy little pop song? and where's the bass?;)

    Also, the fill landscape on Pete Townsends Give Blood is spectacular.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • ICBMICBM Frets: 31628
    fretmeister said:

    Pino came to fame on Paul Young's "Wherever I lay my hat" tune. While these days it sounds a bit cliche, it was one of the first, if not the first pop tune to mix with the bass that far forward in the mix to make the first half of the tune a duet between vocal and bass.
    Must have missed this when it was originally posted, but… not the first.

    Ben E. King - Stand By Me

    Doesn't take anything away from Paul Young and Pino though - it might be the first hit to have a fretless electric so prominent, and it really made that sound recognised.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • SnapSnap Frets: 2211
    PIno Palladino was playing lead bass on the 3 top 20 singles Numan released in 1982, the album made the top 10, number 8 I think. One of the singels made the top 10.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 3151
    if anyone could advise if this Yamaha BBG5 (RBX375 pickups, ebony fretboard) or a Squier Deluxe Fretless 5 is a better shot then I would appreciate it.
    The Squier has a plastic fingerboard. This is hard-wearing but not as nice to look at as real wood. It only makes any difference to the playing feel on the skinny strings.

    Fret position markers are for wimps. Judge pitch by your ears rather than your eyes. Slide to the required pitch. Throw in some longitudinal finger vibrato to disguise this "cheating". Bury everything in some combination of Chorus, Flanger and short delay and nobody will spot your cock-ups.

    Previous contributors have name-checked Jaco, Pino and Mick Kahn. I wish to add Les Claypool, Patrick O'Hearn (solo artiste, Frank Zappa) and Barry Adamson (best known from Magazine).


    "It's no wonder the Pacific Ocean is blue."
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
Sign In or Register to comment.