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  • Fretless Bass

    I think after the holidays are over and my bills are paid I'll be adding a fretless bass to my equipment list.

    I AM afraid that my carpel tunnel symptoms will come back, but this time I'm going to force myself to hold my fretting hand properly and not get back into my old habit of bending my thumb weirdly on the neck.

    I really miss playing bass, and I love the sound of a fretless.

  • #2
    Oooohh now THERE's an idea! Before reading this thread I hadn't even thought about how unbelievably useful a FRETLESS would be for processing ambient tones. Oh. My. GOODNESS!!! Imagine how amazing it would sound...processed through a effects...a FRETLESS, oh man...here's to hoping your carpel tunnel stays away for GOOD!!!
    Synphaera Records
    Space | Time | Matter

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    • #3
      I think fretless bass got a bad rap in the eighties (probably too many songs with pino palladino(?) all over them, no disrespect to the guy, very talented).

      Maybe my favourite moment would be something like Mick Karn on Japans 'genetlemen take polaroids' (i think... maybe thinking of a different track... ) He could really make one come alive.

      edit: No, I'm thinking of Karn on the Dalis Car project, slipping and a sliding all over the place.
      Latest release: never to be repeated

      Hearthis | Soundcloud

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      • #4
        My favorite fretless bass player is Michael Manring. He can do amazing things with his bass!

        I have his CD, Toward the Center of the Night.

        I can also see it as being useful for interesting Ambient. Subtle basslines with a ton of slides. I just love how they sound!

        I had a Fretless Fender Jazz bass when I was about 17. Of course, I played metal at the time, so I didn't bring out its full potential, but I plan to learn how to properly play it this time. I'll be studying a lot of Manring this time. :giggle:

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        • #5
          The only thing I don't like about the bass that I'll be ordering is that it has inlaid fret markers on the face of the neck. I prefer just the dots on the side (top) at frets 3-5-7-9-12-15-17-19-21-24.

          Oh, well, this is just a beginner's bass.

          http://www.zzounds.com/item--ESPB204SMFL

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          • #6
            I used to have a Shergold fretless, but I found it very difficult to play. It gave me terrible blisters. Now I have a normal bass (Squier Deluxe Jazz Bass IV Active)

            Good fretless bassists.....Jaco......Percy Jones.....Karn (Check out Sons of Pioneers from Tin Drum)

            Good instruments for ambient would also have to include Chapman Stick and Warr Guitar (especially the MIDI equipped models). I really like some of the Trey Gunn albums
            Whatsisname's Little Fluffy Clouds | Campsite | Hearthis | Orfium | SeismicTC | Twitter | Ello

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            • #7
              Ok, I've googled it and have now found the track I'm thinking of (yep, sure of it this time ) : Japans 'Visions of China'



              So slinky.
              Latest release: never to be repeated

              Hearthis | Soundcloud

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              • #8
                Here is the one I'm talking about:-

                Whatsisname's Little Fluffy Clouds | Campsite | Hearthis | Orfium | SeismicTC | Twitter | Ello

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by seismic1 View Post
                  Chapman Stick and Warr Guitar
                  Tony Levin!

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by seismic1 View Post
                    I used to have a Shergold fretless, but I found it very difficult to play. It gave me terrible blisters. Now I have a normal bass (Squier Deluxe Jazz Bass IV Active)

                    Good fretless bassists.....Jaco......Percy Jones.....Karn (Check out Sons of Pioneers from Tin Drum)

                    Good instruments for ambient would also have to include Chapman Stick and Warr Guitar (especially the MIDI equipped models). I really like some of the Trey Gunn albums
                    Y'know, I've listened to a little bit of Jaco, and it really wasn't what I thought it would be. He's good, but I don't think I'd want to listen to him much.

                    Like I've said, Micheal Manring is the epitome of what I'd love to be able to achieve, though I know I never will. :cry:

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                    • #11
                      Patrick O'Hearn is a really good fretless bass player (he's played with Frank Zappa, always a good school for virtuouso musicians) who's made a few ambient/new age albums.

                      I've always liked the sound of a fretless, and I toyed with the idea of getting one until I actually tried one a few years ago. I've played guitar for more years than I care to remember, so I know the basics, but I couldn't get anything more than a muffled 'thunk' out of it! Seriously hard on the fingers without the assistance of fretwire - I can see how seismic (hey Tim ) got blisters. I was worried that the guitar shop guy might make me buy it if I bled all over it :lol:
                      My new album is available now, here: https://thoughtexperiment.bandcamp.c.../supersymmetry
                      Check out my (hopelessly out-of-date) SoundCloud page: https://soundcloud.com/thought_experiment

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                      • #12
                        For some reason I find a fretless to be easier to play than a standard, fretted bass.

                        I love the sound of both, though, but for the music I want to produce, fretless makes a little more sense.

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                        • #13
                          I saw Jaco in '78 with Weather Report. After that gig I switched from guitar to bass.

                          Tony Levin is one of those musicians who doesn't get enough credit. If you get the chance, check out World Diary. It's not ambient, but the playing is world-class and the choice of collaborators on that album is just spot-on.

                          I saw O'Hearn with Zappa back in the '70s. He was pretty cool. He does quite a lot of soundtrack work. I think he did that Mickey Rourke film - White Sands.

                          If you get a Fretless, make sure you don't use roundwound strings. They really eroded my fingers. Probably due to the extra pressure I found myself exerting to stop the strings rattling around without any frets to brace against.
                          Whatsisname's Little Fluffy Clouds | Campsite | Hearthis | Orfium | SeismicTC | Twitter | Ello

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                          • #14
                            That's what callouses are for. ;)

                            I really honestly don't like either the feel or the sound of flat-wound strings, even on a fretless.

                            It was never a problem for me on either of my two past fretless basses. My Fender Jazz bass or my Cort Curbow.

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                            • #15
                              Here's Michael Manring - Blue Oreans



                              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkkzzAjSxDs

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