Starting fretless

I've just bought a lefty, 5-string, electro-acoustic fretless. Yup, don't see many of those around. Despite needing a major setup (factory fitted with a righty nut, can you believe it?) I'm taking to it better than I thought.

Would any players care to share fretless tips/experiences?

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I love fretless. My first ever bass was a fretless and the one I have now is my third.

My only tips would be don't be scared of the lack of frets, and don't use flatwounds even if you're worried that roundwounds will mark the fingerboard. It's a small sacrifice to make for that sound.

Thanks glw. The side-dots are there and it's surprising how that's pretty much enough info for me to get along with. Even if I'm slightly out, I can do a quick adjustment without it being too obvious. Compared with a fretted (and I have got the wrong fret on those, sometimes :oops: ), it's not too spectacular a mistake.

Interesting what you say about the strings. Despite the Indian rosewood fingerboard (cheaper than ebony) it came facotry with rounds (also cheaper) but the owner swapped them for flats. He gave me the barely-used rounds but I'm likely to stick to the flats. I've got loads of rounds-fitted basses and this is my only flatty. It's good for a swoop without squeak. The D must have snapped because he's put on a groundwound. I don't like that one as much at all. In fact, I was going to email him about the flats brand and get a replacement D. The others are unused enough for a new single. I fancy going like Jamerson and keeping them on for a few decades :)

Blimey, are you sure about that? Fretless is a fantastic sound but flatwounds just kill it.

Pretty sure. I've just played it at a session again tonight. Because it's an acoustic (maybe) the flats give it a nice, "mini EUB" sound. When I get the de-fretted Fenix Jazz sorted, I'll try that with rounds first. You might have a point with a solid electric, but I like the flats on the EA.

I know this started as a fretless thread but as it's now diversified...

I've found an ebay shop (yeah, I finally signed-up!) that sells some Fender stainless flats 55-105 (9050Ms) any ops? I quite fancy trying them on my electric. Another question: they say they're 'through-body' will I have any prob with a standard bridge? Or will I just have more to cut off?

I seem to remember from years ago on "The Bottom Line" that flats were discussed and the Fenders were considered brighter than usual flats. Edging into roundwound territory in terms of attack. If you want that 'thump' or even 'whump' sound for a complete contrast to roundies, you might want elsewhere. There's a lot of support for Thomastik-Infelds of course; they're frighteningly expensive and a lot of players like LaBellas. Irritatingly, used to sell them dirt-cheap, but only within North America. By the time I got a contact who'd forward them onto me, they stopped doing the deal.

If you want Thomastiks, they're an ideal candidate for "buy in the US and have posted to Blighty", particularly with $2 for a quid exchange rates. If you go for the Fenders, you're right. "Through body" just means some extra length to snip off. The thready bit might not touch the heads, if that's a bother for you.

Back on my fretless, I'm still waiting for my lefty 5-string nuts. Wish they'd smacked my writing hand when I was a kid; like in the old days... :x

1bassleft wrote:
... on "The Bottom Line" that flats were discussed and the Fenders were considered brighter than usual flats. Edging into roundwound territory in terms of attack...

See, that's exactly what attracted me, being one of the impoverished masses I can only afford one main bass and one set of strings, I like it low and smooth but don't want to lose all the clarity, I still want changes in attack to be heard...stainless flats! woohoo! I thought...

As for the fretless (sorry for the hijack :) ) I'd love to have a go but fear I'd be pants. I do fancy one of those with the drawn on frets but that's some way down the road, hence, I have nothing useful to say, at all, sorry. But good luck anyhoo!

EDIT: Look! a plecking Avatar! the original is a lot more impressive as it's about 2' across, you can actually see all the hairs and some chapped skin hanging off my knuckle...which is nice.

And it's not purple.

Sounds like the strings might be just right for you, then (another poss is groundwound). I don't mind a flats discussion in a fretless thread, as the two are sortof hand-in-glove. If you've played for a little while now, I wouldn't be too scared of fretless. The EAB has no lines, only the side dots to guide me (and the intonation's out) but I'm surprising myself how reasonably I'm managing. I'm not a technical player at all (BTW, I noticed and appreciated the avatr change - good on yer).

Being a righty, it might be worth looking for those auctions where someone's pulled the frets. Provided it's done reasonably competently, you'll have the lines and a home defret can scare off bidders so some 40quid might get you something to try.

Certainly worth an investigate. I'm yet to use my new-fangled ebay membership but I'll get there eventually!

Out of interest, I went to Pino Pallodino's write-in forum to ask if he's on the TOTP "Music for Chameleons" appearances. While there, I noticed that he's another LaBella man. If you like that "yoodeeyoo" sound, it's worth bearing in mind.

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