So you decided to start playing the fretless bass?
Excellent! There’s no better time than right now.
Do You Need a Beginner fretless bass?
You’ve always seen the other bass players take a fretless bass to their hands and wondered how they do it,
How do they play so precisely without frets?
Well, I have good news:
it’s not that difficult, especially if you have a marked fretless bass (with lines instead of frets).
Yes, it requires daily training for a while, but it’s not like learning to play a whole new instrument.
And I also have a good tip in this matter: with a marked Fretless bass,
You should Play right on the lines and not close to them, which is not like you’re used to with a fretted bass guitar. Try it, and you’ll see that you already sound better before you even started to practice.
Can you start playing the fretless bass before you learned how to play a fretted bass?
Yes, you can, but I wouldn’t recommend it.
There are so many things to learn when you start playing bass guitar –
The right-hand technique, which is picking technique,
The left-hand technique, the location of the notes, scales, the proper holding of the guitar, and the know-how of getting a good sound.
You should become a trained and experienced player in all these things before you try to play without frets.
Also, as a professional bass player who is playing for over 20 years, I can assure you that most of your playing opportunities will be on the fretted bass. When it comes to sound – that’s what most people will want. Therefore, you should learn the skills in this field before trying to add other abilities.
How to Get a Beginner Fretless Bass
I know of two ways in which bassists can get a fretless bass:
1. They take a fretted bass guitar and send it to a guitars technician so he can pull out the frets and turn it into a fretless bass
2. They Buy a fretless Bass guitar.
No matter what option you choose, if you are starting with the fretless bass, then you should not spend a significant amount of money. If you select the first option, you probably would want to take a cheap guitar, or one that you are not using, pull out its frets, and make it your fretless training bass. If you choose the second option, then you should buy an inexpensive fretless bass guitar.
In my opinion, if you’re a beginner, you should choose the second option. Meaning that should buy a beginner fretless bass.
Why? Because the cost of turning the bass into a fretless is close, and sometimes more expensive, than buying a low-priced bass.
Also, there is always a chance that you will change your mind and regret that you have turned the fretted bass into a fretless.
That’s why when I started playing the fretless bass, I was looking for an inexpensive bass guitar that would be my training guitar.
The guitar I bought is a
Squier Vintage Modified Jazz Bass.
A video of me playing the Squier Vintage Modified Jazz Bass
Buy the Squier Vintage Modified Jazz Bass Fretless on Amazon.com
Beyond the advantage of the affordable price, this guitar has an added benefit for beginners – it has lines marks on it and thus allows for a smoother transition from a fretted bass guitar to a fretless bass.
However, it is essential to know that this is not the highest quality guitar. This is a guitar that is supposed to meet a specific need:
To help you practice the fretless Bass, to understand if you have an interest in that style of playing and whether this type of playing will be usable in the bands you play or in any other way.
Of course, if you are an amateur musician and you play only for fun or with friends, this guitar can undoubtedly serve you for many years.
If you are a professional musician or aspire to be such, this is only the initial stage for you, and this is not the guitar that will make you sound like Jaco Pastorius.
Which strings should you use with a fretless bass?
In my opinion, the same strings that you like to use with your fretted bass guitar.
I know there are a lot of bassists who prefer to use Flatwounds strings on the fretless bass.
If you don’t know what they are, these are flat strings that provide a smooth and jazzy sound.
One specific advantage that the Flatwounds have is that they are better for the guitar’s fretboard. Because fretless bass does not have frets, the neck is more sensitive to the touch and rubbing of the strings.
On the other hand, I still think that the sound of Roundwounds strings is better. It’s just more punchy and more distinct, especially when playing with a band or when recording.
I usually choose to use GHS or D’addario Strings
Notice – when you buy new strings check what is the gauge of the strings .it is written on the cover. You should have your bass setup in a way that fits the gauge of the strings you play. Otherwise, the strings may buzz or sound bad.
More Beginner Fretless Bass Guitars At Slightly Higher Prices
If you are not on a limited budget or if it is necessary for you to start with a slightly higher level guitar, There are two additional models in this price range that you should check:
the Ibanez and the Esp.
Although I did not try these models, those two makers usually produce well-made guitars.
If you already gained some fretless skills, another option for you can be the Fender Standard fretless (now called “Player”) Jazz bass.
This is Fender’s most affordable fretless bass (If we do not consider the Squier Vintage Modified bass).
Unlike the Squier, which is manufactured in Indonesia, the Fender Player series is made in Mexico, which is considered to be a better factory.
These were some low-medium price range options for beginner fretless bass guitars.
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