Are Fretless Basses Harder To Play?


There are many cool video showing fretless basses in action. But how it is actually to play fretless bass? Is it harder to play fretless bass than it is to play fretted one?

Fretless basses are, indeed, harder to play. It takes a while to get used to playing without frets. At beginning, it is hard to press the string on the right spot, as there are no frets to show you where to press, exactly.

However, once mastered, fretless bass becomes as easy to play as fretted bass.

What Is The Point Of Fretless Bass?

The point of a fretless bass is the fact that it allows you to play smooth slides from one note to another. You can’t do that with a regular, fretted bass.

Some bass lines sound so much better with this feature. Sliding in and out sounds cool and upbeat, especially when you play some funky, groovy rhythm.

Is a Fretless Bass Better?

It depends. Most players use fretted bass, so yes, they’d probably say that a regular, fretted bass is better. However, there are advantages of playing a fretless bass.

Tuning problem, for example. Imagine playing with a band. In the middle of the song, you may notice that your bass guitar is slightly out of tune.

With regular, fretted bass – you can’t do much about it. You’d have to tune it and then play it. With fretless bass, however, you can just position your finger slightly sharper or flatter, depending on the situation, of course.

That’s a nice advantage. No tuning problems.

However, there are disadvantages of playing a fretless bass. For example, you have to apply more pressure with your fingers on a neck. On fretted bass, you have to apply pressure just enough so you can hear the note.

Also, with a regular, fretted bass – the player always has more control. You can read your bass tab while you’re playing without looking at your bass guitar. With fretless bass, that’s lot harder to achieve.

You have to be extremely precise when playing a fretless bass. For a beginner, or intermediate bass guitar player, that’s hard.

Therefore, fretted bass is better, in my opinion. Of course, if you’re really good, confident bass player who likes to experiment – go for the fretless bass. Nothing bad about it.

Can You Put Frets On a Fretless Bass?

You can, but it takes money and time. Also, it’s a bad idea to do it by yourself. So, you’d have to pay for frets and for an expert to mount them on a neck.

Wouldn’t it be much easier to just buy a new, fretted bass? That way you could have two basses, a fretless one and a fretted one.

Who Plays Fretless Bass?

There are many fretless bass players. Let’s mention few of them.

Steve Bailey. Look at this video of him playing a fretless bass.

Tony Franklin. See him in action.

Final Words

I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it.

Don’t forget to check other bass guitar related articles from this site, like following ones.

Also, don’t forget to check out other interesting articles about various guitar topics and issues!

Cheers, and rock on!

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