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So now that I have fretless on the brain, I ventured over to the Rondo website to see what the latest and greatest is. The fretless basses I was looking at had fret lines. Is there a difference in tone and/or playability with fret lines, or is this just a convenience thing?

Lawrie
 

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It's just a crutch. One shouldn't be looking at the fretboard when playing at any rate. Side position dots are all you need. I would prefer my fretless to have a nice blank fretboard, but I wasn't going to pass up the Rondo prices.
 

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There isn't any difference in tone or playability due to fret lines. As James says, they are a crutch, or maybe just a convenience. In my case, the lines are there (faintly) because it's a modified fretted board with the slots filled with veneer...they're not very visible, especially since I stand to play bass and can't really see the face of the fingerboard anyway. If you've had good finger placement (sometimes called "planting") and technique, the switch to fretless isn't that difficult. I personally prefer fretless for both sound/tone and playability. My playing is more busy, fluid, soulfull, and inspired as there are no frets to get in the way.

It's probably just me, but I've never understood why fretless basses aren't more popular.

Peace, Mooh.
 

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Oh, thanks for the GAS trigger, now I need a l-h fretless 5-string
 

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I don't think I'm good enough to play a fretless. I'm still getting used to the big fat 5 string neck and 35" scale.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the replies everyone. I too am attracted to Rondo's pricing, so that was the first place I went to have see what they've got. I used to be a clasical bass player for years, so in actuallity, having fret lines seems a bit weird to me. I would prefer a clean fretboard. I'm pretty confident that I'll get used to it in a short period of time.

Ring Music, here in Toronto, carries a line of guitars and basses that are reasonably priced and made in China. I'm going to check them out and will report back.

Lawrie
 

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Nevermind. Found it. Do you know anything about the "Vintage" brand? That bubinga fretless looks nice. Of course, a Jaco fretless... that is the epitome (well, a copy anyway) of fretless bass guitar right there.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
james on bass said:
any link for that?
The link is http://www.ringmusic.com/productlist.php?category_id=10 . The make is Vintage They call it that because all the finishes have a distressed look (including the guitars). I personally can't stand it. The one that I saw,which is not pictured has a natural finish though and not distressed looking.

Ring is not too far from me, so when I have time, I'm going to take a look at it again. I'll take a few pictures to post.
 

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Vintage is making waves. They are based in the UK. Instead of using Chinese labour to make the cheapest possible commodity copies, their business model is based on providing a really decent Chinese-built product at a very attractive price - not the lowest price but definitely the best bang per buck, with a high level of quality control and tight specifications. They hired Trevor Wilkinson (a very smart and well-respected guy in the guitar community) to help with the design and specifications of their products.

The latest round of Vintage guitars was on display by the North American distributor at the last MIAC show (the distributor is based in the Toronto area) and I checked them out thoroughly. Wilkinson hardware and pickups (good stuff, made under license to high quality specifications in Korea for the most part), specific woods as opposed to Chinese miracle meat wood. Also a very clever neck joint of their own design.

The Jaco bass is distressed to reference Jaco's actual bass, which was really beat up. All of their instruments are available with non-distressed finished as well as relic-style finishes. FWIW, I distribute another brand in Canada with a few products that are directly competitive, but we don't do Fender-style basses - I have no affiliation with them.

FWIW, if I was in the market, I'd buy a Japanese lawsuit bass from the 1970's or a Vintage bass. Oh, and fret lines on fretless basses are for pussies.
 

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Finger placement

I'm not a real bass player, but years ago I played bass with a trio for a while using the vocalists borrowed fretles bass. I found i had to put my fingers on the "frets" to get the proper intone ation...playing between the "frets" produced a flat note. Are modern fretless scaled to compensate so that one can just use the old "feel" they had on their fretted bass?
 

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Fretless bass

I'm not a real bass player, but years ago I played bass with a trio for a while using the vocalists borrowed fretles bass. I found i had to put my fingers on the "frets" to get the proper intone ation...playing between the "frets" produced a flat note. Are modern fretless scaled to compensate so that one can just use the old "feel" they had on their fretted bass?

Actually on a fretless bass you have to be exactly on the fretline (or where the fretline would be on a non lined fingerboard). When you play a fretted bass the string is making contact at the fret even though your pressing down behind it. So on a fretless you have to be on the fretline to sound the same note.

I had a teacher once who couldn't get this concept and kept offering to re-intonate my bass.
 

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Yeah I posted about the "Vintage" brand awhile back and a few people were impressed by them. One person even refinished his "reliced" LP style guitar. The thread starts here: http://www.guitarscanada.com/Board/showthread.php?t=3944 I also mentioned the Jaco bass in that thread.

Vintage is making waves. They are based in the UK. Instead of using Chinese labour to make the cheapest possible commodity copies, their business model is based on providing a really decent Chinese-built product at a very attractive price - not the lowest price but definitely the best bang per buck, with a high level of quality control and tight specifications. They hired Trevor Wilkinson (a very smart and well-respected guy in the guitar community) to help with the design and specifications of their products.

The latest round of Vintage guitars was on display by the North American distributor at the last MIAC show (the distributor is based in the Toronto area) and I checked them out thoroughly. Wilkinson hardware and pickups (good stuff, made under license to high quality specifications in Korea for the most part), specific woods as opposed to Chinese miracle meat wood. Also a very clever neck joint of their own design.

The Jaco bass is distressed to reference Jaco's actual bass, which was really beat up. All of their instruments are available with non-distressed finished as well as relic-style finishes. FWIW, I distribute another brand in Canada with a few products that are directly competitive, but we don't do Fender-style basses - I have no affiliation with them.

FWIW, if I was in the market, I'd buy a Japanese lawsuit bass from the 1970's or a Vintage bass. Oh, and fret lines on fretless basses are for pussies.
 

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I like them without fretlines, they look cleaner, and when you're standing up, you can't really be looking at the fretboard and playing anyway
 
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