Author Topic: Fretless Bass (for ambient)  (Read 5450 times)

petekelly

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Re: Fretless Bass (for ambient)
« Reply #20 on: June 29, 2018, 05:53:39 AM »
I bought a Tanglewood fretted bass (Warwick copy) some time ago. It was a pretty horrid thing that needed a lot of work to get it to play half decently, including needing six - yes six !, neck shims to have a relatively low action. I decided to de-fret it and make it fretless, in order to get some possible use from it.

The de-fretting went well, taking out minimal chips from the fingerboard, then lots of sanding and filling the fret slots with super glue, which dried a bit oddly and made it look a bit peculiar. however, it did the job and it now plays and sounds really quite good now - even though it still looks pretty 'orrid.

My ESP LTD fretless is still very nice, but it's a struggle for me to play it as it's right handed and I'm a lefty.



I'm planning on having fretless on one of my upcoming projects, which will be primarily ambient 'electro-guitar' :) I'm well behind schedule with that, but it will see the light of day later this year.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2018, 01:05:16 PM by petekelly »

Julio Di Benedetto

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Re: Fretless Bass (for ambient)
« Reply #21 on: June 30, 2018, 06:04:39 AM »
Looks good Pete and if it plays decently than your there.....as a lefty playing a righty bass, what a challenge.  Do you have to reverse the strings on the ESP.  If the Tanglewood does work out than perhaps trade in your ESP LTD for a lefty ESP, these days left hand basses are quite common or so it seems.
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Julio Di Benedetto

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Re: Fretless Bass (for ambient)
« Reply #22 on: June 30, 2018, 06:15:55 AM »
I have had a set of Le Bella Black Nylon strings on my Pedulla fretless for a while now.  It was after I saw the video below and heard the sound that I had to try them.  The bass in the video is a Pedulla six string but the mirror neck finish is the same on my bass....I think it must effect the sound because the the top end is still very clear where the strings are quiet muted compared to round wound or nickel on a fretless.  OF course the main sound is from this fellas hands and how he plays yet there is a quality of sound that my bass shares.

"Life is one big road, with lots of signs, so when you ride to the Roots, do not complicate your mind, ... "  Bob Marley

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Castleview

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Re: Fretless Bass (for ambient)
« Reply #23 on: July 01, 2018, 09:59:50 AM »
Just curious, what's it like playing fretless bass with an ebow versus a guitar?
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petekelly

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Re: Fretless Bass (for ambient)
« Reply #24 on: July 01, 2018, 12:08:20 PM »
Looks good Pete and if it plays decently than your there.....as a lefty playing a righty bass, what a challenge.  Do you have to reverse the strings on the ESP.  If the Tanglewood does work out than perhaps trade in your ESP LTD for a lefty ESP, these days left hand basses are quite common or so it seems.

Cheers Julio,
I keep the strings right handed. Yes, it's a bit of a challenge !

Just curious, what's it like playing fretless bass with an ebow versus a guitar?

'Castleview'
It's much harder in my view, I may post a video of this. 

petekelly

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Re: Fretless Bass (for ambient)
« Reply #25 on: July 09, 2018, 07:55:46 AM »
I've been busy converting a couple of my guitars to fretless.

Here's my Samick / Greg Bennett (now converted to a fretless), guitar. It had a photo effect 'flame maple' top, which I took off. It has just the bare mahogany body showing now, this was a lot of work - I don't think I'd do something similar again ! It has just the one pickup and a tone control as I am planning on using it primarily with the Ebow.





Here's a video of me playing an Ebow improv. over a drone on the guitar.




« Last Edit: July 09, 2018, 08:26:05 AM by petekelly »

Julio Di Benedetto

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Re: Fretless Bass (for ambient)
« Reply #26 on: July 09, 2018, 05:06:47 PM »
Thats wonderful Pete....the guitar looks very sweet with the natural wood.  Damn nice un-fretting job! The fretboard has a bright luster to it, did you refinish it?

Thanks for the video....that ebow really shimmers.  Well played. Sounds amazing. Very cello like in the lows.

Funny, I found a website yesterday about fretless electric guitars, I really hand not heard of an electric fretless guitar before.  I will look for it again and post a link.

Pete, how well does the ebow interact with bass strings compared to guitar.
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Julio Di Benedetto

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Re: Fretless Bass (for ambient)
« Reply #27 on: July 10, 2018, 04:55:37 AM »
Heres the link on ambient fretless guitar.....seems to have a fair amount of fretted as well ???  http://www.unfretted.com/articles/the-role-of-fretless-guitar-in-ambient-music/   The website itself is dedicated to "unfretted"

Heres 2 musicians from the above article that stand out for me.

https://lucaformentini.bandcamp.com/album/subterraneans

https://ericjackson.bandcamp.com/album/turbulent-serenity-reissue
"Life is one big road, with lots of signs, so when you ride to the Roots, do not complicate your mind, ... "  Bob Marley

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petekelly

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Re: Fretless Bass (for ambient)
« Reply #28 on: July 10, 2018, 08:52:21 AM »
Thats wonderful Pete....the guitar looks very sweet with the natural wood.  Damn nice un-fretting job! The fretboard has a bright luster to it, did you refinish it?

Thanks for the video....that ebow really shimmers.  Well played. Sounds amazing. Very cello like in the lows.

Funny, I found a website yesterday about fretless electric guitars, I really hand not heard of an electric fretless guitar before.  I will look for it again and post a link.

Pete, how well does the ebow interact with bass strings compared to guitar.

Cheers Julio !

I bought a dedicated fret pulling tool, which took the frets our pretty cleanly, then five coats (or so) of super glue, then a radiused sanding block to sand down the super glue flat (going through a few grit grades of wet and dry). Lastly, a rub down with a polishing compound. It's not perfect (I think the neck may be slightly warped), but it's pretty good. I've been buying quite a few guitars recently and have realised that proper tools really do make things easier - nut files / levelling files etc. It's quite a bit of work, but i enjoy changing pickups etc. and getting the guitars to be as playable as I can. I would imagine reconditioning / upkeeping vintage synths is a bigger task !

On the playing side, yes an ebow does have a cello-like tone in the lower registers, - particularly with a wide vibrato. I find it's a great combination with fretless guitar. On a fretless bass, I find it difficult to get any string other than the G string to 'ring out' with the ebow. Regarding non-ebow playing, fretless guitar doesn't sustain like a regular guitar and playing with spot on intonation gets tricky (particularly higher up the fingerboard) All round, I find it's a challenge to play, but interesting nonetheless, particularly as a 'pseudo-slide' guitar without all the nasty slides noises :)

Will check out those links too.

« Last Edit: July 10, 2018, 12:34:15 PM by petekelly »