Craziest songs to feature a fretless bass.

Discussion in 'Music to Your Ears' started by Blazer, Jan 27, 2020.

  1. Blazer

    Blazer Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    [​IMG]
    Well, ever since Bill Wyman decided to pull the frets from his self made bass to improve the way it played, people have been going the fretless way and its typical "Mwaaaah" sound is a fixture of contemporary music since.

    But let's talk about the instances where people pushed out the boat on what a fretless bass can do. First up and did you really expect anybody else?

    Legend says that Jaco did this as a showcase of "THIS is what I can do!" it also opened people's eyes to what a fretless bass could do.


    One guy who's eyes were opened was Les Claypool, who decided to combine a fretless bass with Tony Levin's Chapman stick playing on Primus' "Jerry was a race car driver."

    On the recording itself Les used a Tune six string which he pulled the frets from himself but as this clip shows, used a custom Carl Thompson six string to perform it live.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2020
  2. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    If I remember correctly, the bass glisses in Walk On the Wild Side were played by London bassist Herbie Flowers on a Fender fretted bass (forget which one). He played it so smoothly, that it sounded fretless to me. Was a little surprised to learn the bass had frets.

    Oops, messed this up. What really happened was that he played the glisses on a double bass (which has no frets), then doubled them at the 10th on his trusty old blue Jazz Bass.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2020
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  3. maxvintage

    maxvintage Friend of Leo's

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    Rick Danko usde a fretless on some tunes. i think he used a fretless on Rock of Ages. Sting used one sometimes.

    Jaco--still astonishing, all these years later. His execution is so great on that, and he has a real bop feel. his solo is harmonically dead accurate
     
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  4. VintageSG

    VintageSG Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    David Haskins ( David J ) frequently played fretless with Bauhaus. Not crazy, but most folk assume, if they consider it at all, that he played fretted.

    David_J.jpg
     
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  5. Unionjack515

    Unionjack515 Tele-Holic

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    I think Jeff Ament’s use of them in “grunge” is pretty groundbreaking...not many (if any) had used them in heavier rock music before.

    Any bar that Pino has put together has always been ridiculously tasty in my book. Hard to beat “Every Time You Go Away” as a radio classic.

    Even Dave Gilmour got into the act on “Hey You.”

    It’s a great instrument. Mine is a Victor Bailey signature...2nd best bassist from Weather Report! Gorgeous construction on it...koa top, a layer of rosewood and a mahogany back.
     

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    Last edited: Jan 27, 2020
  6. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Didn't Jack Bruce play a fretless bass, at times? I don't know if he did it on any of his better-known recordings.
     
  7. soul-o

    soul-o Friend of Leo's

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    Well, I suppose most people wouldn't expect fretless on an Ian Hunter track if they mostly knew him from Mott The Hoople.
     
  8. Endless Mike

    Endless Mike Friend of Leo's

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    Pushed out the boat?
     
  9. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Jimbo with Reverend Horton Heat. Or something by the Horrorpops?
     
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  10. aging_rocker

    aging_rocker Tele-Meister

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    That gives me all the excuse I need to post this again :)

     
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  11. Bob Womack

    Bob Womack Tele-Afflicted

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    Camel from 1977


    Theband Barnstorm from 1973
    Anything by Kenny Passarelli on Joe Walsh's albums except "Rocky Mountain Way"

    Bob
     
  12. Bob Womack

    Bob Womack Tele-Afflicted

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    Oops
     
  13. Digital Larry

    Digital Larry Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

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    Michael Manring covering Jaco.
     
  14. RodeoTex

    RodeoTex Poster Extraordinaire

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    I remember a silly thing in the '70s called a zoom bass.
    I assume it was a fretless bass because it didn't really play any notes, just slides up and down the fretboard.
    Sorry I can't think of any examples, but thankfully that never caught on much.
     
  15. kLyon

    kLyon Tele-Meister Gold Supporter

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    Danko was the first I heard live... the Band opening for Bob Dylan in Hollywood, Florida, propitiously coinciding with the first time I ever got really high: the first song was Stage Fright; Danko hit with that big Ampeg fretless and blew my (let's just say, extremely impressionable...) mind. The sound was huge. I was 16; I went home and yanked the frets out of my Jazz bass.

    And then, a couple of years later, I heard Jaco. And that was it. I played exclusively fretless for years (when I wasn't playing guitar). Those were the two for me.
     
  16. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Poster Extraordinaire

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    Rob, the bass player I duo with, has an amazing/ funky technique with his fretting and vibrato where he sounds fretless ' bwaaaank" when we play together, but is not.
    I think we sound great like this, and since we jam a bit, it makes for an added, cool dynamic.
    Here is the semi-hollow Ibanez bass he plays; beautiful! IMG_1849.jpg IMG_1848.jpg
     
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  17. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Doctor of Teleocity

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    Michael Been (RIP) often played an Ampeg fretless. I have an old VHS tape of this full performance, somewhere. MTV actually did these Live at the Ritz uninterrupted. (no commercials) I can't find the full concert, but this demonstrates how good he was.
     
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  18. bender66

    bender66 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Del Palmers work on this fantastic Kate Bush tune.

    Heres a cover on youtube of a kid ripping it.

    I've never heard this tune the same since.
     
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  19. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Doctor of Teleocity

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    Cool looking bass. Is it PIEZO only? That should sound wonderfully "acoustic".
     
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  20. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Poster Extraordinaire

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    I think so. Assuming there are piezo elements either built into the saddles or under them.

    Usually Rob goes directly into mixing board ( same as our vocal mics, and my guitar) which then goes to a powered PA speaker AND a subwoofer cab
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2020
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