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Thread: What is "fretless" voicing? (As it pertains to pickups.)

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    Slutbucker Pimpologist ArtieToo's Avatar
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    Default What is "fretless" voicing? (As it pertains to pickups.)

    I notice that the Steve Bailey active preamp is "voiced" for fretlass bass. What exactly does that mean? Would it not sound good with a fretted bass?

    Edit: I probably should have said: "As it pertains to the preamp."

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    Administrator Mincer's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is "fretless" voicing? (As it pertains to pickups.)

    My first thought is that de-emphasizes the attack, and has more 'bloom' to the note, like the common fretless sound.
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    Slutbucker Pimpologist ArtieToo's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is "fretless" voicing? (As it pertains to pickups.)

    Ah. Makes sense. Part of the reason I asked, is because I like the layout of the STC system. Since having asked, I found the non-Steve Bailey version under "Other Basses." So may not be an issue.

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    Chris JB_From_Hell's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is "fretless" voicing? (As it pertains to pickups.)

    It's referring to mids, specifically having a focused but not honky mid tone. My DiMarzio Model J pickups refer to being voiced very well for fretless, which in this case, means a very present mid range, and a clear but not bitey high end. I was really interested in the Steve Bailey set when I was shopping for pickups, and I think I remember thinking the same thing about them.

    If you listen to Steve's playing, you'll hear that he uses tons of gain, and does a lot of artificial harmonics and shredder style stuff. There's definitely no lack of attack.

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    Slutbucker Pimpologist ArtieToo's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is "fretless" voicing? (As it pertains to pickups.)

    Cool. I'll go see if I can find some YT vids.

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    Chris JB_From_Hell's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is "fretless" voicing? (As it pertains to pickups.)

    This has zero relevance to your question, but check out the video of Steve playing a 6 string fretless Warwick acoustic.

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    Ultimate Tone Slacker DavidRavenMoon's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is "fretless" voicing? (As it pertains to pickups.)

    Iíve played a few different fretless basses as my main instrument over the years. One of those was a P bass where I later added a J bridge pickup.

    All these basses sounded different. I didnít try to get a certain tone from them.
    I even played with a pick! (Oh the horror)

    Then Jaco came along. Now all the fretless players were going for that burpy bridge pickup tone.

    Thatís clearly not the only tone you can get from a fretless. Listen to people like Mick Karn or Pino Paladino.

    But now the younginís think the only fretless bassist there ever was was Jaco. So thatís what a fretless bass sound like.

    So I think the whole fretless voicing is a silly idea.

    I love Jaco, but I never used that tone. I felt it was too much like an upright bass, and I was playing electric. With a pick. lol

    Hereís my fretless Hondo II P bass with DiMarzio P/J pickups and a Kahler whammy bar. Not played with a pick, because Iím slapping on a fretless. How silly of me. lol. This was about 1983. I was also playing a Hayman 30/30 guitar.


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    Slutbucker Pimpologist ArtieToo's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is "fretless" voicing? (As it pertains to pickups.)

    I'll have to listen to that again on my main system. It still sounded decent on my laptop. My 1st bass ever was a Hondo. The neck did double duty as a whammy bar. It was awful.

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    Ultimate Tone Slacker DavidRavenMoon's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is "fretless" voicing? (As it pertains to pickups.)

    Quote Originally Posted by ArtieToo View Post
    I'll have to listen to that again on my main system. It still sounded decent on my laptop. My 1st bass ever was a Hondo. The neck did double duty as a whammy bar. It was awful.
    Itís funny you mention the neck. I normally played a Ď73 Rickenbacker, and I could bend the neck and get vibrato on harmonics and stuff. Lol

    The Hondo neck was very stiff. Wouldnít bend at all. So I added the Kahler whammy bar. People thought that was weird on a fretless.

    A friend of mine gave me the bass. It was sunburst with a maple fretboard. I pulled the frets and used maple veneer in the slots. Then I finished it with polyurethane.

    I painted the body metallic blue and added a J pickup. It was a cool bass.


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    Mojo's Minions ItsaBass's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is "fretless" voicing? (As it pertains to pickups.)

    It’s a statement that doesn’t make any sense. The only thing that makes a fretless sound like a fretless is lack of frets. It’s more of an attack and decay characteristic than anything related to EQ or output. It’s just marketing mumbo-jumbo, best ignored completely. Just look at whatever specs you can, and try to find some online demos, and listen through good headphones.
    Quote Originally Posted by LesStrat View Post
    Yogi Berra was correct.
    Quote Originally Posted by JOLLY View Post
    I do a few chord things, some crappy lead stuff, and then some rhythm stuff.

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    Chris JB_From_Hell's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is "fretless" voicing? (As it pertains to pickups.)

    Yeah, the only difference is frets or no frets... but that kind of makes a huge difference.

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    Mojo's Minions ItsaBass's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is "fretless" voicing? (As it pertains to pickups.)

    Of course it makes a huge difference. I did not state otherwise. My point was that this difference has nothing at all to do with anything that pickup specs can affect. It is about how the strings behave differently when plucked, vs. a fretted bass.
    Quote Originally Posted by LesStrat View Post
    Yogi Berra was correct.
    Quote Originally Posted by JOLLY View Post
    I do a few chord things, some crappy lead stuff, and then some rhythm stuff.

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    Chris JB_From_Hell's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is "fretless" voicing? (As it pertains to pickups.)

    I think it does affect the EQ and what I want from a pickup. When they say “voiced for fretless”, maybe it’d be better to say “voiced for the tone it seems like most modern fretless players are chasing.” When I was asking about pickups for my Warwick, a lot of people said Model J. DiMarzio bills it as being great for fretless, and I tend to agree with them.

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