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Practicing on a fretless

Discussion in 'Steve DiGiorgio' started by Traxan, Dec 2, 2014.

  1. Traxan

    Traxan Member

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    Steve, something I'm curious about. On his instructional video, Jaco Pastorious said he never practiced on the fretless because the strings would chew up the neck. Has this been your experience, and what do you use to practice, fretted or fretless?
     
  2. AleTheSnail

    AleTheSnail New Metal Member

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    Now, I am not NEAR the level on fretless as Steve is but, Jacos neck was a defretted rosewood fingerboard which is quite a bit softer than an ebony fretboard.
    I believe Jacos was finished in epoxy, not sure but I still think ebony is more durable.
    You can see string wear on my fretboard but its not creating gouges in the fretboard and I've only used stainless steel strings on it.
    I pretty much only play fretless these days but when I do pick up one of my fretted basses, I do find myself playing on the frets, hopefully that means I'm in tune on the fretless!

    PS Steve, Death to All kicked so much ass in Vancouver! Picked up one of your SDG Thor Bass shirts.
     
  3. Traxan

    Traxan Member

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    So where's the hippie? He should be home from the Death tribute tour, no?
     
  4. HippieOfDoom

    HippieOfDoom The 13th Monkey

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    Yeah I'm home, haha. Can't a metal bassist have a home life too?

    Traxan - About your questions regarding practicing on a fretted or fretted. I would say, which ever you prefer. I grab which ever bass is in reach when I need to work something out. I have fretless basses, fretted, acoustic, electric, piccolo bass all different configurations of string numbers. I think that sometimes playing on a different instrument can inspire something that comes to light from a different point of view.

    I don't know that much about Jaco, but I know that I've been playing on fretless basses for 30+ years and have never worn down a fingerboard. The bass you see above, the Thor 5-string (that is now egregiously modified to a 3-string) I've had since early 2008, almost 7 years, and the ebony fingerboard shows only little sign of wear. And I have always used roundwound stainless steel strings.

    Hope that info helps. And AleTheSnail, that show in Vancouver was off the hook! Good energy. Friggen Canucks are up 1-0 in the 1st period against San Jose as I type this...I'm hoping for some Bay Area energy to come back and put some behind the awesome Ryan Miller. And thanks for supporting the SDG cause with the shirt purchase!

     
  5. Traxan

    Traxan Member

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    Ah just teasing ya Steve, thanks for the answer.

    Ale, I think you are right about materials. I found this info from http://www.jacop.net/gear.html

    1962 Fender Jazz, a.k.a. the "Bass of Doom," SN 64437
    Like the fate of a mythic hero's mighty weapon, the original condition and final resting place of the world's most famous fretless are shrouded in mystery. Its legendary tone was well documented through every era of Jaco's career, and he himself told several versions of the tale.

    According to Bill Milkowski's August '84 Guitar Player cover story, the '62 Jazz was already fretless when Jaco bought it in Florida for $90. Upon meeting Kaufman in 1978, Jaco told him he removed the frets himself with a butter knife and filled in the slots and missing fingerboard chunks with Plastic Wood, followed by several brushed-on coats of Petite's Poly-Poxy. Kaufman's first job for Jaco was to replace the peeling epoxy, which he did by using his own method of pouring on the epoxy in one treatment and shaping it with a rasp. According to Kaufman, Jaco left it in New York's Central Park shortly before his death. It hasn't been seen since.

    -----------

    Just to add a little story. In 1993 I'm walking to MSG for the train and pass through 53rd St where all the music stores are. I passed a store with a fretless Fender Jazz and a notable large letter P between the pickups. I recognized it immediately and ran in the store. They said it was Jaco's, they got it from a student of his and wanted $25,000. I called Bass Player magazine to tell them and spoke with one of their editors. he said he'd already heard of it and they were planning a story. Not sure which bass it was but it wasn't the legendary '62.

    BTW here is the Jaco video. He was already going downhill badly and it shows.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZSa9niKKE4

    He talks about not practicing with the fretless at 9:28
     

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