Pickup Position For A Fretless Bass

How many pickups in which position do you prefer on a fretless bass?

  • 2 pickups (e.g. PJ or Jazz)

    Votes: 8 80.0%
  • 1 pickup in the middle (e.g. Masterman)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 1 pickup in the back

    Votes: 1 10.0%
  • 1 pickup in the front

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • I don't give a shit about fretless basses and your question

    Votes: 1 10.0%

  • Total voters
    10

Stainless

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Hey guys, just wanted to ask, which and how many positions you like best for a fretless Bass?
1)
upload_2020-6-21_0-4-58.png


2)
upload_2020-6-21_0-3-46.png


3) 4)
upload_2020-6-21_0-9-37.png
 

golem

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Voted for single near bridge. Poll doesn’t allow me to specify “twins jammed together and tight against the bridge” ... which is obviously the ONLY reasonable FL mag PU configuration.

OTOH I’m not really that picky about the mag PU configuration cuz I just turn it way down and open up the piezos.

Just not at all right for an FL oriented poll to include “don’t give ashit about FL”, but then neglect to include “don’t give ashit about mag PUs”. It’s just Not Right.
 
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Stainless

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Voted for single near bridge. Poll doesn’t allow me to specify “twins jammed together and tight against the bridge” ... which is obviously the ONLY reasonable FL mag PU configuration.

OTOH I’m not really that picky about the mag PU configuration cuz I just turn it way down and open up the piezos.

Just not at all right for an FL oriented poll to include “don’t give ashit about FL”, but then neglect to include “don’t give ashit about mag PUs”. It’s just Not Right.
So this would be the Fortress Masterman PU configuration but a little more near to the bridge :)
Sure that is true I forgot the piezos...
 

golem

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Hey guys, just wanted to ask, which and how many positions you like best for a fretless Bass?
1)
View attachment 21786

2)
View attachment 21785

3) 4)
View attachment 21788
I just got a close look at the pic of that ax with the swinging PU. Way cool design but for myself I’d put the pivot on the other end. I’m less concerned where the PU hears the low strings ... although I’d put pivot near the bridge ... but I want the higher strings to sound deeper if my key keeps my hand in the mid-neck region, so I’d swing the PU close to the neck.

Don’t actually NEED the swing PU design. I tilt dual PUs opposite each other and use the PU selector switches. Works well enough. And anywho, my truly fave FL PU location is INSIDE the bridge ... piezos :)
 
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DiMarco

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2 pups, both jazz. Preferably seventies positions.
On mine, I solo the bridge pup for playing fretless specific songs on the fretless and go 50/50 when playing other songs on the fretless.
 

Florin

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2 J Pickups closer to the bridge. Best fretless basses I played were thumb 5, or STreamer LX 5 (I mention 5 because they have a different pup configuration than 4). I owned a pretty nice Music Man. But yeah, 2 J's closer to bridge than "normal" is my choice.
 

Stainless

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I actually already like to use the J-Pickup in the near of the bridge, the balance is on 70-30 on the bridge pickup.
Perhaps i make a little expiriment and swap the neck to the Fortress Masterman if the pocket fits :)
 
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Hardy

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I didn’t change anything at the Buzzard 8 string fretless. Mirrored P-pus, the „old“ 2 way electronics for more output. The reason is that I also want the same sound as on my BuzzTard. But would a mid frequency switch make sense? Is there a preferred frequency for fretless playing?
 

Myh

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I go with Stainless, the balance 70-30 on the bridge pickup. But it is how you want your sound, I prefere the mwah growl sound on a fretless bass guitar, and use Warwick EMP strings, and changed the std. 2 way preamp in myh all active 5 string Corvette for a Seymour Duncan Steve Bailey 3-band preamp (Steve Bailey 3-Band Preamp for Active Pickup | Seymour Duncan) I still have the stock MEC active pickups on that bass. For a vintage sound (e.g. jazz gigs) I use myh Triumph EUB.
 

Florin

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I didn’t change anything at the Buzzard 8 string fretless. Mirrored P-pus, the „old“ 2 way electronics for more output. The reason is that I also want the same sound as on my BuzzTard. But would a mid frequency switch make sense? Is there a preferred frequency for fretless playing?
I think it is personal. And it is all about the mwah level and control of it, other than this, is just a bass.
I personally like a fretless that does not sound at all like a fretless, except when I want it to sound like a fretless, does it make any sense? :) Thumb and Streamer LX give me that. I want mwah, I pick closer to the neck, I roll the left hand, etc. I want straight dry notes, I have them too.
I think a Jbass or a Pbass type will have more like an "always on" mwah :)
I never played a fretless until a year ago, I was too scared of it. Started with big ass stickers, then slowly removed them. I never had a great ear. Still, somehow I was spot on, because as @golem said, the fretless bass gives you the chance to play with the context, and nothing is really in tune on stage. And I tracked for an album, and I cheated a bit by using melodyne to tune here and there. You know what? 90% of times it was the open strings out of tune, not the "fretted" ones :)
 

Hardy

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I think it is personal. And it is all about the mwah level and control of it, other than this, is just a bass.
I personally like a fretless that does not sound at all like a fretless, except when I want it to sound like a fretless, does it make any sense? :) Thumb and Streamer LX give me that. I want mwah, I pick closer to the neck, I roll the left hand, etc. I want straight dry notes, I have them too.
I think a Jbass or a Pbass type will have more like an "always on" mwah :)
I never played a fretless until a year ago, I was too scared of it. Started with big ass stickers, then slownly removed them. Never considered to have a great ear. Still, somehow I was spot on, because as @golem said, the fretless bass gives you the chance to play with the context, and nothing is really in tune on stage. And I tracked for an album, and I cheated a bit by using melodyne to tune here and there. You know what? 90% of times it was the open strings out of tune, not the fretted ones :)

Right. I today played the whole rehearsal with my cheap Rockbass fretless. It sounds shayte on the most tracks because it lacks attack. And in a Rock formation you mostly don’t need the „mwah“ but the „dumm“! My 1986 Thumb offers both. Attack when I play straight, fretless sound when I roll the fingers a bit. I just don’t know the secret. The fretless has the same pu configuration as the fretted.
 

Florin

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Right. I today played the whole rehearsal with my cheap Rockbass fretless. It sounds shayte on the most tracks because it lacks attack. And in a Rock formation you mostly don’t need the „mwah“ but the „dumm“! My 1986 Thumb offers both. Attack when I play straight, fretless sound when I roll the fingers a bit. I just don’t know the secret. The fretless has the same pu configuration as the fretted.
The right amount of mwah in the right part of the song is beautiful in a rock band. Whitesnake comes to my mind straight away, and of course, our brother, master @JPT with his work. I became addicted of playing fretless in my last year. The only thing you lose is slap, which is not that great on a fretless, but I don't really use it anyway. In return, you gain a ton of new weapons in your articulation arsenal, and fuller stronger sound with no fret buzz.
What secret you don't know?
 

Florin

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Here is a test I did with my fretless when I was preparing to track a metuhl album.
 

Hardy

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I mean the secret why the Thumb NT4 is that good for fretless sounds. The pus are at the same position as the fretted version has.
 

Florin

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Thumb NT4, is very similar to LX as pickup position. 2 J's, but both closer to the bridge than regular Fender J. I like that on a fretless.
 

Stainless

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Here is a test I did with my fretless when I was preparing to track a metuhl album.
Nice play :) Now i get an idea how to use my fretless in my band better. I always thought it has to mwah :)
 

Florin

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Thanks buddy. Nope, it doesn't have to mwah :) And I didn't used the mwah in a proper way, I was using it to create subtle secondary rhythm patterns, more like one would use that wheel on a synth bass, or a wah pedal, It is kinda cool on long low notes, and I became addicted to it. The only reason I am playing a fretted now is that I had to sell my fretless to fund another expensive passion :)
 

golem

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I mean the secret why the Thumb NT4 is that good for fretless sounds. The pus are at the same position as the fretted version has.
.

The “secret” is that a bass configured to be a snappy, bright fretted bass is also the best configuration for FL.

My intro to “the secret” was a MM StingRay FL. Waaaaay back I owned no StingRays and no FL. Occasionally I’d grab a (fretted) Ray in a shop cuz I was trying to figure out why the Ray was so desirable. Every Ray I tried was too hot and snappy. To me that’s not a bass voice. Then one day I happened on a FL Ray ...... and the rest is history.
 

Stainless

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Thank you all for your input :)
My next question would be: Do you play fretless on stage? Do you swap between fretless and fretted on stage? Do you do it for every song or do you play the fretless songs and than the fretted ones?

For the studio it is even possible to change the bass for some parts of the song, i want to do for the next recording :)
 
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