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The first fretless bass guitar was made by Bill Wyman in 1961 when he converted a used UK-built ‘Dallas Tuxedo’ bass by removing the frets and filling in the slots with wood putty.[25][26][27] The first production fretless bass was the Ampeg AUB-1 introduced in 1966, and Fender introduced a fretless Precision Bass in 1970. Around 1970, Rick Danko from The Band began to use an Ampeg fretless, which he modified with Fender pickups—as heard on the 1971 Cahoots studio album and the Rock of Ages album recorded live in 1971.[28][29] Danko said, "It's a challenge to play fretless because you have to really use your ear."[30] In the early 1970s, fusion-jazz bassist Jaco Pastorius had the fingerboard of his de-fretted Fender Jazz Bass coated in epoxy resin, allowing him to use roundwound strings for a brighter sound.[31] Some fretless basses have "fret line" markers inlaid in the fingerboard as a guide, while others only use guide marks on the side of the neck.
If you really want to distinguish yourself as a bassist, it can pay to think outside the box and go for something a bit less traditional. For example, there are musical styles and occasions where an electric bass may be slightly out of place. In those cases, you can turn to an acoustic-electric bass. These have a classic sound all their own, and if you're headed to a festival or singing around a campfire, they'll do the job even without an amplifier handy.
Most basses have a volume potentiometer ("pot" or "knob"), which can be turned up or down, and a tone potentiometer, which rolls off the high frequencies when it is turned to the player's right. Some basses may also have a pickup selector control or switch, to select single-coil or humbucking pickups. Since the 1980s, basses are often available with battery-powered "active" electronics that boost the signal with a preamplifier and provide equalization controls to boost or cut bass and treble frequencies, or both. Some expensive basses have even more equalization options, such as bass, middle and treble.
Electronic drum pads are the second most widely used type of MIDI performance controllers, after electronic music keyboards.[19]:319–320 Drum controllers may be built into drum machines, they may be standalone control surfaces (e.g., rubber drum pads), or they may emulate the look and feel of acoustic percussion instruments. The pads built into drum machines are typically too small and fragile to be played with sticks, and they are usually played with fingers.[20]:88 Dedicated drum pads such as the Roland Octapad or the DrumKAT are playable with the hands or with sticks, and are often built to resemble the general form of a drum kit. There are also percussion controllers such as the vibraphone-style MalletKAT,[20]:88–91 and Don Buchla's Marimba Lumina.[21]
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