Originally Posted by deevit
I can see why you think this, but it isn't right I'm afraid.. The lines are just a little help to find the place the right note is at but you still have to intonate it yourself. If you play fretless and just play dead on the lines you didn't get the idea of fretless bass. Also, it helps a lot to keep overall view on the 'fret'board IME.
A lot of the biggest fretless players out there use fretlines, and that's not cause they have bad ears.. For example; here's a quote from Gary Willis, who is the best fretless player out there IMO.
There's nothing "not right" about what he said- frankly, having seen and taught lots of bass players, guys who play with lines tend to use them as a crutch for way too long and have far less developed sense of intonation than unlined players. Of course you have to adapt and intonate, but I've found that lined players don't do this very well because most have ears so bad that they don't even realize that X line is actually not very in tune.
Either one is fine, but the learning curve on an unlined is much smaller than you think (with exception to in the higher registers, but all fretless players suck there for a long time) and they tend to pay significantly more attention to developing their ear than lined players.
Quoting Willis isn't a good strategy either- he is ABSOLUTELY resolute that his opinions on fretless are the gospel. I don't mind, because I love his playing and have taken lessons from him in the past, but I wouldn't call him an objective party.