Lets talk about fretless bass.
Among custom bass guitars, the fretless is probably the most important bass of them all. It is most definitely the most expressive bass instrument out there. For a very long time bass players have been trying to break through the rhythm section role or job, and many of them have had incredible results. Rybski himself is a fretless bass fanatic and very accomplished player as well. His fascination with fretless started, like many of the bass heads of his generation, listening to Jaco.
When Rybski first listened to “Weather Report,” he knew immediately where his heart would be for a long time. Having a background in classical musicianship helped Rybski quickly combine the traditional bass and the ever-changing trends of electric bass guitar. “Weather Report” is actually a very good example of a smooth transition from classic acoustic sound to electric bass, which is changing everywhere and all the time on the music scene.
Due to the demands of the new music, new tonal demands started to affect custom electric bass builders all over the world. It started decades ago as custom work with existing fretted basses (pulling frets out) and quickly became a completely new direction in bass building. Unfortunately not many players mastered the very difficult fretless playing style. Most continued to play fretted basses, but new generations of outstanding bassists keep coming up all the time. We are beginning to see a huge variety of styles and sounds from punchy, aggressive yet singing Jaco to huge, soft technically amazing Antony Jackson, from melodic, precise, fast Alain Caron to dark, funky, dangerous Gary Willys, etc.
This is where all the building fun starts. Some players are finding the fretless custom bass guitar attractive because they like the feedback in the touch and the dexterity required. Another group is finding they can now have the exact feel or sound at their fingertips. This means players don’t have to compromise or re-invent the sounds they are looking for due to the incredible range of instrument possibilities. Traditionally to achieve a solo status, a bass player would pick a piccolo bass, but thanks to the custom bass guitar trends he can now pick a 5,6,7,or even 11 string bass today.
Although there are some of crazy instruments out there, Rybski has focused on 5 and 6 string basses. But of course anything is exiting, and building something out of the ordinary is always a welcome challenge. A Rybski fretless custom bass guitar is always different from any others – different tasteful combinations of woods, unique pickups & electronics, spectacular finish.
Successfully completing a Rybski bass depends on the integration of many design ideas and the best components into the final product. This is a very complex process involving many years of experience, knowledge of music, tonal spectrums, wood, and electronics.
All this technical knowledge is useless without a deep understanding of musicians, their techniques, the anatomy of their hands, and even their souls. For Rybski, there is no point in simply building something beautiful – it must also function flawlessly in the hands of the artist. For over thirty years, Rybski has built his reputation and success by meeting – then exceeding – the demands of great players.