Guitar World magazine has charted the history of the fretless bass in an in-depth article, citing Bill as the original inventor.

The history of the fretless guitar has been laid bare in a lengthy feature in Guitar World.

While the article explores many claims for its invention, it’s Bill that is cited as the earliest inventor long before it became mainstream.

The article states:

However, the most likely theory is that the earliest fretless player to receive much widespread attention was Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones, who played a home-made fretless as early as 1961.

It began life as a standard fretted instrument, as the laconic four-stringer revealed in an interview some years ago: “I was playing in an R&B band in 1961 when I bought [the bass] from this guy our drummer knew. Before that I’d been playing bass on the bottom two strings of a detuned guitar, so I was glad to finally have a ‘real’ bass. Unfortunately, it was bloody horrible!… it rattled with every note because the frets were so worn. I figured I’d just pull out all the frets and put in new ones when I could afford some. But when I pulled ’em out, it suddenly sounded really good! So I never put frets back in, and I think it was the first fretless electric ever. I used it on every Stones album and many of the singles up to 1975. Even without an amp, it sounds wonderful — it’s got the sound.”

Read the entire feature at Guitar World.

Read more about Bill Wyman’s Signature Bass.