How many fretless basses?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Matthew_84, Jan 20, 2013.

  1. For you fretless owners, how many fretless basses do you own?

    I'd also like to know why you have the amount that you have. For instance, you may have only one, but it is active with a passive bypass, has two pick-ups and compression wound strings and can get most of the tones you are looking for, or you have three, one is a passive jazz with rounds, and an epoxied board, another is a fretless p bass with flats and a foam mute on a raw ebony board, and the third is an acoustic with tapewounds on a rosewood board, etc.


  2. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Big Dogs Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones
    I have 2. I have my custom Zon 5 string, which was built to my specs and satisfies my needs pretty darn perfectly, and I have an Ibanez Gary Willis as a backup. It's a great bass but even so it doesn't get much playing time because the Zon is a better-than-great bass.
  3. One, a squier VM jazz.
    I want another.
  4. StayinTime


    Sep 26, 2012
    I am considering buying a Carvic fretless bass kit. No fret lines, just the raw Rosewood board.
  5. Sponsored by:

  6. bassRunner

    bassRunner Supporting Member

    Aug 10, 2012
    Urbana, IL
    I currently have one, a MIM fretless jazz bass (unfinished, lined rosewood board). When I can afford it, I'd like to get a fretless six string. Most likely a Carvin LB76 with unfinished, unlined ebony board, jazz-style pickups, active preamp, and piezo pickups in the bridge.
  7. ShoeManiac

    ShoeManiac Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2006
    New Jersey
    Technically? If I went that route, it would be three. I've got an Ernie Ball/Musicman Stingray 5 string fretless, a DeArmond Ashbory, and my NS Design WAV4 electric upright.

    The Stingray 5 is the go-to instrument here. Mine has the piezo pickup bridge, and it's got that tonal "MWAH" going for it. On a gig, it's the easiest instrument for me to change over to if I've been playing fretted bass all night.

    The Ashbory is a totally different animal. Since it's such a short scale instrument I don't use it that often. It's a little tougher to play, and the texture of the silicone strings takes some getting used to. Tonally, it's a really fat sound. Think flatwounds and a mudbucker pickup. But because of the odd scale, it's not something I feel that comfortable playing all the time.

    The NS Design WAV4 is of course an electric upright bass. Because of the design it doesn't play quite like an acoustic upright, and I've seen more than a few players try to attack the strings in a fashion that's akin to electric bass guitar technique. I've found that I can get a fairly decent pizzicato and arco sound from the bass. And I've heard some players get a tone that's akin to fretless bass guitar. But I really don't dig that sound for myself, and I try to treat it far more like an upright.
  8. stock Skyline 55-02 and Gary Willis Gwb35 with pus and electronics by Magnetics. Both excellent axes yet much different and both strongly characterised. I would really like a five strings semihollow fretless like the Star bass II or the (yet to come and in most players dreams) Skyline hollowbody!!!

    Why do I have these? First place: they are lined! I could not play without. Then, the Skyline is 35" scale and with a vast array of tones available; plus the "lifesaver" pre bypass pull volume pot. The Gwb35 has one only pickup in the sweet spot, treble, bass and a narrower spacing. But has a different, strong voice, even more focused now with the new electronics...
  9. unclejane

    unclejane Guest

    Jul 23, 2008
    I own 3 but currently play on 2. The one I no longer play is my Carvin Bunny 6 string unlined and that's only because my left arm can't handle a neck that big anymore.

    The other 2 are:
    - Carvin Bunny 4 string unlined. Ebony board, roundwound strings of unknown make (possibly D'Addarios, I've forgotten). Passive mode only, no batteries in it since I checked out the electronics when I bought it.
    - G&L L2K, '99 model, #8 unlined "bi-cut" neck with ebony board. D'Addario (I think) flats, passive mode only (hasn't had a battery in it in almost 10 years).

    I wish I could have just one, but I'm unable to get rid of either one of these. Both together, they cover what I need right now (which isn't much due to injury, hearing damage and no more gigging)....

  10. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    In addition to two double basses and an Azola EUB, I have two fretless electric basses:

    '73 P-bass with quarter-pounders;
    Lakland 55-02D.
  11. One. A Fender 62 reissue Jazz Bass.
  12. Low Class

    Low Class Supporting Member

    Jul 4, 2005
    Orange Park, Florida
    Two Fender J types, one with Moses graphite neck and one with a Warmoth neck. Both passive, but sometimes use a preamp pedal.
  13. BassChuck


    Nov 15, 2005
    Two. Jazz active (main bass) and P-passive.
  14. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Gold Supporting Member

    Just one, Fender Jaco Pastorius Artist Bass, epoxy job done by HG Thor. Currently with flats but I will eventually throw some rounds on there.

    I recently got rid of my Squier VM Jazz and was extremely happy to see it go, it was alright after hours of man time went into it but what a dog from the factory.
  15. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    Groom Lake, NV
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I had two at one time (Pedulla ThunderBolt 5 and Lakland 55-94) but the band I used them in broke up, so I sold them. The Pedulla had much more mwah and bite, but that could've been because I had TI Jazz Flats on it and tapewounds on the Lakland. Also the preamp in the 55-94 was a little less aggressive.
  16. f64


    Oct 31, 2009
    I have two. The first is a Rob Allen MB-2 which has only a piezo in the bridge. It replicates an upright sound really well but is a lot easier to tote. The second is a Warwick Star Bass II with two pups. Being a hollow body it's range is diverse from jazz to rock to slap.
  17. kreider204


    Nov 29, 2008
    WI, USA
    Just one. These days, I mostly play upright, but there's the occasional tune that calls for a fretless. I went with humbuckers and keep them both on and the active eq flat most of the time, so get as smooth and balanced a tone as possible, and I use flatwound strings - I find that works best for the stuff I'm playing (fairly straight-up jazz). If I were playing more rock and roll, I could definitely see wanting another that I could string up with roundwounds, though.
  18. giacomini


    Dec 14, 2008
    Florianopolis - Brazil
    Endorsing: Copetti Guitars
    I have one, a P/J with an ebony fingerboard strung with flats. Right now I'm not GASing for another fretless; the one I have suit my needs.
  19. Passinwind

    Passinwind ......Charlie Escher Supporting Member

    Two. The best sounding one is ancient, way too heavy to play long gigs with, and takes a long time to stabilize tuning wise. I use it mainly for slide bass these days. My second one was built by a friend, was an impulse buy, and after ten years and a fair amount of tinkering I am finally starting to really appreciate it.

    I also have an EUB, and use that way more of the time on gigs than the other two. I haven't owned a fretted bass for upwards of twenty years, don't really enjoy playing 'em much at all.
  20. Crabby


    Dec 22, 2004
    I only have one fretless, my Musicman Sterling4 but have been through a few in the past few years. The Sterling comes closest to the tone I hear in my head so far!
  21. bass5str


    Jun 27, 2010
    i'm down to three and sadly am letting go of one :(

    1: 5 string clement with diamondwood board & strung with rounds. my main player.
    2: 5 string clement with piezo and flats. can cop a solid upright tone.
    3: 1978 franken fender jazz with pbass maple fingerboard. does the fretless jazz thing to perfection with a neck that is more comfy for me. at some point i will get around to epoxying the board but skills and finances make that tough at present time.
    4: 5 string clement with african olive fingerboard. great instrument but i no longer have the financial luxury to keep it in the stable. a "last one in... first one out" situation.