Looking for a fretless acoustic/electric

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Crazy_Climer, Feb 1, 2014.


  1. Crazy_Climer

    Crazy_Climer

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2012
    Location:
    Central WA
    I am beginning my search for a fretless acoustic/electric bass. I am curious to hear all y'alls opinions on this sort of beast, and why you like your suggested brand/model/etc. I play a 5-string electric now (and this A/E would be additional, not in replacement of the electric), so do like the extra range offered by it, but am not limiting my interest to only 5-string. Let the commentary begin!
  2. Neener

    Neener Grumpy Old Dog Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2007
    Location:
    Mechanicsburg, PA
    Depending on your budget, Rob Allen and Carvin come to mind. Unfortunately I have no experience with neither so other than throwing out those two brands, I'll be watching from the sideline. :smug:
  3. Gorn Captain

    Gorn Captain Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2011
    Location:
    Queens NY
    Low end? The Ibanez acoustic fretless ain't bad. 32" scale at around $200.
    ~$500-$700? The carvin ac40f is an outstanding bass.
    As for high end, I've never played one, but I've only ever heard good things about rob allens.
  4. Crazy_Climer

    Crazy_Climer

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2012
    Location:
    Central WA
    While I initially didn't say anything about budget, I should probably say that I am one of those people that won't go for something just because it's the cheapest (Frugal?), but I also won't go for something just because it's the most expensive (Prestige?). I believe in good value for my $$$. I'd rather spend a little extra for something that's going to last, and be a good, consistent player rather than to be happy for an initial savings, only to be pissed off 6 months later that I now hold a piece of junk. On the flip side of that, I am not in to paying extra money for some name-brand, if there's something of acceptable/reasonable quality for fewer $$$.

    With all of that said, this would not likely be my primary instrument, nor do I have a lot of expendable cash. So, something in the sub $500 range would be where I'll be looking. Again, if you have a suggestion, please tell me what you like about it.
  5. Gorn Captain

    Gorn Captain Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2011
    Location:
    Queens NY
    If you can find an ac40, it's hard to go wrong. Thin bodied with a very comfortable neck. If you have about $1200 to spend, you can order a new one custom.
  6. MD

    MD

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2000
    Location:
    Marin Co. CA.
  7. TN WOODMAN

    TN WOODMAN

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2011
    Location:
    Smyrna, Tennessee.
    I thought I wanted an acoustic bass until after playing a bunch decided to sound decent they all required amplification , even in unplugged situations with acoustic guitars .

    Now everyone is amping their acoustic guitars, I'll just use one of my electric basses , maybe my Rivoli semi acoustic at low volume .
  8. wardak

    wardak Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2001
    Location:
    East of St Louis, in IL
    Ended up at the same conclusion TN did. The need for the amp took away the utility of acoustic, went for a hollow electric instead, having fun with that. Can't help you with the fretless part, but another angle for you to check out
  9. Crazy_Climer

    Crazy_Climer

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2012
    Location:
    Central WA
    I am not thinking of this necessarily as an acoustic-only thing, where I'd then be "burdened" with amplifying to keep up with acoustic guitars (especially since I already have the amp available). I'm thinking of it more as another tonal option, where there are times that the electric just doesn't seem to fit the style of the music. Even if I set my knobs just right, and play differently, I can't get that same tone from my electric. Though, if the hollow-body electrics you have mentioned come close, that certainly may be worth checking out.
  10. TN WOODMAN

    TN WOODMAN

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2011
    Location:
    Smyrna, Tennessee.
    As a side note, I like using Rotosound black tapewounds on my Rivoli and keep tapes on one of my Fretless jazz as well for an uprightish tone . Highly suggest trying tape wounds if you haven 't. Many are digging the La Bella white tapes, but I haven 't tried them yet .
  11. Caca de Kick

    Caca de Kick Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2002
    Location:
    Seattle / Tacoma
    I've owned a bunch of the typical large body ABG's, and each one I got tired of my arm having to reach around. I got to try both Rob Allen and Carvin AC40, perfect since you have to amplify anyway. So Carvin is what I'll get.
  12. punkjazzben

    punkjazzben

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2008
    Location:
    Australia
    Ibanez is definitely good bang for your buck. They make good acoustics, and not just 'for the money'. Not sure if they do a fretless though.

    The Warwick RockBass Aliens come in all sorts of configurations (4/5/6 string, fretted/fretless), have a good electronics package, and seem to be well-regarded. If I didn't stumble over my Ibanez ABG in a store for a steal, I'd have probably saved a bit more and gone for the Warwick.

    [​IMG]
  13. bassteban

    bassteban

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2004
    Location:
    Northern California
    I defretted a Washburn AB-20- nice for solo/bedroom noodling/practice, but w/the smallish body, it's useless as soon as anyone breathing enters the room. It is pretty feedback-resistant amplified
  14. jg919

    jg919

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2010
    Location:
    NSW Australia
    Hi! My wife actually bought me a Warwick Alien Bass - fretless 4 - and it is AMAZING! The variety of tones from just moving your hand positions are endless - and it sounds beautiful when amplified, either through a Bass amp or direct! I cannot say enough great things about this instrument - GET ONE! :)
  15. lz4005

    lz4005

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2013
    I highly recommend looking for a used Godin A4 or A5. They're great quality and sound really good.

    Full acoustic top, but no thicker than a normal electric. With the right strings and setup you can go from sounding very upright-like to jaco-ish just by changing the onboard EQ and where you put your right hand.

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