Who Makes a Kick Ass Fretless Jazz?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by gre107, Nov 8, 2012.


  1. gre107

    gre107 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2005
    Location:
    PA
    Hello Bass Brethren!
    Looking to get a Fretless Jazz bass and am looking for any suggestions for Luthiers I should be looking into.

    Specifically, I'm looking for a Jazz style bass with:
    34" scale
    Full size Ash body (crazy top not necessary)
    Maple Neck 12"+ radius
    Ebony fretboard (no lines and epoxied)
    21 + frets
    Active / Passive preamp
    High Mass bridge
    And can handle insane low action if needed
    And most importantly sound full and punchy!

    And I'd like to do all of this for no more than 2K.

    Thanks for any suggestions!
  2. Duckwater

    Duckwater

    Joined:
    May 10, 2010
    Location:
    USA, Washington
    Squire VM Fretless Jazz with an active preamp added
  3. Geroi Asfalta

    Geroi Asfalta

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2011
  4. spector_boogie

    spector_boogie No Limit Honky Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2012
    Location:
    The Woodlands, TX
    Ever considered a Modulus VJ? You could probably find a fretless in that $2k and under range pretty easy.
  5. StuartV

    StuartV Out of GAS!! Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2006
    Location:
    Bristow, VA
    I put my own together using a Warmoth body (with a crazy top :)) and an Allparts neck.

    I did not epoxy the fretboard or put a preamp in it. But, I have well under $1K in it.

    I did put good pickups in it (which were not expensive) and it sounds very full and punchy.

    Oh, and mine is the standard 20 fret Fender style. But you can get a 21 fret neck from Warmoth that will fit in a standard Fender neck pocket. The fretboard just overhangs the body a little bit to add the 21st fret. I.e. the body's neck pocket would be sized for a Fender 20 fret neck.
  6. zon6c-f

    zon6c-f

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2007
    Location:
    Metro Atlanta, Ga.
    Don't know your budget, but ZON Sonus was designed as the "ultimate jazz"; composite neck and fingerboard; Bartolini pups, can achieve insanely low action, sustain.

    Used above $1500. New above $3-$4,000 depending on exotic tops, which you probably don't want. Zon has an off-shiore line as well; less bucks.

    You can spend more $$ but probably won't get a noticeably better bass than Zon. Check out their site for accurate details.
  7. Grateful

    Grateful Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2007
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Carvin, hands down.

    You have your choice of many different models that you can custom build to your exact spec, including choice of woods etc... Ebony necks are standard (no extra cost) and the hard-as-nails finish is an option.

    Unless you go nuts, you will also walk away with plenty of cash left over. You'll also have a bass that will rival any pretty much fretless in your price range.
  8. Marial

    Marial Proud Papa Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2011
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Mileages clearly vary, but I had one and it was absolutely the most disappointing bass I've ever owned. Maybe I just got a bad one, but it was just lifeless, I don't know how else to describe the tone.
  9. Gorn Captain

    Gorn Captain Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2011
    Location:
    Queens NY
    +1
  10. jim777

    jim777 Tarantula Lobbyist

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2006
    Location:
    South Jersey
    +2
  11. Ivan R

    Ivan R

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2012
    Not exactly a Jazz, but the Tony Franklin Fretless Precision has a Jazz pickup and the unlined ebony board you want.

    It is the best bass I've ever played in my life, bar none.
  12. bigsnaketex

    bigsnaketex Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2011
    Location:
    Down South
    Lakland AJ - hand's down!!
  13. tylerwylie

    tylerwylie Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2008
    Location:
    Champaign, IL
    Call Tom Clement; clementbass.com

    Custom built and can do it under 2k.
  14. grisezd

    grisezd Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2009
    Location:
    Ohio
    Here's another vote for Warmoth. I did a swamp ash body, wenge neck, pau ferro unlined board, no pickguard, then added a generic J at the bridge and a Model One at the standard Jazz neck position (routed towards the neck from the original cut). I plan to put a preamp in in some day, but it sounds so great I've just left it alone. I dyed, tung oiled, and waxed the body with the natural grain "exposed" (not buried in gloss). Neck and board don't need or want finish! I have well under a grand in it, and the only "special" skills I used were cutting a nut from stock I had on hand (Warmoth will be happy to do it for you) and soldering.

    I don't feel like I'd appreciate an epoxied board, but I've heard of people famous for doing that job. Maybe drop cash into your electronics and neck finishing, then screw it together yourself!

    Downside is resale, but since you put it together yourself you can part it out or change it as you go and keep your value.

    The funny thing is that I was a little worried that I'd treat this bass roughly as I do all my home-builds and frankensteins. But it turned out so nice I tend to, not quite baby it, but I try to make sure it doesn't fall off my amp!
  15. Ivan M

    Ivan M Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2010
    Location:
    Bronx, NY
    I have tried a few, but the nicest sounding and playing to me was a PEDULLA PENTA BUZZ. Man it does not look like a Jazz Bass, but WOW is all i can say. Here is a link from the tube Penta being used......Enjoy!

  16. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2005
    Location:
    Cincinnati
    One more for Warmoth. Solid walnut body, Mighty Mite neck, Dimarzio humbuckers, and Audere 3z. Less than $1K. I'm very happy with it.
  17. DaveAceofBass

    DaveAceofBass Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2004
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    I picked up a Hamer CruiseBass fretless 5-string with 2Tek bridge from the classifieds and had the FB epoxied by my tech. I probably have under $800 in it and it's freaking awesome. Great fretless jazz! Specs very close to what you're looking for. Another one recently was sold to Fretno...maybe he's not using it...
  18. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2011
    Location:
    charles town, wv
    Ben Lindsey. He made me a Jaco repro that kicks ass. Get someone to make a bass for you, it was the best thing I ever did.
  19. bassdude51

    bassdude51 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2008
    Location:
    Central Ohio
    My suggestion for a nice J fretless for under $1,000, find a nice used Jazz Bass for around $400 to $800 (depending if you are ok with MIM, MIJ or MIA). (hummm, I have a USA Fender Jazz loaded body on TB right now http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f129/...y-hwy-one-trans-red-wine-931174/#post13422190)

    Remove the neck and sell it getting back around $150 to $250.

    Buy a Warmoth fretless neck (hummm, I have one you might like, PM me.) new or used for $190 to $250.

    Then buy an Audere active pre-amp for $149 to $179.

    Bingo! A super nice fretless with money left over.

    Keep in mind, many of us have gone the fretless route and very quickly decided that we'd better stick with frets. So, don't spend too much on a fretless. You might change your mind.
  20. bassyj

    bassyj

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2008
    Location:
    cuyahoga falls, ohio
    Another vote for warmoth... But I've heard that this company called fender can make pretty decent jazz basses ;)

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