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4-string fretless

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by anxietyband.com, Aug 30, 2004.

  1. anxietyband.com


    Aug 19, 2004
    Not sure where to start. I'm THINKING about going fretless (have 3 fretted basses already) but not really sure what to do about it. What style of music is best fitted for fretless? I've got 2 bands, one of which is a more vintage rock-blues feel, another band is a straight rock. Would a fretless fit in?

    If it DOES fit in anywhere, then what 4-string fretless do you suggest? I'm wanting to stay under $1500, so keep that in mind. Right now, the axe i'm interested in is one by warwick. Let me know what you suggest.
  2. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    Under $1500? No question in my mind. A used Zon. I have a Sonus Custom fretless five that I bought used. I compared it to every fretless I could find, and it beat them all. The only one that came close was a Peavey Cirrus fretless, which would be my second recommendation. You can get one of those new for under $1500.Fretless works in any kind of music. I use mine primarily at church, but I have also used it for oldies, hard rock, metal, and R&B. About the only thing that a fretless won't do is the metallic slap sound. You can slap on a fretless, but it sounds different than slapping on a fretted.
  3. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    There are Cirrus fretlesses? How much do they run for and what fingerboard wood are they?

    The fretless will probably go geat in your vintage rock/blues band. Bill Wyman was playing fretless in the 60's.

    Finally...a used Zon would be a great choice. Another might be a used FBass -- they're fantastic instruments.
  4. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    The Cirrus fretless comes with a pau ferro board.

    The one that I almost bought sounded better than a Pedulla Buzz, a Roscoe, a Lakland 55-94 and a Modulus that I put it up against. There were others too, but they were a lot lower priced than the ones I mentioned.
  5. Niskamies


    Jan 13, 2004
    You will not make a bad purcase, if you buy a Fender Jaco Pastorius model.
  6. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    That's incredibly awesome. My GAS for a Cirrus has returned! IIRC, pau ferro is much more resilient to wear that rosewood, correct?

    Niskamies is very right. The Jaco fretlesses are pretty awesome. The relics are apparently pretty sweet too, but my opinion, as well as that of a LOT of people, is that you can spend a lot less and bang the bass up yourself :D.
  7. apollo11


    Aug 19, 2004
    New York
    I've got a Music Man Sterling fretless, with pau ferro fretboard, and let me tell you, the bass is fantastic. They can be had for $800 or so used & $1200 range new. I have never heard a bass with such low tones on the E string. The F & G notes are spectacularly clear and deep. They remind me of early McCartney style---booming. If you don't like the booming sound, the controls give you endless tones.

    I also have a MIM Fender jazz fretless, which I never liked from the beginning. Playability is nice, but the sounds in the upper register are just dull and boring. You are on the right track about what you will spend. Don't go inexpensive, as the differences are immense.
  8. Mud Flaps

    Mud Flaps

    Feb 3, 2003
    Norton, MA
    How about a Lakland 44-02? It's half-way between a Jazz and a Stingray. You can get the Jaco sound and pretty much any classic fretless sound you can think of. Unless you're a devout fan of Les Claypool (in which case I'd go with a Peavey Cirrus), I'd go with a 44-02.
  9. Isn't this true for playing the fretless in any context? It's true that you can slap on a fretless but it sounds different. It's also true that regular fingerstyle playing sounds different. Just about anything you play on a fretless sounds different. They're just totally different instruments. I realize that some fretless basses can do a better job of covering up their fretlessness than others, but no fretless will ever sound exactly like a fretted.

    As far as whether a fretless will work in different styles, I agree that they can potentially work in any style. However, playing a fretless in a heavy metal band wouldn't be a traditional sound. In fact, I'd go as far to say that any bass can work in any style of music. Who are we to really dictate what works and what doesn't work for other people? Just a thought.
  10. DDXdesign

    DDXdesign formerly 'jammadave' Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2003
    Wash DC metro area
    Well, I have a love for fretless Warwicks, I've owned 4 and the last one is actually for sale in the FS forum (and quite under 1500 bux!)... The Warwick sound on fretless is godly, IMHO, and is to me perfect even for heavy rock. My Buzzard is ebony-boarded as all Warwick fl's are, and I have roundwound strings on it. I play music ranging from, say, Cream to Barenaked Ladies to old-school Metallica and even some funky, trip-hoppy stuff. This bass has served me quite well in every song, I used to take only this one to rehearsals with my former cover band.

    The sound of the bass set up the way I have it is extra-growly. Actually sounds like it has a touch of overdrive and chorus built in, if you're digging in.
  11. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    True. But I was trying to relate the fact that a fretless can do basically anything a fretted can, except for clicky, metallic slap.

    I can make my fretless sound like a fretted, on anything except for slap.