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5-srting or fretless?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Fishbrain, Mar 17, 2001.


  1. Fishbrain

    Fishbrain

    Dec 8, 2000
    England, Liverpool
    Endorsing Artist: Warwick Bass and Amp
    today I went to town on a budget. I wasn't sure whether to get a 5 or a fretless. I tried a five vintage for £179 which was a crap guitar and had been finished badly. But I don't know if that has put me off 5's so I have ordered an Ibanez can't remember the model number and it was £239.

    then i tried a fretless vintage for £179 which was I liked but my dad sed it was a bit crap. then i tried a 2nd hand fender fretless which i never liked but my dad did.

    I really want a fretless and a 5 string but I dont know which one!?!?! can I have some advice please?


    Oh yeah, my band is punk rock but I wanna try and through some chili pepps in there to.
     
  2. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    California
    For flea style stuff you don't need either a fiver or a fretless. If anything, I'd invest in a better four.

    Why do you want a fretless?

    Will C.:cool:
     
  3. Fishbrain

    Fishbrain

    Dec 8, 2000
    England, Liverpool
    Endorsing Artist: Warwick Bass and Amp
    they're just cool, and gives you more freedom and room to improvise i suppose.
     
  4. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    California
    Hey, Fish.

    The idea that a fretless gives you more freedom is not entirely true. Sure, you have the power to slide in and out of notes, but on the other hand, you have to be more attentive to your intonation.

    I would argue that the amount of "freedom" to improvise is equal on fretted and fretless basses. It's all a matter of what you do with what you have. Getting a fretless without exactly knowing why you want it is like throwing money away.

    Will C.:cool:
     
  5. Fishbrain

    Fishbrain

    Dec 8, 2000
    England, Liverpool
    Endorsing Artist: Warwick Bass and Amp
    so u sayin I shud get the 5r?
     
  6. Oysterman

    Oysterman

    Mar 30, 2000
    Sweden
    You could use a fretted 5 in your band. Your fretless would only be played at home. And that would be a waste, eh?
     
  7. Fishbrain

    Fishbrain

    Dec 8, 2000
    England, Liverpool
    Endorsing Artist: Warwick Bass and Amp
  8. air_leech

    air_leech

    Sep 1, 2000
    Israel
    Fish,
    your dad might not like what I am about to say but I think unless he has some musical experience he shouldn't advise you on what is better and what not, only you can decide on wether that certain bass fits you or not.

    that said I would advise that you just get a fretless 5 but....
    if you play punk and want to play Flea style you might be better without either a fretless or a 5.

    either get a Fender P-bass for that classic punk tone or get a used MM Stingray so you have both the RHCP tone and a nice punk rock tone.
    these might cost a bit more but are worth it and I think you should try them first before you lob the cash for one of the basses you tried.
     
  9. air_leech

    air_leech

    Sep 1, 2000
    Israel
    nearly forgot, I wanted to remind you Sting played a fretless P-bass in his psuedo punk days of the early Police albums and he sounds just great in relation to the context but I'm not sure that would work quite as well with harder punk nor with the new school punk which is probably what you are refering to (green day, offspring, NOFX etc.).
     
  10. Fishbrain

    Fishbrain

    Dec 8, 2000
    England, Liverpool
    Endorsing Artist: Warwick Bass and Amp
    thanx for all the advise but I am set on a 5 string. and my dad has played guitar for years not bass but still guitar. and its him paying for it so he has to have the final say. :(
     
  11. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    What's with the either/or?

    [​IMG]
     
  12. Fishbrain

    Fishbrain

    Dec 8, 2000
    England, Liverpool
    Endorsing Artist: Warwick Bass and Amp
    so u like 5 strings then?
     
  13. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    But there is a big difference here - if you are paying like £2,000 (which is what Munji's basses would cost in the UK) then you are going to get a very "usable" B string! ;)

    But if you are paying £200 for a bass, then compromises will have to made and you are very unlikely to get a B string that is worth having. I would say that, on a budget, it's best to get the basics right and a second-hand Fender is going to be a much better bet than any new 5-string at around the same price.

    I have seen the "Vintage" range of instruments in the UK and they are just not worth having!! Probably the equivalent of Rogue or worse! If you can get a Fender this is definitely a better investment.

    You will undoubtedly move on to another bass and the Fender will hold its value and get a good trade-in value. Whereas things like Vintage or even cheap Ibanez basses will have virtually no re-sale value and the guy in the shop will probably say he doesn't even want to stock it , so you will have to sell privately, whereas used Fenders can always be sold, so will be taken as "trade-ins".

    You can also "upgrade" Fenders easily, but this is much more dfifficult with Ibanez as there is no standard model and they change every year.

    My view is that you can't get a decent 5-string new for around £200 in the UK - used basses are a better bet at this price range and even then, you will be better off with a basic model. If you could go up to £400, I think you could get a MIM Fender 5 which is probably the best way into 5s that you can get in the UK.

    You have to remember when you're talking to these "Yanks" that they pay massively less than us for basses and just about everything else, so you have to bear this in mind when considering their advice!! :D

    Those two basses that Munji has posted are worth more than my car!!
     
  14. Well, a car is just a bass case with casters, isn't it? Makes sense to put more money in the bass than the case.
     
  15. Fishbrain

    Fishbrain

    Dec 8, 2000
    England, Liverpool
    Endorsing Artist: Warwick Bass and Amp
    but it would take me years to save £400!

    i am only just 13, u know!
     
  16. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well - even more reason, not to buy a bass now, that will depreciate in value to "next-to-nothing" by the time you want to trade it in for a better one.

    I got my first bass when I was about 13 and it cost me £15 !!- but I couldn't sell it on and gave it away for nothing.

    If we're being serious here - I wouldn't let yourself be "seduced" by the extra string - on a tight budget, you just want to get the best bass you can and get a 5 when you can afford one that's worth playing - maybe in a few year's time.

    I think I got my first Saturday job in Tesco's when I was about 14 or 15 and spent all the money I got on records. Once I was working evenings and weekends, I remember I had the money, but not the time to play bass, with school and homework etc.

    But I remember talking to this other bloke working there who was the same age as me, but went to a different school and he had bought a Gibson Les Paul and a huge Marshall stack - but he only played it on his bedroom and if he turned the volume knob above "0" it would feedback and he's get knocks on the wall from the neighbours - so my view was what's the point? It wasn't until we got to the sixth form that we were allowed to play "rock music" at school concerts and it was only by the time I got to 16/17 that I thought it was worth buying any gear, as there was no chance to use it before then anyway.

    There's probably a moral to this story, but I can't think of anything except to say that you're lucky your Dad is taking an interest - all my family were violently opposed to me playing bass, as they thought it would interfere with my schoolwork and getting a decent job - they were probably right - as I've spent vastly more money on buying gear than I've ever made out of music and would be fairly well-off if it wasn't for this obsession! But I wouldn't give it up though!
     
  17. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well you could take that logic further and say : "A house is just a place to store your basses"! So maybe you should pay more for your basses than you do for your house - I think this is the argument that John Turner applies to his bass-buying! ;)
     
  18. I totally agree with Bruce. Get the best bass you can to start with (and at the price you are talking about it will be a 4 string). Save the fancy stuff till later.

    A four string fretted bass is a BASS and that's all you need to start playing.

    Andy
     
  19. > "A house is just a place to store your basses"!

    Darn, I wish I'd realized that before I bought this place!
     
  20. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    not far from the truth. the biggest reason why i bought this house was that i could envision the basement's relatively easy conversion to a usable studio.