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Advice on an inexpensive, but good fretless bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by phephron, Dec 8, 2013.

  1. phephron

    phephron Supporting Member

    May 5, 2004
    I am just a church playing bass guitar player. My main bass is a EBMM Sterling but I switch out with a G&L 2500 as well. I would love to learn fretless, but the fretless basses I see in the classified sections are all gorgeous, and in excess of $1000 - too expensive to experiment with for me.

    I would love some advice on a good playing (I love the Sterling neck, and the 1.5" width at the nut), and good sounding fretless that won't break the bank? I am thinking around $500? I am not much for buying and selling -I tend to become attached to instruments I buy. Also I live in the FL panhandle, and so Bass Central in Atlanta to even try some basses is a 6 hour drive...

    I would love any thoughtful advice, or help. Thanks.

  2. roninrindra


    Nov 26, 2013
    Cort B4fl..nice mwaah sound & playability
  3. Lee Moses

    Lee Moses

    Apr 2, 2013
    This is a fairly frequent question, so you might go back and check previous threads. But I would say, Keep your eye on the classifieds here at TB. There are some great fretlesses currently being offered, and if you are willing to buy used, you can get a great instrument for around your price range.
  4. basspraiser

    basspraiser Jammin for the Lamb! Supporting Member

    Dec 8, 2006
    Chicago - NW Burbs
    Check out a fretless 44-01 or a fretless Squier Vintage Modified bass....

    OR better yet....save up your money for a fretless 44-02 or 55-02...being a church player (P&W) you will appreciate the sound variability.....to whet your appetite, listen to this Lakland 44-94 (same electronics as a 44-02):


    I have 2 Lakie fretless basses and LOVE them both (44-60 and a double humbucker 55-94 semi-custom).

    I play almost exclusively P&W music and a good fretless fits in well at times...
  5. Squier VM Jazz fretless. Best playing $300 bass I've ever laid my hands on..
  6. I recently picked up a used Squier VM Jazz fretless at GC witha hard case for $150. I think it's sweet. Look for a good deal.
  7. St. Louis Scot

    St. Louis Scot

    Sep 16, 2013
    Austin, Tx
  8. The MIJ Jazzes have spectacular Jaco tone IMHO.

    Buy used would be a good idea but check the fingerboard for wear first.

    Have you considered a fretless ABG?

  9. punkjazzben


    Jun 26, 2008
    Squier VM Jazz fretless would be my first recommendation, but Cort and ESP Ltd. also offer good options in the $500-and-under range.
  10. popgadget

    popgadget Supporting Member Commercial User

    Sep 4, 2005
    Eastern, PA USA
    Authorized Greenboy Designs Builder, Scabbey Road
    There seems to be a batch of MIA fretless Jazz basses from the 90's with lined necks, (for some reason most seem to be black) that sell for way under $1000 used. Squires and MIM are less. There's a fretless Mustang on eBay now that's under $500.
  11. Gorn

    Gorn Supporting Member

    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    Used Carvin.
  12. frankieC

    frankieC A swell guy from Warren Harding High

    Jul 21, 2012
    Look at Fender MIMs and Squier fretless basses, inexpensive and usually good players.

    Carvin makes a good fretless bass that is fairly inexpensive in the B40 and B50 lines, and they are customizable and still come in well under $1K.

    There are also the SX basses. You can pick up and inexpensive fretless from Rondo Music for less than $200 on up to about $600.

    There there is a host of used basses from just about any manufacturer.

    Plenty of choices and opportunities at inexpensive and good fretless basses.
  13. For unlined , ESP LTD 214. 379 new .
  14. Mim fender jazz and ibanez GWB35. Both pretty are good fretless basses for the money. I personally wouldn't spend a ton of money on your first fretless. The used market for fretlesses is worse than for fretted when it comes to selling. So if you spend over a grand and don't stick with it its a big loss. I'd also recommend something with fret lines if possible at least for your first fretless. They really helped me stick with it.
  15. Moe Monsarrat

    Moe Monsarrat Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2006
    Austin, Tx.
    Endorsing artist:Regenerate Guitar Works Carvin, Micheal Kelly Guitars
    SX I believe, makes a cool looking violin fretless bass. I would bet it sounds ok. The Squier VM would be hard to pass up for the money. I won't play a lined neck but I'd say if you're just starting out on fretless it might be the way to go.
  16. Gorn

    Gorn Supporting Member

    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    I briefly had that violin fretless. It sounded great. If I weren't terrible at fretless, I woulda kept it.

    The stock strings were pretty awful, but the thing came alive with labella Beatle bass flats.
  17. mark beem

    mark beem I'm alive and well. Where am I? Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
    ESP LTD B series


    Prices start around $380 for the 4 string model.
  18. ben23c


    Aug 2, 2013
    Subbed...I've also been on the hunt for one. Vintage modified seems to be the way to go, though I already have a fretted jazz bass from that series. I'm hoping to get a sunburst one.
  19. therhodeo


    Feb 28, 2011
    Owasso OK
    I've been looking for a mid range fretless and heres a few I've come up with.

    MTD Kingston Saratoga or Artist (used prices are good)
    Used Ibanez Gary Willis
    Ibanez SR370F
    Squier Vintage Modified (used prices are good enough you could put some rocking pickups in one)