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Best 6 string fretless <1500e? Ibanez Portamento 6?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by GrumpyEye, Oct 26, 2017.


  1. GrumpyEye

    GrumpyEye

    Oct 26, 2017
    Hey guys! It's my first post here, so if I've posted on the wrong forum, I apologize. :(

    First of, I'm an music producer, so I play almost everything except the drums. :) Im not a great live bass player, but I can play some good bass lines in the studio.

    Now, I wanted to get an Ibanez Portamento 6 string (srf706 I think). But since there are no good demos online, and I cant try any of the guitars (Im from Serbia) I need to ask you a few questions.

    I have a marcus miller v7 fretless, and Im pretty good with it, but I dont really like the sound. It lacks midrange clarity, and there's no "mwah" or bloom whatsoever. My intonation was surprisingly good right off the bat.
    I do have an ibanez btb 6 string (which is pretty much my main guitar now, and I have a MM stingray, but I dislike the sound), and I've played a few 6 string Foderas (and copies). So, can handle a fretted 6 string, but I'm unsure if I will be able to manage a 6 string fretless. As I've said, theres no way to test it out, I can only order it from an online shop and hope for the best. My hands are pretty big, but Im scared of unwanted harmonics and rumble.

    Now, my questions are:
    Will the portamento give me the bloom or the "mwah" that I need? Does it have a defined midrange?
    Should I go for a 6 string or just keep it simple with a 5 string?

    Also:
    Which fretless would you suggest up to 1500 euros?


    Thanks guys!

    Greets from Serbia!

    P.S. Im doing a lot of pop, rock, americana, blues and jazzy things. So no metal and djent sounds. :) My bass influences are ofcourse Richard Bona, Bakithi Kumalo, Marcus Miller and Pino Palladino (and his early fretless stuff). I know I cant get THAT sound with 1500e, but I need something that will get me close to that. :) Just if you need that as an info. :)
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2017
    smperry likes this.
  2. smperry

    smperry Administrator Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    Welcome to TalkBass!

    While there are many fantastic fretless basses available in the world, I wonder if you might want to adjust some things on your Sire to see if it can work better for you since it sounds like you enjoy playing it. Mwah, bloom, and midrange clarity can be very connected with the setup (action) of the bass as well as the strings. Do you know what strings are on it? Are you favoring the bridge pickup (at least slightly)?

    I'll let other people speak to the Portamento; it looks great but I haven't played one myself.
     
    LousCornerDeli likes this.
  3. GrumpyEye

    GrumpyEye

    Oct 26, 2017
    Well thank you very much! :)

    You mean, did I lower the strings on the Sire? Yes I did, but it has a gloss fingerboard finish (and Im still wondering why would they do that) and the "mwah" I get from it is not that exciting. Also, it lacks midrange. And, yes. I've tried the bridge pickup first, and all of the combinations. I can boost the mids on the preamp, but I dislike the sound of this preamp so I mostly keep it off.. :)

    edit: the bridge pickup cant be lowered (and is a bit higher than the neck pup), so I have my strings as low as it can without them sticking onto a pickup.

    And I have a dadario flatwounds :)
     
  4. smperry

    smperry Administrator Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    You want roundwounds. You may still prefer another bass, but put on some roundwounds!
     
    gebass6, GrumpyEye and bholder like this.
  5. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    And roundwounds is exactly the reason for that hard glossy coating as well. Gee, didn't Jaco get some mwah sound out of rounds on a hard coated fretless board? ;);)
     
    GrumpyEye likes this.
  6. GrumpyEye

    GrumpyEye

    Oct 26, 2017
    Roundwounds will give me more midrange pressence? Don't they give you more high end?

    I'll try it, but these are brand new, and I don't wanna throw them out just now :)
    But, then again. I change the strings on my bases once in every 10 years, so I should prolly do it as soon as possible :)
     
  7. smperry

    smperry Administrator Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    More high end, including those important high mids (edit: my phone's autocorrect changed "mids" to "kids"). Some are less bright than others (check out the strings forum) but for the sounds of the bassists you mentioned, you’ll want rounds.

    Keep the flats on the one you have if you want, but definitely put rounds on the next fretless. ;)
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2017
  8. Aidil

    Aidil

    Dec 4, 2014
    Jkt, IDN
  9. kirkdickinson

    kirkdickinson Supporting Member

    There are serval good demos of portamento fives on YouTube. I don't feel confident enough in my playing yet to put up a demo of my six. There are a couple more guys on TB other than me that have the sixes at this point. I am still really liking mine and for the money I don't think I've tried anything that I've liked more that didn't cost significantly more money.

    My Gary Willis GW-35 has had real Bartolini's and a real Bart active preamp. It has roundworms on it and more mmwuh than my Portamento.

    I'm not a huge fan of flats, but I think flat work well on the portmento. The portamento has such a thick full bottom end. And with the Piezo pick up, has a real woody sound that is almost upright sound.

    I am very happy with both of my Ibanez fretless bases.
     
    GrumpyEye and smperry like this.
  10. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Mmmm, love me some roundworms. Gotta love autocorrect. lol
     
    kirkdickinson likes this.
  11. kirkdickinson

    kirkdickinson Supporting Member

    between Siri and AutoCorrect you can have some really strange sentences.

    Not sure roundworms would be very bright sounding. Actually it sounds like something you would need to see a doctor for.
     
    smperry and bholder like this.
  12. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    They do give lots of mwah though. :wacky::woot:
     
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  13. GrumpyEye

    GrumpyEye

    Oct 26, 2017

    I was thinking about switching to half-rounds.. I guess that will give me a bit more midrange clarity without that fizzy high end. Dont get me wrong, I love rounds, and I have them on all my bases - but I was a bit skeptic about having rounds on a fretless. But, I will try it and get back to you :)

    Damn those Roundworms! :))
    Soo.. youre suggesting that I should get a Garry Willis bass too? :D Portamento doesnt have that kind of midrange presence and clarity? Hmmmm...

    I like the versatility of the portamento with its piezzo, but if it doesnt give me anything but the upright sound, Im not sure I want to go that way. I do have an upright. Not a particularly good upright, though. :)

    Are you having problems with the intonation without the fret markers on the neck, or are those little markings enough for you? I've never played a fretless without fret markers, let alone a 6 string fretless without them.



    What other bass would you guys suggest I should look into?

    Thanks for all the input! Much appreciated!
     
  14. kirkdickinson

    kirkdickinson Supporting Member

    The GWB-35 is an excellent bass for the money. Don't think it is nearly as flexible tone wise as the Portamento. The GWB-35 is an active bass so tonally will be a difference. Maybe more mid forward. I haven't tried, but if I put round on the Portamento, I would expect it to be able to get a similar tone to the GWB-35 using the bridge pickup only.

    As far as intonation, I did struggle with this bass more than all my other fretless basses. I had two unlined and two lined before. I think the flatwounds are why I struggled with it at first not the lines.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2017
  15. The Peavey Cirrus is a nice sounding fretless. I used to have an unlined fretless 5 that sounded amazing and would have kept it had it been a 6 string.
     
  16. GrumpyEye

    GrumpyEye

    Oct 26, 2017
    Hey guys, sry for the late response. I was just too busy the past few days.

    Thx, there is a gwb35 up for sale in my city, I'll make sure to check it out!

    Did you get a fretless 6 string? Which one if you did?


    I've ordered the portamento 6 string. But I think there's still time to cancel the order, since its not currently in stock.
    So.. any ideas for a good 5/6 string fretless? Something that sings in the midrange? :)
     
  17. I have a Conklin, Rob Allen, and Cliff Bordwell (6 and 7), fretless 6 string basses. None of them have that Cirrus fretless sound. I've been tempted to get something with roundwounds and Ken Smith pickups, since those seem to sound closest to the Cirrus. The problem is that I'm an unlined guy and I sold the only unlined Peavey that I know of.
     

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