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Best 6-string fretless for fingerstyle play?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Kazz3lrath, Feb 6, 2014.

  1. Kazz3lrath


    Jan 5, 2012
    I am looking to learn to play more intense fretless music (i.e. Obscura), but am I trained jazz musician with no real rock background. So I play like a jazz guy. Other than the more jazz influenced players (John Paul Jones, etc.) rock isn't my forte.

    And I'm looking for a 6-string fretless! Go hard or go home, right?
  2. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Big Dogs Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones
    There is no "best", only best for you.
    Do you like narrow or wide string spacing? What sound are you going for?

    Zons do it for me. Pedulla builds wonderful fretless basses too. If you like 35" scale, a lot of people swear by Roscoes. And of course there are many, many others.
    Your budget will make a big difference.
    Any instrument is a very personal decision. I don't know where you're located, but try different basses as much as is feasible. And remember that TB classifieds is a great option for buying good used basses, including high end instruments that don't typically show up at the local music store.
  3. mark beem

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

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
    What's your budget?
  4. punkjazzben


    Jun 26, 2008
    If you're just getting into the six-string fretless thing, my money would go to a Brice HXB-406 fretless online from Rondo Music.

    Link is here: http://www.rondomusic.com/Bassguitarfretless.html

    Here's a dude playing some Obscura on that exact bass:

  5. I've had a Carvin 6-string fretless for >20yr that I like a lot. It has good tone and the neck is comfortable in my hands.

    I acquired my 6-string back before internet retail had developed into what we enjoy today, and there were VERY SLIM options in 6-string basses to a kid living in Alabama back then. Thank god for the Carvin mail-order catalog!

  6. mark beem

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

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
  7. Kragnorak


    Sep 20, 2008
    I'm resurrecting my 6-string fretless Aria Pro II Avante Steve Bailey model - it's now my oldest functioning bass. The tone is killer on the low end but there are missing frequencies. Not enough mids = not enough mwah.

    If you're asking what the BEST is, you could probably drop small car money on a Pedulla or F-Bass. Those are the fretlesses that I covet the most. The Pedullas are especially bright and amazing which would be crushing for METAL but I'm leaning more towards F-Bass for versatility. If I had $10,000 I'd get one of each and hopefully that would satisfy fretless GAS.
  8. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2013
    I like my SKB 3006...

    They can probably do a short-scale too "for a little more."
  9. Kragnorak


    Sep 20, 2008
    I gather that Forest uses MF basses from Montreal, but I'm not sure what bass this is in this specific video. It seems to have a word starting with 'S' on the headstock and I've been curious due to the unique tone....
  10. mark beem

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

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
    Not sure what brand he uses. I too like his tone.
  11. Kazz3lrath


    Jan 5, 2012
    Does anyone know if that Brice suffers from "Floppy B" issues? I know a lot of 5 and 6 string basses in that price range suffer pretty badly from it.
  12. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    I'm not a Brice owner so I can't say for sure, but mostly the Brice complaints on TB have only been about replacing the electronics. Everyone seems quite pleased with build quality otherwise. It's interesting the video shows getting the tone you want which sort of says that the electronics everyone hates may be just what gives you the tone you want! (unless he modded it)

    Maybe actual Brice owners can pipe up.
  13. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    If you have the coin, there is no better fretless than Roscoe. I've had a couple and am thinking really hard about getting a 3rd.
  14. Roscoe East

    Roscoe East

    Aug 22, 2011
    If I was going to buy a fretless 6-string bass and I described myself as a "trained jazz musician with no real rock background" I'd be looking at an F Bass AC6 or a Pedulla HexaBuzz.

    ...and then I'd look to get some rock into my diet. :)
  15. Zanzibar Delgado

    Zanzibar Delgado Supporting Member

    Zon or Pedulla would be my choice. I just picked up a fretless Zon Sonus Custom 6 and it's great for any kind of prog metal. I've mostly been playing Focus-era Cynic and Intronaut stuff on it, but it sounds great for the few Obscura licks that I know. It has the clearest tone of any fretless I've owned or played thus far. The sound is pristine and defined without being abrasive or tinny. Roll back towards the bridge and the notes just stab through a dense mix. Also, the graphite composite neck really lends itself to frequent tuning or humidity changes if you're going to be dropping down at any point.
  16. gary m

    gary m

    Jan 17, 2011
    Mid -Atlantic
    The 406 is a 35" scale instrument. I owned a fretted one and had no problems with the low B. The strings I used on it were GHS flats with a low B gauge of .128
  17. JeffLieby

    JeffLieby Supporting Member

    Dec 25, 2007
    Orange, TX
    Again, I don't know what your budget is, but I would give Brady Muckelroy of Muckelroy Basses a call. I am not affiliated with him at all, just a big fan. He is a custom bass builder located in central Texas. He is also a monster player, so he knows his stuff. His instruments are fantastic and his prices are unbelievable for a custom instrument.

    He just built the fretless 6 string in my avatar for me, and it is absolutely killer!

  18. Randyt

    Randyt RAAPT Custom Wood Productions

    Jul 21, 2010
    Barrie, Canada
    Need a fretless....that's easy...FBASS!...The king of Fretless!!!...
  19. As others have already mentioned, our suggestions to you could be more streamlined if we are aware of your estimated budget.

    On a mid-high price level, you can check out F Bass, Roscoe, Pedulla. among other TB'ers suggestions.

    On a mid-level price, check out Carvin, Schecter.

    Some have recommended the Brice, but since you already have a history in playing jazz, I'm guessing your intention is not to simply testing the waters for fretless. I have to assume you will dedicate some time to working on this craft. In that case, I might recommend you look from the mid to high price basses. Usually, the budget basses such as Brice require some enhancements/mods when you receive them.
  20. I have owned a Zon Sonus Custom[lined] Fretless since 2001. ..Thus my screen name:

    In my experience.. you can pay more..don't know that you'll get more of an instrument ...for the $$$$...

    Again..no BEST..Frankly, there are many brand choices available from VERY inexpensive to exponentially unaffordable. I would rate Zon as one of the better made yet more affordable..less expensive in what some call "boutique" basses.

    Take a good look at Zon: Zon site ..Visit the ZON TB club... many pics more owners..probably better opinions than mine.