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Better fretless tone? Stingray/Warrick or passive Jazz bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Crabby, Nov 27, 2006.

which 4 string fretless bass?

Poll closed Dec 27, 2006.
  1. Musicman Stingray (single humbucker)

    14 vote(s)
  2. Warrick (similarly priced model to Stingray)

    12 vote(s)
  3. Fender Jazz

    27 vote(s)
  1. Crabby


    Dec 22, 2004
    I am looking towards my next dream bass and looking into options for a 4 string fretless. I am a lefty so its next to impossible to find actual basses to demo before making a purchase.

    I bought an SR5 this year (single pickup) and love the tone. I am looking for a very growly fretless sound (the sound of stainless steel roundwounds chewing the crap out of a fingerboard!!) and would like your opinions on what bass will get me there.

    I am not really interested in modifying the bass with pre amps, pickups etc. fender may be out for me as there are no lefty fretless models in their catalog.

    So its really down to a single pickup Stingray or a similarily priced Warrick. Your experience and opinions will be appreciated!
  2. Zebra


    Jun 26, 2005
    All nice choices, although I've never played a fretless ray. If the Warrick basses are anything like Warwick basses, (;) ), I'd say check those out. They suit what you seem to want, and Warwick makes some excellent fretlesses.
  3. Crabby


    Dec 22, 2004
    I gotta start using "Spellcheck". Sorry bout that. My concerns about a Warwick are that a lot of players seem less than enthused about the stock pickups.

    I am leaning towards a fretless Stingray but have no idea if it will give me the sound I am looking for.
  4. I recently tried out a Warwick Corvette fretless and it sounded excellent. Tons of growl!
  5. If you can't find lefty Fender, check out Warmoth's homepage. I have put together 5 Warmoths and they all sounded much better than the original Fenders. You can order just a classical lefty JB or let them drill MM holes for you. You can also choose from several fingerboard and body woods to get the exact tone you are looking for etc. The options are almost unlimited. I recently compared my MTD535 and my Warmoth (Black Korina/Wenge with Nordstrands and John East pre). My Warmoth sounded better than the USD5500 MTD. Can you believe that?
  6. canopener


    Sep 15, 2003
    Isle of Lucy
    I'm a lefty and assembled my own fretless with an MIM jazz and a fretless neck from Warmoth. It's great, and easy to do. However, if you go the Warmoth route, you have to be very specific. If you have a problem with your order, they will stiff you with heavy shipping charges which can add up even if they get your order wrong. You really have to hold their hand the whole way through the process.
  7. Crabby


    Dec 22, 2004
    Thanks, I also have a MIM Jazz bass that I just bought this year. I checked out the Warmoth site. Looks like a fretless neck, ready to go with a nut would cost more than half of what the bass cost new. I am still interetsed but they are not cheap by any means.

    I like my jazz bass as a fretted as its a joy to slap, pop and tap on. Not sure if would want to change the neck. Of course I've already modded the crap out of it so it wouldn't be too drastic.

    I bought my fist Musicman this year (SR5) and just love it. This is why I am primarily interested in another one sans frets. I don't see too many of them out there but I have read that Pino used fretless Stingrays quite a bit in the past. Anyone have any links to soundclips of a fretless Stingray in action???
  8. Daywalker


    Apr 13, 2005
    A fretless Corvette is the sweetest sounding fretless electric bass...........period.
  9. Elionjamz

    Elionjamz Supporting Member

    Nov 14, 2003
    Atlanta, GA
    I'm a stingray fan myself when it comes to a fretless. I use to own a corvette fretless, and it was ok, I felt it was a little awkward. I think the ray is a solid growly, ballsy fretless. They have a very alive active tone, whereas the warwick has a very woody and big tone. I like the ray....but it really is about preference. You've just gotta sit down with a good amp and the three bases. See what YOU like best!
  10. JBass1


    Dec 6, 2005
    i tried out a corvette fretless and the thing was amazing..great sound and feel i loved it...if i ever wanted to go fretless it would have been one of my top choices definetely....however i have neevr tried a stingray fretless
  11. Baryonyx

    Baryonyx Banned

    Jul 11, 2005
    Marathon Man
    I voted for the jazz bass. Amazing fretless tone, guaranteed! The Warwick could be a choice for a fretless, but since you're not looking for replace pickups and preamp thats off the list!
  12. Thurisarz


    Aug 20, 2004
    My favourite fretless tone i have heard is a Stingray.

    My favourite fretless tone i have played is a Warwick corvette.

    I friend of my has a MIA fretless jazz and it IMO doesn't beat the Warwick
  13. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    This is one is purely personal preference. More people have heard fretless Jazzes, but those who remember Pino Pallidino's fretless period know how great a fretless Stingray can sound.
  14. bassjigga


    Aug 6, 2003
    I know tone is subjective, but you asked for opinions so here's mine. The Warwicks have always sounded dark and merky to my ears. I'm not a big fan of musicmans either. The preamps are a bit brash. I've never owned a fretless Fender Jazz, but I've played one quite a bit and it was by far my favorite tone of the three. Nice roundwound growl. Less EQing options since it's passive, but the other two really don't have great electronics anyway so there's nothing to be missed there. Hope that helps.
  15. klocwerk


    May 19, 2005
    Somerville, MA
    I have to agree.

    Sadly 'Wick ergonomics and I do not agree, so I had to sell mine. But it was definitely the most "fretlessy-sounding" fretless I ever played.
    As you can see below I have a Fender Jazz fretless now, and even after a pile of mods which improved it a bit, it's not as lovely sounding as that 'wick was.
  16. tkozal


    Feb 16, 2006
    New York City
    I went through the same thought process awhile back

    Ended up with a Jaco (the american one, not the CS one), great passive jazz fretless sound. Musicman pickups are too unsophistictaed a sound for a fretless, IMHO. Warwick too distinct of a sound.

    The fretless, passive Jazz just sings, with GHS brite flats (groundwounds) in my case.
  17. i like all 3 basses, but for fretless tone im going to vote for the fender.

  18. pino on a fretless ray, enjoy
  19. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I love fretless stingrays, well, because I like the fretted ones too ;). SR5 being more preferable to the stingray because it has the same electronics as a sterling.
  20. Crabby


    Dec 22, 2004
    Thanks for the replies and the video clip, Kevcooke. Not a huge Paul Young fan but that is a truly tasty fretless sound.

    Its great to hear all of your opinions. I still have to convince my wife to let me finance another bass (tough sell) but I think I am stongly leaning towards another Musicman product. I know a guy with a buttercream Bongo fretless 5 and even though its a righty, It felt like heaven when I picked it up

    I am still going to keep my eyes open for a lefty Warwick to try out but as my fellow lefties know, good basses are not usually found hanging on the walls of the local guitar shop.

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