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Brice or Dean Fretless?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Moxa13, Oct 2, 2003.


  1. Moxa13

    Moxa13

    Apr 14, 2003
    I want an unlined fretless bass so bad. I can taste it. I have decided b/w these two, because they are the ones I can afford. So I need your input to help me make a choice. I have some questions.

    Is the B string on the Brice 5 floppy? How about the Dean 5? How are the Dean 4 string fretless? Are either basses very heavy? I play an OLP 5 string and really like the fact it is a lightweight bass.

    The Brice appears to be cheaper. The only thing that bothers me is that I will have to purchase the bass sight unplayed. I have not had very good luck buying basses online and then liking them. I play a 5 string regularly, and occasionally a six string.

    Thanks for you input!!!
     
  2. I have a Dean Edge 4 that had had made into a fretless. The slots in the fret board were filled with maple veneer. It plays and sounds awesome. A real mellow, beautiful tone. It's strung up with GHS flats.
    My Dean is not heavy, the construction, electronics, and hardware are very good too. It's got Grover tuners, and EMG-HZ passive pickups. I hardly ever have to tune it. It's got a 5 piece Maple and Walnut neck, with a Rosewood fingerboard, and a Basswood body. The neck profile is thin, and fast.
     
  3. rogerbmiller

    rogerbmiller Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 16, 2003
    NYC
    I have been researching the Brice unlined fretless sixes as well as I am also very intersted in getting one. I have yet to play one but am planning to get out to Jersey to visit Rondo Music. Will follow up to this once I've had a chance to do so.

    However, a very major concern I have about this bass is that the fretless dot markers are between where the frets would be just like on a fretless bass. This is a special note on all of the ebay postings. Don't know if you noticed this and don't know if this would bother you. I think it would drive me nuts, but we'll see. I suppose if I like the bass but not the markers I could get a lined fretless, but that would be cheating.

    I'd love to see a reply in this thread from an owner of one. It certainly appears to be a great value. If only they made 7's and 8's (not tuned in octaves like mark Egan-- separate stings like JT has!).
     
  4. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses, Hipshot products
    went to rondo music a couple of days ago for the first time. i'm also in the market for a fretless. my thoughts:

    I MUST GET ONE OF THOSE BASSES! didn't only because they said they're getting a large shipment in soon, and i only had a short while to check the basses out when i was there - got there about a half an hour before closing.

    i was REALLY impressed with the bang for the buck. the p and j basses felt better to me than the mexican fenders, and for $120 i can't see NOT getting one.

    i originally wanted an unlined one, and played one there. i was very lost and frustrated, and i've been playing a fretless acoustic for a little over a month now. the side marker positions do make it a little difficult. being able to go back and forth from lined to unlined finally made me hang my ego on the shelf. i can make a lined fretless sing, i can hardly do crap on the unlined. jaco's bass was lined, and what's more he was probably able to feel where the frets were as there must have been some indentation from his yanking them out. i've been hearing a lot also about guys playing on unlined being somewhat slowed down and laying back on their style a bit. i'm sure there are those that have mastered it, and it is definitely more challenging - but for now - i'm doing the lined thing.

    important note if you buy an esssex/brice - almost every one i played was in dire need of a setup. the action was either too low and buzzing or the neck was really bowed in the opposite direction. one or two were set up nicely and i had faith that they could all be. the basses seemed really solid and i don't remember them being all that heavy. they didn't feel like cheap toys to me.

    my experience with dean - i owned a bottom of the line 4 string years ago and loved it. it felt great, never had a problem with it, had i kept it i'd have to change the pickups though (and probably a few other things). it was TOO thin sounding to take seriously at a gig - but great fun at home and at low volumes. my guess is their higher end basses really kick butt.

    that's my yammerin.
     
  5. rogerbmiller

    rogerbmiller Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 16, 2003
    NYC
    Thanks for your feedback. Sorry to browbeat this but it's a potential deal-breaker for me.

    I was just on Rondo's website an noticed that some of the unlined 6's didn't have the note about the dots being between where the frets would go. Did you happen to notice if this quirk was only for the natural wood model (i.e. not the reds and blues)?
     
  6. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses, Hipshot products
    pretty sure they were. i'm going again (i think) tomorrow. if you have anything specific you'd like to know, post it and i'll do my best to check it out for you and give my opinion.
     
  7. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    That would be a deal-breaker for me, no quesiton.

    This is my fretless Dean Edge 5 bass:

    [​IMG]

    I have owned this bass for almost three years now, it was my first fretless. I absolutely love it. It plays and sounds fantastic, and looks beautiful. It is much better than it should be for the paltry $400 I paid.

    The side dots are in the right place.

    I would buy this bass again in a heartbeat, and I do not have GAS for any other 5 string fretless. This is a solid piece of work, well constructed (not perfect), with good (not great) solid hardware, and bullet-proof studio silent fine sounding passive pickups/EQ. A wise buy in my book. I can not say enough good about this bass, I have had few purchases that have left me as musically satisfied in the long term. The "B" string is nice and tight, but I play softly so I don't have a floppy "B" string problem on pretty much anything. I use LaBella Deep Talkin' Bass flats on it and I love them. Be careful string shopping, this bass has a 35" scale. This bass is a keeper.

    Wanna hear what it sounds like (with rounds)?

    In a prog-rock ensemble setting playing for my brother Andrew's song "Calling Me Back".

    In a more mellow setting playing Andrew's song "Strange Education". (The song is brilliant, and the bass line works with the song perfectly - not tooting my own horn, Andrew, who is an excellent bassist in his own right, wrote almost every note of the line, I just played it).

    Pardon the intonation, I was new to the fretless when I played those songs.
     
  8. rogerbmiller

    rogerbmiller Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 16, 2003
    NYC
    I emailed Rondor Music. According to Kurt, the dot markers on the unlined fretlesses are in "the proper place". Not sure if this applies only to the red and blue 6's. It certainly doesn't apply to the natural wood 6's being sold on ebay. But I am now so curious that I will be making a Pilgrimage to Jersey (not sure when) to find out first hand. Will keep you posted.
     
  9. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses, Hipshot products
    the "right" places according to them are in the postion they'd be on an ordinary bass. i was there yesterday and i can attest to that. as for it being right or wrong, some companies do it one way, some another. i argued this right nad wrong thing in another thread with someone. any fretless i've ever played to this day had the markers in the same place as on a regular bass. granted i think it would be much easier to play if they were were where the frets would be, but i've yet to play one that was so.

    i highly recommend going there and checking them out before buying one. i played a bunch of the Brice's and didn't like them. i couldn't tell you exactly why though. they look nice. perhaps they all just badly needed a setup. they seemed to me to be lacking someting. i liked the SX basses a lot more. bought a fretless 4 j-bass that i've been yammering about over in the sx/brice thread.