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Cheap Fretless to start with

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by NJXT, Jan 30, 2001.

  1. NJXT


    Jan 9, 2001
    Lyon, FRANCE
    After moving from 4 to 5 strings, I would like to try playing on a fretless bass, but I don't want to spend too much, as I am not sure I will like (or be able to play with) it.
    So, I'm looking for a cheap fretless bass, but with fret lines on the fingerboard.
    I saw, on catalogs, two Yamaha that would fit my needs :
    BBN4 III fretless and RBX260 fretless.
    Any other advices (brands, marks) ?
  2. notduane


    Nov 24, 2000
    NJXT...funny you mention fretless. I was doin' a search on something
    and stumbled onto this site http://www.fretlessbass.com .
    It's fairly new. Mostly a showcase and classifieds for fretless owners.
    You can submit info on your bass but you MUST have a picture.
    AAaaggh! :eek: I wanna' tell `em all `bout my Rob Allen but I ain't got no camera :(.

    Are you thinkin' of a fretless 5? I asked because the two that you
    mentioned are both 4-stringers.

    The (Yamaha) RBX260F is a good starter fretless. I've got one and pretty much yanked all
    the stock junk: pickup, wiring, bridge. Put on a DiMarzio Split-P, Badass II bridge,
    some T/I flats (JF344) and whoo-hoo! :D . But. Even before all that "butchery"
    it wasn't that bad. The RBX260F and the BBN4F both have fretlines and
    a nice rosewood board (watch those roundwounds ;) ).

    There are a lot of favorable reviews here Re the MIM fretless Fender Jazz.
    It too has fretlines, is readily available (Musician's Friend, etc.) and
    is inexpensive. Not to mention the potential "futzin' factor" (bridge, pups, etc.) :p .

    Here's another option: go to this site ~ http:www.gbase.com
    Enter "fretless" under model and select "Bass Guitars" from type,
    then click "Search". There are a bunch of really nice late `70's fretless
    Fender Precisions for less than $1,000 (USD), albeit most are line-less.

    Then of course there always eBay. Enter "fretless" to search on.

    [Edited by notduane on 01-30-2001 at 01:02 PM]
  3. MJB


    Mar 17, 2000
    Fender MIM fretless Jazz. If you don't like it you can probably sell it fairly easy and not take too much loss.
  4. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    The Ibanez SR400FL is pretty good.

    I can't help thinking of this de-fretted Washburn Bantam bass I saw at a pawn shop. First de-fret I've seen that was Bakhiti Kumalo influenced, although it's indirectly a Jaco thing.

    $129. I have to remind myself I have three fretlesses already. (soon to be two if someone checks the classifieds)

    Will C.:cool:
  5. NJXT


    Jan 9, 2001
    Lyon, FRANCE
    notduane : thx for the "customizing" tips ;) I think I'll start with a 4 strings cheap fretless and if I really enjoy it, I might go afterwards with a nice 5 one.

    MJB : I thought about the MIM Jazz Bass Fretless but here in France the MIM JB costs something like 3200 FF ( ~460$)and the yamaha 2100 FF (~300$). I don't plan to spend more than 300$ in fact (well ... my wife doesn't plan to let me spend more than 300$ ;) ).

    Big Wheel : I had a SR405 (fretted) and didn't like that much. And I think it will be too expensive.
  6. Copycat

    Copycat Supporting Member

    Nov 14, 2000
    Pittsburgh, PA, USA
    I don't know how readily available they are in France, but Washburn makes a very inexpensive fretless that, all things considered, plays reasonably well. I think it's $299, maybe a few dollars less. Check out the Washburn website. I think it has a numerical identification, like B100 or B200.
  7. afroman


    Aug 31, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Bass Player gave "Best Built" and "Top Tone" awards to the Yamaha fretless bass, I think it's the BBN4 model.

    Go to http://www.Music123.com, and http://www.zzounds.com and look for prices on the fretlless that you like. If you can, try every bass before making your decision.

    Good Luck...
  8. RS


    Aug 27, 2000
    Cleveland, OH
    Look for a used MIJ fretless. Only boring black or artic white, but better sound and quality than the MIMs. They can be had for @ $300.

    my 2 cents
  9. NJXT


    Jan 9, 2001
    Lyon, FRANCE
    Thx all for your replies.
    Obviously, I have to try as many basses as I can, but in my town in France, there are not many different brands available. And the second hand market is not huge so I could wait a looooong time before finding a decent MIM or MIJ Fretless Jazz Bass.
    That's why I asked for your experience.
    I think I'll try the Yamaha BBN4 and a MIM at first.
    Anyway, I'll let you know what I get, if it's anyone's interest.

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