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Do fender make any "Real" fretless basses?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by jazzbassist, Apr 6, 2006.

  1. jazzbassist


    Aug 1, 2005
    all the fender fretless jazz basses seem to have inlays and markings, why is this, surely it defeats the point and removes any element of skill. Do they have any models that are not "lined" or is it possible to get fenders that dont have fret lines? cheers..:meh:
  2. playmybass


    Mar 28, 2004
    Tucson, Az
    have you ever played a lined fretless? it still has the tonal characteristics of an unlined fretless, so how does it defeat the point?
  3. Tony G

    Tony G

    Jan 20, 2006
    lined fretless basses don't exactly remove element of skill. I think it can be a great learning tool to help with intonnation. I sometimes wish that my first fretless had lines, as I think it would have helped me learn a little faster.
  4. fretless = wannabe upright = no markings.
  5. Tony G

    Tony G

    Jan 20, 2006

    wannabe upright???? :scowl:

    please, I play my fretless nothing like an upright, as do multitudes of others...

    Fretless Bass guitar just sounds fantastic and has a voice all its own.
  6. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000

    I'd be careful on the wording of that. Telling all of us that do play with lines, that it "removes any element of skill" seems like the start of a flame war.

    To answer the thread-after a quick trip to www.fender.com the Tony Franklin P-Bass is an unlined board. Easiest advise/words of wisdom about checking in about current Fender options is to simply check the website. It took a whole i think minute of time to go to the web site and look at them. Granted, i did remember that there was a Artist Model that was unlined so that helped.

    Not to bash fender too hard, but depending on the price point that you are looking to spend-it may be worth it to look into other brands that make Fender Styled basses.

    take it easy.
  7. toad


    Jun 26, 2002
    I'll ignore your editorial and answer your question:

    AFAIK, the only Fender unlined fretless basses currently in production is the Tony Franklin bass. They used to make unlined rosewood and maple fretboard Precisions in the 70s.

    And then there is Fender Japan that reissued the 70s unlined fretless Precision bass and they also made unlined rosewood board Jazzes in the 90s.
  8. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    The Tony Franklin Sig (fretless P with jazz pickup in bridge) has an unlined ebony board.

    70s fretless P basses were unlined.
    80s MIJ Jazz basses were unlined.
  9. lug


    Feb 11, 2005
    League City, Tx
    Are you forced to look at the markings? Surely staring at the neck "removes any element of skill".
  10. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    I disagree. I own and play both. When i'm playing my fretless i'm not thinking "i wonder if i can sound like a different bass that i have". Rather, i'm going for the specific tones that are offered by the fretless. Granted, there are people who try to approximate an upright tone on a fretless, except-most fretless basses that i have heard lack the bloom, thump, and woody qualities that i asoociate with an upright. Veilette basses do a great job of doing a mock upright though.

    take it easy.
  11. jazzbassist


    Aug 1, 2005
    sorry should have worded it different, im not trying to piss people off who have dished out loadz on lined fretless basses, its just preference and asphetics (I prefer the look of unlined but thats not to say lined look ****).

    Lines also imply that we dont have the second nature ability to instinctively know where the notes are. For example you dont see any lines on cellos or violins so why should they be on fretless basses?
  12. bassmonkeee


    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA

    Spoken like someone who has no fool idea of what they are talking about.
  13. Lines don't have the ability to imply anything. They're lines.
  14. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    So Jimmy Haslip has no skill? Hmm...

    I don't think there is a more ignorant or arogant statement than the "lined fretless is for beginners or people with no talent or ear" and drives me crazy. I need to learn to ignore these idiotic statements.
  15. Mojo-Man


    Feb 11, 2003
    Fender in 1970 came out with the fretless Percision bass.
    Both rosewood and maple fingerboards, unlined.
    These are my fav fretless fenders.
    I have a fretless 1977-maple board.
    And a fretless 1971 rosewood board.
    I've seen special ordered fretless p-bass from 1968 and 1962.
    These were custom ordered.
  16. kobass

    kobass Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Outside Boston
    And don't forget Jaco!

    And Mark Egan!
  17. Pennydreadful

    Pennydreadful Goin out West

    Jun 13, 2005
    Arlington, Texas
    He's right, you know. Also:

    Does Fender, etc.
  18. pointbass

    pointbass Jersey to Georgia Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Acworth, GA
    Endorsing Artist: FBB Bass Works
    Unless I'm really mistaken, James' response ^^ is right as far as unlined Fenders, excluding anything from the Custom Shop.

    I have both lined and unlined basses .... I also play DB. You can't compare an electric bass to a DB with regard to lines vs no lines ... they are two different techniques, two different styles, two different physical characteristics. For me, the general "steady" position of a DB allows for use of reference points on the instrument to assist in proper intonation, as well as a trained control of fingering/thumb positioning.

    The electric bass is a more fluid instrument, IMO, as it moves with your body and the actual physical positioning of the bass changes constantly when playing. While any bassist can certainly establish the same type of "reference points" on electric, it's a different feel than the DB .... lined or unlined, it takes practice and skill to properly intonate an electric bass .... :cool:
  19. Jazzbassman23


    Apr 20, 2000
    If you feel lines on a fretless board imply anything, then you must be concerned with what others think of you. I play what I like. I don't care what anyone else thinks.
  20. michele


    Apr 2, 2004
    ... and Gary Willis!

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