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entry-level fretless

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Lotophage, Oct 4, 2001.


  1. I've posted about this before, but after shopping around online and looking at new/used prices, I'm just not ready to slap down $400-500 on a fretless bass when I have to invest in an amp as well. Keeping that in mind, is it viable to go with a really cheap fretted bass (they seem to be more plentiful and cheaper at the lower end) and remove the frets? I'm really looking to spend as little money as possible. I've read on other sites that a cheap bass can be improved with new pickups, strings, bridge, setup techniques, etc. I want to play fretless because I've played upright classical bass for years and would like to take advantage of my good intonation. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Again, I'm looking to spend as little as possible. <$200 on the amp and preferably <$400 on the bass.

    Thanks,

    Chris
     
  2. ...and this is only for my own personal practicing enjoyment. I don't need to be heard over guitarists or drummers at this point, so lots of power is not essential.
     
  3. flipperwhite

    flipperwhite

    Jul 12, 2001
    usa
    Cort curbow frettless will fit the bill,and I would go pawn shop for the amp.
     
  4. I went to <a href="http://www.curbow.com/_cort/curbow_cort_1.htm">the Cort Curbow website</a> and the price listed for the fretless 4 is $795...definitely out of my budget.
     
  5. I assume that price is list.. list price can be as much as double you'll actually find the bass for to buy :D
     
  6. flipperwhite

    flipperwhite

    Jul 12, 2001
    usa
    ooops! sorry,I should have said you can get them for around $375 at Mars music and other places.
     
  7. My Cort fretless was about $350 new, but I bought it in Korea, where it was made. Maybe cheaper here. Defretting is an option, and it's kind of fun, but it shouldn't be that hard to find a cheap fretless.

    The Musician's Friend website offers a Rogue fretless electric for $130. Don't know how good it is, but the price is right. If I didn't already have the Cort, I would consider the Dean Rhapsody HBF, available from Musician's Friend for $400.
     
  8. Mike N

    Mike N Missing the old TB

    Jan 28, 2001
    New York
    You can get a MIM Fender Jazz fretless for $350 at most music retailers(Guitar center,Mars etc....).Ive also seen them used at the same stores for $250-300.Try before you buy,some did have noisy pickups.

    As far as amps,for $200 or less you should be able to find a decent used amp.
     
  9. I'm sure you will hear it from more than me, the best I have played in this price range (and now currently own) is the MTD Kingston. Awesome "mwah", great playong asymmetric neck. Check out the MTD website, then visit bass central or bass northwest for the best price. My 5 string fretless was $500
     
  10. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    Consider the Carlo Robelli fretless 4 at sCam cAsh. REALLY surprising feel and mwah sounds for only $250 brand new (no case, of course). Then you have a little more to spend on the amp!

    CAUTION: Being inexpensive mass-produced instruments, the quality on these things is spotty. I recommend you buy THE ONE YOU PLAY in the store -- don't let them give you one out of the back room. If the one hanging on the wall has loose/noisy pots or a poor setup (high --> no mwah), then get them to bring out another one for you to try.

    One other annoyance -- the side marker dots on these instruments are NOT at the position you should finger the strings; rather, they're at the spots where a fretted bass would have 'em, halfway between the frets. If you have a 34" scale bass, I would recommend laying them side by side and copying the fret positions from the fretted over onto the side of the fretless neck with some sort of permanent marking.

    Hey, for $250, you may have to deal with some BS. Lined fretless Fenders also have the dots in that &$^@% in-between position.
     
  11. dakhwon

    dakhwon

    Oct 4, 2001
    Portland, OR
    do you guys at this forum know about the Essex fretless basses? They're mighty nice and only 119.
     
  12. Actually, I've read somehwhere that it is better fretless technique to fret where the middle of the fret would be, rather than right behind where the fret would be(as on a fretted bass). And all fretlesses have the dots in the 'middle' of the frets.
     
  13. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    PF, as far as dots go, there is no "all". There are many ways to do it and builders use those many ways.

    I second the Carlo Robelli reccomendation. This lack of side dots was the only downside I saw. $250 for a nice two pickup fretless is a deal.
     
  14. Sorry, that should have read 'All the fretlesses I've played'.

    :D
     
  15. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    You're lucky, there are some pretty goofy ones out there.
     
  16. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    I have recently adopted Gary Willis's position that yu should finger (and intonate the bridge while fingering) just below the true fret position. He's right about the lower frets being out of tune if you intonate with the finger right ON the 12th fret line.

    Fender necks go both ways: lined have dots in-between the lines, but unlined have 'em at the fret position. Go figure...
     
  17. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Yeah, I played one that had a double dot at the 12th position, and at the 24th. No other markings of any kind.
     
  18. I just noticed the other day that my MTD Kingston fretless came set up so that if I play right on the line the note is sharp. If I pull back a bit to just behind the fretline then the note is right on (by the tuner). Do you think Mike wants us all to play behind the lines?
     
  19. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
  20. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    Can't speak for Mike but here's my "philosphy":

    play the bass you're playing;)

    If behind the line is where you need to be, that's where it is. Some work on the line, some before or after, some you even have to play differently at the bottom than at the top of the neck. The only "rule" is, play in tune, whatever it takes.

    Have fun.