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entry-level fretless

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Jimbo, Aug 1, 2002.

  1. Jimbo


    Dec 4, 2000
    Philadelphia, PA
    hey everyone

    i want to take my first plunge into the wonderful world of fretless. so my question is what is a good entry-level fretless? i'm not looking for anything very expensive nor very cheap. just a solid fretless bass at a reasonable price that will last a good while.

    FYI, i play in an "alternative" rock band with a kind of dmb sound and i also play in some local jazz groups.

    i'm open to any and all advice. thanks

  2. ldiezman


    Jul 11, 2001
    I must say i like the sound of the MTD kingston fretless... you should give those a look... I myself don't own one. but the sound clips that smug bastard peter put up made me have a mild gas attack
  3. BigBohn


    Sep 29, 2001
    WPB, Florida
    How about a Cort Curbow-Series fretless?
  4. Velkov


    Jan 17, 2001
    Lansdowne, Ontario
    Fender Standard Jazz Bass Fretless. Very reliable, sounds decent and is very easy to upgrade.
  5. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Yamaha has some nice alternatives at entry level.
    So has the rather new brand, Sweagle. Tried a Sweagle a month ago and was rather impressed. Nice tone and feel - the only phenolic fretboard I've played that didn't feel "plastic", in it's worst sence.

    But really, you must try them! It's even more important whan it comes to fretless.
  6. MTD Kingston, definitely. It's got a huge sound--much more useful than the cliche Jaco tone, IMO--and the thin neck makes classical vibrato a cinch.

    For <$500 with case for the 4-banger or $600 for the fiver, you can't go wrong.
  7. Looks like you're getting some good advice here!

    I was in the same boat aboput 4 months ago! There isn't that much choice here in Glasgow, but I tried and liked an MIM Fender Jazz Fretless - I bought one in Sunburst ('cos the wood can be seen and therefore they use better stuff generally) and I haven't been disappointed.

    I'm not sure if I'm gonna keep it though - I don't use it yet at band practices, but I doodle on it at home, there is something nice about it and it's my creative bass! And when I start thinking like getting rid of it , I also think about getting it setup and upgrading the pups!

    Anyway, I'd go for the MIM Jazz Fretless, lots of tones, readily upgradable and easy on most peoples budget!
  8. I got an Ibanez SR 400 FL second-hand a few years back for NZ$320 (about US$150). It may be a Korean-made cheapie, but for the price it has very respectable tone and excellent playability. I may have just gotten lucky, but I reckon it's certainly worth a look if you can find one.

    Good luck
  9. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    available in 4 or 5 string versions:


    Got mine two and a half years ago and I absolutely love it more every time I pick it up.
  10. trane


    Jun 3, 2002
    Tokyo, Japan
    Wow. Nice lookin' Dean!

    I'd also suggest trying the MIM Standard fretless Jazz. The MIM's are an excellent value and are definitely gig-worthy instruments. Besides, anybody who tells you that a fretless Jazz is only good for "that Jaco tone" really hasn't spent much time on a fretless Jazz.

    A CIJ fretless Jazz might also be worthy of inspection if you can find one in your neck of the woods. A lot of players buy a fretless and then get rid of it when they discover it's a bit harder to play without frets. ;)

    I've got a CIJ '62 RI fretless Jazz and it's an incredible axe for the money.
  11. Jimbo


    Dec 4, 2000
    Philadelphia, PA
    thanks for all the advice. i was thinking of getting a MIM jazz fretless but i've read many stories of MIM's that are terrible in quality: necks warping and etc. so i am a little dicouraged from picking one up. and i didn't know dean made fretless basses, that one is nice looking, philbiker. how quality of a company is dean?

  12. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    I'd go with a Kingston. Great quality for the dosh.

    I had an MIM Jazz fretless a while ago and it was nooooiiiiiizzzzeeeee even with both volumes dimed.
  13. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Dean is a solid company. I used to own a MIM Jazz and the neck had to be tweaked every few months, it was not very stable. The neck on my Dean has been more solid. Also, the quality of the hardware is a noticable step up from the MIM Fender.

    Though I have to say that other than the tweaky neck I really liked my MIM fender Jazz, it was a very good bass. The Dean is a higher quality piece though. A bit more expensive, but not too bad.

    BTW, I've played the Cort Curbow fretless also, and you really should consider that as well. It's not my style, but it is an excellent bass. Try to find a local dealer and play both.
  14. shirojiro


    Jan 24, 2001
    San Francisco
    I have a MIM Jazz fretless, and it's a great bass. It's even better with Original '62 pickups and TI flats. Neck bowing seems to be an issue from the factory for many MIM Fenders, but a few tweaks of the truss rod makes a big difference. Also, some of the fretless Jazz basses come from the factory with Fender flats which seem to have very high tension.

    The Yamaha BN series fretless basses are super nice, and inexpensive as well. They have that Jazz bass vibe.

    I've never seen a Dean fretless in person, but Phibiker's looks awesome!
  15. Another vote for the MIM Fender. Get rid of the stock flatwounds and put on some half-rounds or ground-rounds. The classic "mwah" is there along with solid upright-like fundamentals. A BadAssII replacement bridge will give it sustain to make Nigel of Spinal Tap proud, plus the fret lines are there, but very hard to see for the audience, as the image attests.
  16. barroso


    Aug 16, 2000
    i was really impressed by the yamaha bb n4 fretless. i assume that the new ones are good too.
    check them out!
  17. I use a Yammy RBX270F: the cheapest of the bunch. Cost me £210 and negociated a set of TI flats and padded gig bag in that price:cool:

    It's really good value for the money and typically well made as Yamahas are. There's a couple of little bits that could be better but a genuinely good bass at a great £££ IMH.

    I too like Dean basses and will definitely consider one.

  18. Jon Burnet

    Jon Burnet

    Jan 21, 2001
    Memphis, TN
    asside from havinf to tweak the neck all the blessed time go with a mim jazz. second i would say the kingston but they are 2 totally different monsters.
  19. SlavaF


    Jul 31, 2002
    Edmonton AB
    Damn, that Dean is nice, love that kind of color. How much was it?

    Main topic for posting: I've never been sure of this: A Fender Jazz retails around $700 or so (american) and its pretty basic. Pardon me for being an idiot, but why is it so expensive, I mean for what's included. It sounds "decent", is reliable but you can get more than that for $700, for example Warwick Rockbass Corvette Classic 4 retails for $700, or the Corvette Basic 5 also goes for $700. They both have better than "decent" tone, and they look way better. I've been wondering this for a long time now.:confused:
  20. Alacritan


    Aug 6, 2002
    Kingston, NY
    I'm kinda surprised. I thought all Dean instruments were ugly hunks of crap. I guess that only applies for their guitars. Does it have the retarded headstock though?

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