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fairly new player with a sudden urge for a fretless (tiny budget)

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by rezin, Aug 21, 2007.

  1. rezin


    Sep 26, 2006
    Madison, WI
    so i've been playing for like 7 months or so and i'm ok i guess but all of a sudden i have this urge to play a fretless (it'll have to be lined because i'm only so patient). the problem is that i don't want to spend too much because i know there's a chance that it's just not gonna work out well but i still want something with some decent quality.

    so i'd like to spend maybe up to 200 at the most, used is fine. any suggestions? i guess a jazz style 4 string would be ideal

  2. j.a.e.r.i.p


    Apr 8, 2007
    definately go with an SX, i like my SX better than my MIM Fender Jazz
  3. rezin


    Sep 26, 2006
    Madison, WI
    wow, thanks guys. so it seems to be pretty much unanimous. those sx basses look great.
  4. richnota

    richnota Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 11, 2005
    Santa Cruz
    great call on those SX basses.
  5. dave64o

    dave64o Talkbass Top 10 all time lowest talent/gear ratio! Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 15, 2000
    Southern NJ
    I have on of those SX's - the SJB-62 4+1 and overall it isn't awful. However, I do wish I spent a little more to get a better bass. For one thing, I couldn't get the B and E strings to stop rattling no matter how I adjusted it. I took it to a luthier I've used before a few times and trust, and he couldn't either. He ended up planing the fingerboard to level it for me and it's fine now, but that cost $75. So the total cost was about $205.

    Another issue is that the nut is NOT straight across the fingerboard. It is clearly crooked. I contacted Kurt at Rondo and he said the picture kind of looks like that's the way it's supposed to be so from his perspective it's the way it's supposed to be. He didn't check others in stock to see if that's what an actual bass is supposed to look like, he didn't offer to swap it for one that wasn't so bad. He just washed his hands of it. I was floored after seeing so many people here rave about his customer service.

    Based on my experience, I don't think I'd buy from Rondo again myself and I'd also suggest a) the Squier Vintage Modified or b) looking for a decent quality used fretless.
  6. get an SX and change the pickups. You will still have spend less than on a MIM Fend but you will have a better sounding guitar.
  7. CapeBass

    CapeBass Guest

  8. DeanT

    DeanT Send lawyers, guns and money...

    Definitely go for an SX.

    I had the fretless P-bass and it was a great starter instrument. I too didn't want to spend a lot of money on a fretless. It was put together well and sounded great. I did change the pups (put in Quarter Pounders) and put on a heftier bridge. But those are not essential mods unless you are looking for a certain sound (as I was). It sounds pretty good stock.
  9. danomite64


    Nov 16, 2004
    Tampa, Florida
    Heh, 3 people agreeing doesn't equal unanimous. I think the SX is a good place to start, but it would be good to plan for the future if you decide it's not the fretless you really want. I were you I'd play as many fretlesses as I can in music stores in order to define the one I want, then save up for it. Unfortunately for me, I've had to buy 5 now to get where I am (stores aren't interested in carrying lefty fretless basses, for good reason), and I still can imagine my current one being a bit better.
  10. rezin


    Sep 26, 2006
    Madison, WI

    but if 3 people answer and all say the same thing i'd call that unanimous. :D now that may have been a little quick but i was surprised. i was expecting a wide range of answers.

    i really have it in my head that a fretless is just gonna be too hard (how's that for a positive attitude?) so i'm worried more about how it feels than how it sounds right now.

    i'm gonna stop by guitar center on my way home today and see what they have that i can play, the other 2 music stores i've checked so far don't really have any fretless.

    one more question i have is about going fretless and jumping to a 5 string at the same time. shouldn't be a problem as long as the scale of the bass stays the same right?

    because essentially i just could plant my thumb on the b and play it as a 4 string
  11. Flintc


    Aug 15, 2006
    There isn't a wide range of fretless basses out there at flea-market reject prices. The SX might qualify as least awful. An alternative I've seen suggested is to find yourself the cheapest bass you can stand to play, and yank the frets yourself. After all, it's only an exploratory test, right?
  12. X Wolf

    X Wolf Guest

    The very inexpensive Fender Squire Modified Fretless "J" is getting pretty good reviews. You might want to check the reviews section. Seems to be a good "Bang for the Buck" fretless.

  13. Double Agent

    Double Agent Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2006
    Lakeland, FL
  14. Fender Squire Modified Fretless Jazz is an inexpensive "good" buy. I believe these are priced near $279.00. I suggest ya play one before ya pay.
  15. rezin


    Sep 26, 2006
    Madison, WI

    that seems to be my problem, my guitar center had 1 fretless and it was a $900 warwick corvette and they had the fretted version of the squire.
  16. doctorjazz


    Oct 22, 2006
    Wilmington, NC
    For something outside the Fender/Fender copy field, you could also look at the Ibanez SR300DXF. I haven't ever heard one so I can't vouch for the quality of the electronics (then again, the same could be said for the Squier and SX), but it does have the SR4 neck, and I can tell you from my experience with my SR500 that that neck is absolutely glorious to play on, absolutely the best-feeling 4 string neck I've ever played.
  17. I'll be the odd man out and suggest a used Peavey Foundation FL. There's a 90s vintage fretless on eBay right now. I'm partial to the heavier models from the 1980s, but any Foundation with Super Ferrite pickups is going to have great tone (think Jazz bass on steroids) and solid build quality for somewhere in the neighborhood of $150-$250.
  18. Possible solution: Ask your GC salesman to locate and transfer a fretless version from another GC. They will do this if the salesperson locates one. You may need to throw rocks at salesperson to get him/her to work faster on the transfer process :smug:.

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