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First fretless bass, a drake custom?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by LaurenceCox, Apr 6, 2015.


  1. LaurenceCox

    LaurenceCox

    Apr 6, 2015
    I want to get into fretless but I'm not sure whether or not it would suit me - I play a lot of marcus Miller sort of stuff. Should I try fretless? And if so would a drake custom be a good idea - I've been wanting a nice bass for ages since the ones I have at the moment are fairly poor to say the least. Would really appreciate any help, thank you.
     
  2. ii7-V7

    ii7-V7

    Aug 4, 2002
    Baltimore, MD
    I've never played one. They look a lot like a Birdsong. I'm sure that they are nice basses.

    Have you ever played fretless basses other places; a friends bass, music store, etc.? That's a lot of money to sink into something that you may not take to.

    I've bought a couple of budget fretless basses thinking that they'd be a good way to see if I'd like to get a more expensive model. Unfortunately, it seems that most budget fretless models don't have very flat boards. I've ended up having to do a great deal of work on them to get them to play. That has lead me to believe that you're better off buying a higher quality fretless. Or, buying a cheap bass that you like and taking out the fret's yourself. That is the cheaper option. It allows you to see if you're interested before you make a $2K committment. Also, if you choose something like a Fender/Squier to defret and eventually decide that you don't like it you can always buy a new neck and you haven't destroyed the bass.

    Just some things to think about.
     
  3. LaurenceCox

    LaurenceCox

    Apr 6, 2015
    Going to a music store Thursday to try a few out. I'm mostly concerned whether it would suit me or be compatible with what I play.
     
  4. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2013
    SEPA
    What kind of Marcus Miller stuff?
    He's done a bunch of fretless (e.g. 'A Night In Monte Carlo') that's very tasty.
    But he's kinda known for his slapping skills and its distinctive tone. You're not going to get that Marcus Miller slap tone on a fretless.
     
  5. LaurenceCox

    LaurenceCox

    Apr 6, 2015
    Yea I know, stuff like power blast etc. I mainly wanted to get into fretless for something new, and I had a load of money to spare.
     
  6. ii7-V7

    ii7-V7

    Aug 4, 2002
    Baltimore, MD
    You might be better off buying a really nice fretted bass that you like and taking one of your existing basses and removing the frets. That way if you don't like the fretless you'll at least be left with a fretted bass that you really like.

    I just saw your post above stating that you had money to burn....that really makes me think that the above is what I'd want to do in your shoes. Get a really nice bass. Then take a little extra funds and find a luthier who can take one of your existing basses and make it fretless. Then you'll have two very playable instruments. And if you decided to give up on the fretless you won't have to go back to playing a fretted bass that you're not very fond of.
     
  7. Old Blastard

    Old Blastard

    Aug 18, 2013
    Virginia
    I have a Drake Fretless and you can't find a better bass. With the fretlines inlaid it makes a lot easier to get intonation correct. I have a Fender without lines and my Drake with and the Drake is easier to play and just sounds awesome.
     
    blindrabbit and LaurenceCox like this.
  8. LaurenceCox

    LaurenceCox

    Apr 6, 2015
    Thinking about getting a drake fretted, and a cheap fretless, but I don't want to be put off fretless by buying a cheap fretless and not liking it
     
  9. LaurenceCox

    LaurenceCox

    Apr 6, 2015
    May I ask which one you have? Was the drake your first fretless? What sort of music do you play?
     
  10. ii7-V7

    ii7-V7

    Aug 4, 2002
    Baltimore, MD
    It's a risk either way. The best thing that you can do is find a decent one (even if it's in a store) and spend sometime playing it to get a sense of whether you like playing fretless before you make your final decision.
     
  11. LaurenceCox

    LaurenceCox

    Apr 6, 2015
    Will do, thank you
     
  12. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Fusion Cats Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones
    One other thing to consider on a bass that you may decide doesn't work for you. You can avoid the "cheap fretless" hassle and the "if you buy new and decide to sell, you'll take a beating" hassle by picking up a good used fretless in the TB classifieds.
    You might fall in love with playing fretless and with the bass and keep it.
    You might fall in love with playing fretless but not with the bass. In which case you can sell it for about what you paid for it, and buy a fretless Drake.
    Or you might decide that fretless is not your thing, in which case, once again, you can sell it without taking a beating.
     
  13. Old Blastard

    Old Blastard

    Aug 18, 2013
    Virginia
    My Fender was my first fretless. I learned to play it by studying doublebass technique, which came in handy when my daughter stared to learn cello and I had to take the lessons with her. Love my cello. I don't play as aggressively with the Fender because I want to make sure I play an F, not an E###. It's easier to drive the beat with the lined fretless simply because I'm more confident.

    I also have a Drake fretted -- it's in my profile picture -- and I can tell you that the Drakes are the easiest playing and best made of my basses.They are amazingly flexible in tone, light and a delight to play. I'm talking with Andrew about building one to honor my classical pianist/opera singing mom and her music now that she's falling into the black hole of Alzheimer's.

    You can find cheap fretless basses if you want to start that direction. I love both of my fretless basses for the sound and the challenge of getting it right.

    And you won't go wrong with a Drake fretted or fretless. E-mail Andrew and tell him Mac said 'hi.'
     
  14. Old Blastard

    Old Blastard

    Aug 18, 2013
    Virginia
  15. LaurenceCox

    LaurenceCox

    Apr 6, 2015
    Thank you very much for the advice, I will certainly email him, and Im verry sorry to hear about your mother.
     
  16. aproud1

    aproud1 Don't surround yourself with yourself. Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2007
    Cincy, OH
    Drakes look like very nice basses. That being said if you're looking to get your feet wet I'd buy something used. That way if it's not for you it would minimize any cash loss. Just my experience talking.

    You can't go wrong with a MIM used Jazzfretless. They can be found for $350 - $400. Of the many fretless basses I've played the Ibanez Portamento is probably one of the best factory fretless basses I've played under $1k. I just prefer bigger necks.
     
    Old Blastard likes this.
  17. LaurenceCox

    LaurenceCox

    Apr 6, 2015
    Since I have the money to buy a drake I think I will most definetly get one, especially considering what has been said about them. But I will probably get a fretted one, and then when I have the money buy a cheap second hand fretless to see if I like it, that may be the safest option.
     
  18. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2013
    SEPA
    I think that's a wise course.
    There are _always_ fretless in the TB classifieds.
    For many and various reasons, lots of people try them and don't like them.
    No way to really predict which camp you'll fall into until you give it some time.

    Haven't seen this posted for while - time for another appearance...

    Delirium Fretlesscylius | TalkBass.com
     
    LaurenceCox and RicKee like this.
  19. LaurenceCox

    LaurenceCox

    Apr 6, 2015
    That video is absolutely brilliant, thank you haha
     
  20. pnchad

    pnchad

    Nov 3, 2005
    That is a funny vid - seen it before but forgot what he holds up at the end a Fender P Lite

    I had that exact bass - really good choice very light (basswood?) and you get the P J pups so you get Jaco if desired - I paid $225 might be around $400 now if you found one

    Very nice for the $
     

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