First Fretless Jazz Bass (used Fender MIJ or new Sire V7)

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Peter Wagstaff, Jun 17, 2019.

  1. Fender MIJ Jazz Bass

  2. Sire V7 2nd Gen

  3. Other

  1. Peter Wagstaff

    Peter Wagstaff

    Jun 10, 2019
    I've been looking into buying a new bass (as we all have), and I've narrowed it down to a fretless jazz bass. I've never owned a fretless or a J style body, and I think it will give me some fresh sounds. I don't want to spend anything excessive in case I end up not liking it (maybe less than $700). The two models that I am most interested in are the 90s (60s reissue) Fender MIJ Jazz Bass and the new Sire V7 2nd Gen.

    Of course there are many points to compare: ebony v rosewood, lined v unlined, passive v active, new v old, etc.

    Considering the Fender because:
    1. It's a Fender... I'm a big fan
    2. Passive, I don't really desire the preamp
    3. Rosewood, I love deep, round, warm tone
    4. Unlined, the fingerboard is beautiful

    Considering the Sire because:
    1. Can order a new model for the price of a 20+ year old Fender
    2. Binding and rolled neck/fingerboard, heard it feels great
    3. Alder body, not sure what Fender Japan was using at the time
    4. New colors! I love the Burgundy and even the Lake Placid Blue

    I know there are many other things to consider such as weight, hardware, pickups, nut material, etc. I've read great things about both basses. I'm just looking for some more opinions from owners and players. Also I'm open to suggestions of other models (maybe even fretted jazz basses). I'll include a poll for fun. Thanks for reading!
  2. Hmm. If my wife would sign off on it I’d try to garner your interest in the Squier VM Fretless Jazz I have sitting in a gig bag. New TI Jazz Flats on it.

    But I’m not sure how the TB rules work, being that I’m not a supporting member currently...
  3. downunder


    Aug 25, 2005
    If you haven’t pulled the trigger yet, here’s a thought: an unlined fretless bass is very difficult to play. Jaco Pastorius himself needed lines to find his place on the neck. I play a lot of upright bass and in my opinion an unlined fretless is way harder to find your way around
    andronik likes this.
  4. Well, Jaco’s bass had lines because the neck had actual frets at one time.

    Mark Egan has been quoted to really “need the lines”. Other guys like Tony Franklin or Pino don’t seem to need them...

    I personally don’t like lines because they actually confuse me. When I see fret lines, I have a tendency to finger the notes as I would on a fretted bass. The side dots on an un-lined board are placed where the notes should be fingered, so that helps me more.
  5. downunder


    Aug 25, 2005
    Yes, Jaco’s bass had lines to begin with. However, in his “modern electric bass“ video he stated that he needed the lines to find his place on the neck because the neck is so long. He also talked about where you should finger the bass in relationship to the Frets or the fret lines if you’re interested.
  6. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Gold Supporting Member

    i'll recommend an unlined board:
    - you'll eventually be using your ears anyway --- you won't need the lines in the future.
    - a lined board creates its own 'dependency reinforcement' for many players....apparently, including jaco (post #5)
    - a lined board (just like frets!) is not precisely tuned (so, again: you'll be using your ears anyway).
    - an unlined board is 'sexier'.

    whatever you decide you should plan on having some extra fun on a fretless instrument. good luck with your choices! :thumbsup:
  7. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    Peter Wagstaff, go by your instinct on this question. I have never owned an unlined fretless, and I agree that one can become dependent of lines, but just like on my fretted basses, I do not look at the neck all of the time, and I can hear if my pitch slips. Lines have helped me get up to speed more quickly, but I am less and less line dependent over time. I agree that unlined boards are “sexier” but music is best experienced with the ears, not eyes. I would rather look less cool and sound good than be a bit off on a cool fretless. If a player has spot on intonation on an unlined board, bravo! Still, I appreciate a fine performance however it is done.