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First fretless!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by SubNoizeRat3691, Jan 27, 2013.

  1. SubNoizeRat3691

    SubNoizeRat3691 Lovin' the lows Supporting Member

    Feb 1, 2010
    Quad Cities, IA
    I am looking to buy my first fretless bass next week. the options I have right now are a squire vintage modified fretless Jazz Bass new for 300 dollars, or a Mexican fender fretless Jazz Bass used for 300 dollars.

    I have read reviews that say the vintage modified better for the money, but is that still true when they cost the same? I have had the chance to play the Mexican jazz, and it plays really well, I will not have a chance to play the vintage modified before I buy it.

    I plan on using flatwound strings, so from my understanding the rosewood fingerboard shouldn't really be a problem, correct?

    I'm really excited to get my first fretless bass, and I would really appreciate it if someone with more experience than me could help me out here.

  2. The rosewood board will be fine, but you might wanna put some epoxy on it. Are both rosewood? Also, are both lined/unlined? If not, get the unlined one.
  3. Cadfael


    Jan 4, 2013
    Germany, EU
    The Squier VM fretless has an "Ebonyl" plastic fingerboard ...
    I own this VM and I am satisfied with it!
    I put Fender 095 flatwounds on which give the bass a special tone ...

    I'm not in a band at the moment - but I played this bass to play the "Stray Cat Strut" and it sounds great ...
  4. affprod


    Nov 2, 2012
    I have read good things about the VM Squire. There is another thread around here where users have weighed in on that. I think it had to do with getting used to playing a fretless. Maybe look for it before deciding. I have a couple friends that really like their MIM Jazzes, but they are both fretted.

    In the other thread you will also see a lot of discussion about lined/unlined. I have both. I really like the way the unlined looks, but I have no preference when it comes to playing. I don't see the neck face unless I am sitting down, so it doesn't effect my playing. My premium fretless is a Fender Jaco P Jazz, which is lined and inlayed. But a plain face is just more pleasing to my eye when I pick it up. It is a much discussed topic.

    Good luck! Going fretless is challenging, but the pay back is very cool.
  5. SubNoizeRat3691

    SubNoizeRat3691 Lovin' the lows Supporting Member

    Feb 1, 2010
    Quad Cities, IA
    I had one of the 2001 p bass specials for a while, it was mim, and I liked it alot, I'm leaning toward the mim fretless because it will hold its resale value better than the squire, and because I've actually had a chance to play it...
    is there a broad range of tones across all the different brands of flat wound strings? I've only ever played DAddario flats on my fretted Corvette..

    Thanks for your help!
  6. SubNoizeRat3691

    SubNoizeRat3691 Lovin' the lows Supporting Member

    Feb 1, 2010
    Quad Cities, IA
    Both are lined. What, besides appearance, are the differences between lined and unlined?
  7. Well, i only have a lined fretless and i wish it was unlined. Theorically it should be easier to play, but i find the lines to be only confusing and redundant if you are trying to actually use your ear. Plus you get tons of pro badass player points by using an unlined bass.
  8. MD


    Nov 7, 2000
    Marin Co. CA.
    The position dots on the side of the neck. They're in the wrong place for fretless
  9. I don't like the ebanol sound - too buzzy and "cheap" sounding to my ears. I'd look hard at the MIM options.

    Unlined all the way. I have a lined and find it more of a nuisance than a help and it seldom gets played. I really prefer my unlined.
  10. lakefx

    lakefx Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2012
    The one big difference is that most lined fretless basses put the position markers in the same place they would be on a fretted bass, between the lines. Unlined basses usually have the position markers right on the edge of where you should put your fingers. For this reason, I find unlined fretless easier to play.
  11. Ezmar


    Jul 8, 2010
    A lined fretboard will run into the same problems as a fretted with intonation and such. The lines can't be exactly right, and the advantage of a fretless is that the pitches can be adjusted to be perfectly in tune. The lines can be misleading in that respect. There's nothing wrong with wanting lines, but getting used to an unlined board is MUCH easier than you'd think. It's all about ear training and muscle memory. I imagine that a lot of people end up wishing they'd gotten an unlined board.
  12. LanEvo


    Mar 10, 2008
    The big advantage of the unlined board is that you'll get more punk rock points from some of the weenies around here who are too cool to be seen with a lined fretless...


    Personally, I like having a lined fretless with the side markers in the usual place. Makes transitioning back and forth between fretted and fretless more comfortable for me. I also think it makes it easier to learn when you're getting started, especially when you're higher up the neck or playing wide intervals up and down the neck. I really don't see the downside of having lines there.

    I should mention that I have both lined and unlined fretless basses. I can play them equally comfortably at this point. Besides the cool look of a jet-black fretboard, I don't see what all the fuss is about.
  13. You could have saved the flaming, you know. I wasn't serious, it just looks cool.
  14. I've owned a MIM fretless and it was a very well built bass for the money. I added a set of DP123's and a badass bridge with TI flats. Great playing and sounding bass. I now play an early 90's MIJ fretless. One beautiful bass for the money. If I was in your shoes I'd go for the MIM. JMO. All the best!!
  15. Wallace320

    Wallace320 Commercial User

    Mar 19, 2012
    Milan, Italy
    Rosewood fingerboard is way more precise than ebonol, and sounds incredibly better with flats, just like it should do

    Believe me... As you can try it out, you'll yourself experience how alder body sounds (MIM Fender) whereas Squier's agathis, simply doesn't (let poor duncan designed Squier pickups alone...)

  16. SubNoizeRat3691

    SubNoizeRat3691 Lovin' the lows Supporting Member

    Feb 1, 2010
    Quad Cities, IA
    I think I'm going to get the MIM fretless at the used music store. I've had a chance to play it and it plays well, I also like the idea of fret markers for general ease starting out with a fretless.

    I dont think the VM fretless has an inlined option does it??

    Thank you all for your help, its greatly appreciated.
  17. LanEvo


    Mar 10, 2008
    That wasn't aimed at you...I was just screwing around! Believe it or not, your post wasn't even up at the time I wrote mine. Slow connection with the iPhone :help:

    I hope everyone appreciates that it was all in good fun.
  18. sharkwagon


    Aug 13, 2009
    Dallas TX
    Neither the Squire nor the MIM, I'd buy a US made Peavey Foundation FL for $200 and spend the extra $100 on lessons or beer.. :bag:
  19. the low one

    the low one

    Feb 21, 2002
    I'd go with the MIM. The rosewood fingerboard with flats will show minimal wear.
    My MIM fretless is 7 years old and I play it 3 or 4 times a week. The flats mark the fingerboard a little but no gauges of scratches.
  20. Good choice to go for the Mexican fender fretless Jazz Bass! I have one that plays better than my american made. Its the same design, just made in Mexico. More of an authentic sound than Ebonoyl. fretboard on the Squire. btw - dont worry about lines and unlined fretboard and how it makes you appear to other bass players. Its a tool to help you learn - as long as you dont use it as a crutch, - You will soon discover that in order to create awesome and emotional basslines on fretless your eyes should be closed when playing anyhow