Fretless 5/6: Curbow Cort vs Brice vs Dean

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Magman, Feb 10, 2003.

  1. I want to get a fretless in a few months.
    Req: 5 or 6 string, deep and growly 'overdrive-me please' tone, nice narrow neck, reasonable reliable hardware.

    300-500 is my range. I could possibly justify more but then wife wouldn;t let me buy anything else for months and I'm not a pro.I wouldn;t want gourmet instrument because I always ding them or they fall over etc. So finish perfection is not a priority. Tung oiled knotty wood would be fine!:). Sound and playability must be good though.

    Has anyone directly compared fretless the brands in the subject (which are all easten in manufacter I assume)?

    The temptation to enter les clayppol 6 string land for just under 300 bucks for a Brice bass does seem quite amazing... but... if the sound lacks...

  2. Rusty Chainsaw

    Rusty Chainsaw

    Oct 15, 2002
    The Cronx
    Funny you should post this thread... I'm in pretty much the same boat. Unfortunately, being in the UK, the Brice basses are out, so it's kinda down to the Cort Curbow and the Dean. I've heard good things about the Dean, but I also had a Curbow 5-string fretted a couple of years back and it was a nice bass. Just not too sure about a phenolic fingerboard for fretless, I can imagine it'd be quite "cold" sounding, and I prefer the idea of two pickups.

    The other option is the MTD Grendel basses (badged "Bass Centre Stadium" over here) seem to go for pretty good prices second-hand...

    Russ :):):):):(

    (edited for typo)
  3. Just not too sure about a phenolic fingerboard for fretless, I can imagine it'd be quite "cold" sounding, and I prefer the idea of two pickups.

    - yeah. I like wood. I bought an old house for wood floors!:) Plastic bass just... doesn;t appeal somehow. Still, never tried one and they have visual character.
  4. 5stringDNA


    Oct 10, 2002
    Englewood, CO
    I have played teh Curbow 6 and I thought it was well worth the $370 price tag. Has a toen that lends itself to 6 string style very nicely.
  5. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    I love my Den Edge 5 fretless. I got it Dec 31 1999 at a local shop for a little under $400 and it's still going strong. Sounds great, plays great, looks great. I'd buy it again in a heartbeat.


    I love the look of the Brice basses on Rondomusic and am planning on picking up a fretted 6 from them in the next year or so. I think if I were buying my first 5 string fretless today I'd give Rondo's Brice basses a try.

    I've played the Cort Curbow in a shop and you really should give that bass a try. It was not my style, but it may be yours, and there's no denying that it's a great instrument.
  6. Mud Flaps

    Mud Flaps

    Feb 3, 2003
    Norton, MA
    I think this is the greatest post I have ever seen. I have always wanted a six-string fretless but I don't have the money. I've done some research on this and here is what I found:

    Cort doesn't make a six-string fretless, but I want a Cort 6 String then I'll defret it, Cort's sound quality is much higher than Brice or Dean.

    Dean is ok, but they're made of basswood,
    Brice is bad, they're made of agathis.

    I'd definatley go for the Cort.

    A shot out to Primus bassists, I learned Lacquerhead last night!
  7. alembicfive


    Jan 17, 2003
    When I was bass shopping for a six shooter, I tried about 6 or so Corts in a couple different stores. I gotta say those are some of the worst basses I have ever played. Did not like the feel, sound or construction. I know you may get a lemon, but all the ones I played did not leave me with that wow feeling. Now I have never play a Brice, but I seem to think you get what you pay for. If they are anything like the Sam Ash version Carlo Robelli , the head stock is glued onto the neck, and I actually saw one snap (in the store no less)!

    Now as far as Dean, I had never played one before I went shopping. I curently own an Alembic and 2 Carvins. I was not looking to spend a lot of money, this 6 was just to play around with. I found a Dean dealer near me and boy are these great basses. The feel of the neck was perfect for my hands, the construction was great and the EMG-HZ in it had some kickin' punch. Some of the other features I was impressed with is the 5-peice neck (maple and walnut) and the fact it has TWO truss rods. This is a very handy feature that my Alembic has. You can not only adjust bow, but also twist. On a six string that is alot of tension on the neck. Also for a 6-string the balance is perfect. The only negitive is the string spacing could be a bit wider. But it is nothing I can't get use to. Well that is my 2-cents, below is a picture of the body of mine.....striking for a bass around $500.

  8. This won;t be my first fretless, my first bass was a cheap fretless (played ok buch sounded crap), but I got rid of most equipment 6 years ago for various reasons.
    I currently have a peavy forum bass.... it plays fine (nice neck) and sound is decent but hardware is cheap and I'm really missing fretless. I'm a bit sick of rattling machineheads, loose connections etc.

    I've learnt that expensive basses don't inherently play better than cheaper ones, its mainly in the setup. I've played a friends warwick corvette for a hour or so. He had the action high, heaveyish strings....
    my own bass is detuned, lowish action --- I felt *much* more at home on it. But the construction of the warwick was really nice.

    Those Dean basses do look very nice, with a very decent price tag. I saw on their wwwsite than musicgoround stock them so hopefully I can check them out in town

    The corts bodies do look a little uncomfortable/awkward for sitting down with.

    Its been mentioned that the Korean Brice factory make basses for bigger name brands, so I am not quick to dismiss something which may well be from the same folks who make quality basses sold at twice the price with a shmancy name. Still, the pics of the them are not immediately appealing unlike the Deans....
  9. alembicfive


    Jan 17, 2003
    Magman, in the price range you are looking, I would look into the Carvin bass kits. I own a B5 Fretless and it is one of the best fretless basses I have ever played (and owned). The kit is the same bass, just you put it together. Look at past posts about Carvin quality, they are a great value. From what I understand from other Carvin owners and the Carvin Forum, the kit is very easy to put together plus you have many options on woods, fret lines or not and I think you can even order the parts finished if you do not want to do it yourself. Everything is pre-drilled, so there really is no wood working you have to do. With the kit you can end up with a $700-$800 bass, well within your $300-500 range.

    Alembicfive (and proud own of 2 Carvin B5's)
  10. Anyone tried the Korean Steinberg spirit fretless fives? They are in the 300-400 pricerange.

    Or... look out for a second hand tobias fretless?

    I wouldn;t want to build a kit.

    Tone wise: a fretless 5 bass in the 300-600 range which has some real clank and depth to it tone wise..... 'growl' if you will - but not fender jazz growl.... more like 'the avant-death metal bass
    from hell sound' ---- almost monstrous gurlging detuned- deep tones with clanging ringing harmonics like steel cable being dumped into a vintage bath-tub :: somehow delivered with a degree of refinement that you think "that just sounds amazing". A rampant, highly characterful flailing beast of microtonal industrial-MWAH.
    I exaggerate slightly :), but I'm sure there are bassists who after this sort of tone (esp on the prog-metal end of things).

    Sans amp DI and compressor will help on the overdrive fat front, but the standard fretted P/J sounds are just too 'meat and potatoes' for me.

    I'm not a fan of 'fruity' 'bouncy' bass sounds for own music. The fretless sound used on those paul simon records in the 80's --- I do NOT like that tone.

    Les Claypole's sound is not exactly what I'm after, but the level of distinctiveness and character *is* (and lack of fruity bounceville)

    All in the hands and fat amp?
    Are you going to tell me I needs a 2000 dollar instrument? :)