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fretless 5 string inquirey....

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Rawk Bassist, Aug 15, 2007.

  1. So I have two basses, both 5 string. A Traben Phonex and one that was custom made by a friend of mine using a neck from Carvin and has 2 EMG pickups in it. I'm in two bands and one of them is a melodic rock/pop sort of outfit. (big influences by Pink Floyd, U2, Muse ) I would really like to get into a fretless five string. I'd also like to spend less than a grand on one too as I just can't break the bank on another bass. So I have been perusing the Ebay. Here's a few finds:

    What does anyone know of this brand?
    It says "Note that the fret marker dots are where they would be on a fretted bass, not at where your fingers should be" Would this make it more difficult to learn? Opinions?

    Then this:
    I know there are many Warwick users here. Opinions on this fretless 5?

    And finally, I'm just posting this because it's beautiful. It's already out of my price range, and I'm sure it will go much higher:

    Again, these are just a few I found. If any one would like to recommend some other options, I'd love to hear them.

  2. richnota

    richnota Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 11, 2005
    Santa Cruz
    When giving up frets, I think its easier to pursue fretless instruments based on the fretted design you like best. Then you're only adapting to the fretless vs. a whole new bass feel. I wouldnt overlook MusicMan stingrays...very nice fretless.

    But cnce you get de-fretted, there's a whole world of exotic fretless to discover.

    these are some of my faves:

  3. 88persuader


    Aug 5, 2007
    You must also decide lined fretless or unlined fretless. If you've been following the forum you know there are heated differences in opinion which is best. I insist on unlined fretless ... others insist on lined ... you'll need to decide for yourself. The way I look at it ... you already play a Carvin neck 5 string right? If you want to go with Richnota's suggestion of getting something that you're already comfortable with and you're willing to spend a grand you can probably get a BRAND NEW CUSTOM Carvin fretless 5 string directly from Carvin. Personally I'd always opt for new over used. Something for you to consider. Check out the Carvin web site. They always have some made ready to ship and if not it usually only takes a few months for a CHEAP CUSTOM! You have a LOT of options depending on your wallet and taste. I don't currently own any Carvins but a friend just got a new one and I had one years ago. I firmly believe they are by far the best bang for the buck in the industry.
  4. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    I am a fan of buying used instruments in good shape. You can save hundreds of dollars on a top quality instrument.

    You can sometimes find a used Zon fretless on Ebay for around $1000 - $1100, as long as you are not looking for exotic wood. Zon makes about the best fretless out there at any price IMHO, that's why I own one.

    The Warwick Rockbass that you mention is also a decent fretless for the price.

    You might also consider a Lakland 55-01 if you are set on buying new. They are excellent basses. I own a fretted, and if I didn't have a Zon fretless and I was on a budget, I wouldn't hesitate to pick up a 55-01 fretless.
  5. dabbler


    Aug 17, 2007
    Bowie, MD
    I don't have that Brice, but I do have a Brice(HXB-406):


    It's the red one on the left end. I'm a noob here, so I may be saying things that you already know, if so, I apologize. Rondo Music sells SX, Douglas and Brice basses, in order of increasing cost. I have some of each, but the Brice you listed is above my Brice. From my experience with Rondo, I consider their equipment to be a good value, although there are weaknesses, but if you do your own work and setup you can get some nice basses for not a lot of $$.

    On the unlined fretless, in that same picture, second from the right is my unlined Douglas fretless (WPB-955) which also has the side dots in the same place they would be on a fretted bass. IMO, it will feel funny for a while, but you will adjust, the old muscle memory will help, possibly more than you think. Of course I am not a very prolific bassist (I'm a converted guitarist) and I don't do a lot of riffing up the neck, so I don't have to deal with large changes in note distances. But your ears, fingers and eyes will begin to work together in a wonderful new way as you play fretless. It is a whole new world, but even if you never consider yourself a fretless master (I don't), it is a world worth spending time in! :)
  6. I play a fretted 5er and I was just thinking about getting a fretless 5er to boot... I was looking at the Gary Willis Ibanez (the cheaper one) this one

    Haven't played one yet though.
  7. You can get a used carvin cheap, cheap, cheap. If you like the neck on your fretted, might be worth a shot. Unless you really want something made for you (and the associated wait time), I think used is the way to go there, as carvins lose their resale value like crazy.

    About the dots: I think it doesn't matter much where they are. You'll adjust. I think it's actually easier coming from a fretted if the dots are where they'd be with frets. The trouble, as I've found, is having one fretless with the dots in that spot and another with the dots where the frets would be. If you use any visual references, you're in for a world of confusion.
  8. Beta


    May 9, 2007
    I bought mine without ever having played one before, and I like it. I'd say that if you already like the general Ibanez neck feel, you're set.

    Having the ramp there took some getting used to. I found my fingertips were always contacting it when I struck a note (which, of course, means I was digging in too far), but playing on it has changed that. So, I guess it's not only fun to play, it's a helpful instructional tool, too.

    The lines are nice to have, and so are the offset dots, but I find the inlays are often obscured by a string.
  9. groove pump

    groove pump

    Oct 24, 2006
    Look at the Lakland Skylines abso-tively.

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