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Fretless 6 string <$900

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ZachL, Jan 6, 2013.

  1. Defret the SR

    8 vote(s)
  2. Buy a fretless

    43 vote(s)
  3. Buy a fretted and defret it

    4 vote(s)
  4. Sell your friends into slavery and buy a Fodera, n00b

    25 vote(s)
  1. ZachL


    Dec 9, 2012
    Lately, I've been dying for a fretless. Now, I've never owned a fretless bass, so I don't exactly want to break the bank on it - just enough to get a solid, good-sounding instrument to learn the ropes on. Unfortunately for me, I've been playing 6ers exclusively for the last 3 years, and pretty much have my heart set on continuing to do so. It seems like the vast majority of fretless 6's are in the >$1200 range, which is more than I would like to spend. It seems to me I basically have 3 choices:

    A) Defret my old Ibanez SR506. This is probably the cheapest option, but it was my first "real bass," and I'm kind of attached to the idea of leaving it in its current state. If defretting it is by far my best choice, I could be persuaded.

    B) Buy a fretless 6. Recommendations?

    or C) Buy a midlevel fretted 6 and defret it. Again, recommendations?

    Thanks for any and all aid!
  2. basskidd


    Jul 25, 2011
    I'm in a pretty similar position; been playing exclusively 6 strings for about a year, but really wanna explore the world of fretless. What I decided to do is de-fret my first bass. It's a decent bass, so if I like the way it turns out I'll be able to use it regularly, but it's a 4 string, so if I'm not too thrilled with it (which I really REALLY don't expect) there won't be much love loss since I don't really play it much anymore anyway.

    I guess my answer to your question: go for the de-fret. Honestly, what're the chances you won't like it?
  3. Voted the last option because it was amusing. :p But, if you're not opposed to defretting, I'd buy a good fretted six and defret that. If you like the Ibanez, you could always go with a used SR756 or BTB676. That'd definitely be under your budget.
  4. First and foremost, don't defret your SR506. I did that with one of my basses and although it came out great, I regretted it almost immediately.

    I'd say by one and defret it or find a fretless you like. Plenty of options on the used market for your price point.
  5. markkoelsch


    Sep 6, 2008
    Have you taken a look for a used Carvin LB76F? You can probably find one pretty inexpensively and they are really a good quality bass.
  6. basskidd


    Jul 25, 2011
    Out of curiosity, what made you regret it?
  7. Epitaph04

    Epitaph04 Always overcompensating Supporting Member

    Jul 5, 2010
    Buy another 506 and defret it!
  8. steve f

    steve f Supporting Member

    Aug 16, 2009
    Toxic, Maryland
  9. Just buy a fretless bass would be my choice. And of course try to buy either from a manufacturers factory or a bass that was defretted professionally so you know it was a (hopeful) quality job. Don't have to worry about defretting it yourself it's done, just pick it up and rock out!
  10. I'd seriously just find one of these used and do it. This way you know for a fact that you'll dig the way the bass plays and feels beforehand.
  11. This. I bought one on a shoestring budget, got it used for a great price. Plays outstanding, but the electronics are weak. I'm going to put an Audere preamp in it and maybe Bartolini pickups. For $900 you can easily get a used LB76F and upgrade the preamp.
  12. slappa_dat_bass


    Nov 10, 2012
    I wouldn't have hesitated. I defret EVERY bass I buy, because I've been playing fretless for years. But since you love the axe then just buy another and defret. But do your research, and do it right. Its more than just pulling fretwire and setting it up different.
  13. macrocheesium


    Sep 12, 2012
    If it has a lined board, don't worry about that. I just played my first fretless recently and it was no more difficult than a fretted bass.

    You'll probably get the most bass for your money if you buy something that's used and defretted. I often see used defretted basses for sale for the same price as the unmodified version. If you can't find any, than I would do what alexlocurto said and buy a used BTB to defret. You can't go wrong with those!
  14. The Sailor

    The Sailor

    Feb 14, 2012
    Nor Cal
    Try looking for a Carvin fretless 6 string. Never owned one because im not a 6 string guy but ive played one and i loved it. Plus you could probably find one within your price point if you look on ebay or craigslist
  15. Wallace320

    Wallace320 Commercial User

    Mar 19, 2012
    Milan, Italy
    I tryed Ibanez SR505F and it plays great (it's a factory lined fretless) but I know well former SR506 and, within its limits, it's a killer bass and you're still fond of it

    Buy a Cort Artisan A6
    It's the only model comin' with no Custom versions (Artisan A4 and A5, both sports upgraded ZebraWood and Spalted Maple top versions with Custom Bartolinis)

    So there's one Artisan A6 only, with same Bartolini import mk1 pickups you should know and love from your SR506, but with on/off switch (instead of slap/midscoop switch), proficient Hipshot hardware with astoundin' stringthru bidge, a neckthru construction and better fingerboard (believe me), suitable for satisfyin' defrettin'

    I'm quite sure you'll stay well under $ 800.00 with the job done

  16. ZachL


    Dec 9, 2012
    Thanks for the replies, guys! The people have spoken: I'm just buying fretless!
  17. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism

    This. People can't even give 506's away on the used market, they're quite common in the $300 range.

    If you like it so much just get another and defret, it is pretty easy just get a proper radius sanding block.
  18. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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