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Fretless Acoustics

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bass element, Jan 29, 2005.

  1. any advice on fretless acoustic basses? i'm looking into getting an acoustic and i figured that maybe getting a fretless would be pretty interesting to play. ive played fretless electric basses before, thought im no master at it or anything. but i was wondering if anyone would give me their opinion on playing an acoustic fretless and their recommendation a specific kind.

  2. jvbjr


    Jan 8, 2005
    I'll inverse the question and ask why anyone would want a fretted acoustic bass. To me, the entire concept of an acoustic bass is to get an upright sound w/o having to learn to play an upright, or lug one around.

    I had my heart set on a Rick Turner 5 string fretless until UPS lost it on me in transit.

    I understand acoustic guitars that are fretted are the norm, but acoustic basses were always uprights until a decade ago or so.
  3. troll


    Aug 31, 2000
    Chicago area
    I've had both, and I still want another fretless one someday. Just seems to make more sense. The fretless sound and technique just works 'acoustically'.

  4. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
    There are as many different "concepts" of an acoustic bass as there are builders and players. My main inspiration for playing acoustic bass was Jonas Hellborg, and his chordal style and slap playing don't really have much resemblence to upright. I've grown to appreciate the warmth and the attack and decay characteristics of the acoustic, even if I don't really play much like Jonas!

    For what it's worth, I don't really think of shallow semi-hollow piezo equipped basses like the Ren and the Rob Allen as "acoustic basses", but they do sound great amplified. The Rob Allen in particular clearly is and attempt to mimic the upright sound in a smaller package.


  5. Radiobass


    Jan 10, 2005
    I've heard the Michael Kelly basses sound ace...
  6. ksukev


    Aug 24, 2004
    I've got a Tacoma Thunderchief 5 fretless that I love. It gives me enough of the upright woody tone without having to lug around my upright (which I sold soon after getting my Tacoma). I like the tone from my Thunderchief fretless so much, I'm selling my other fretless 5 as well. Anyone for a Modulus Sweetspot 5 unline fretless? $1300 takes her...

  7. stretch80


    Jan 31, 2005
    I have an Epiphone El Capitan 5-string fretless which is wonderful. With Daddarioi Chrome flats it can totally capture the upright vibe, or it can be more singing and sustaining. Doesn't sound like a solid body, but to me, better. I don't think Epiphone still makes these, but you can find em used.
  8. mark beem

    mark beem I'm alive and well. Where am I? Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
  9. lamarjones

    lamarjones Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2002
    Raleigh, NC
    well, depends if you want to hear it unplugged.

    Had a fretless thunderchief. Nice bass, but for that regards, I prefer my Kramer Ferrington. Why? Because I am a moron. That, and I can hear it better when jamming with other peeps.

    BUT, as for unplugged, the freakin Rob Allens are amazing. They really have a great plugged in sound. I imagine the Turners are about the same.

    So, for me, fretted on the unplugged, and fretted for the plugged. And I couldn't care less about tradition.
  10. haha, thanx the help man. But i would like to be able to find one that, like you mentioned, would be good for both unplugged and plugged in. i guess the best thing to do would be to just go to a shop and try 'em out, but i doubt any shops around here have any acoustic fretlesses.

    anyways, thanx for all the help and posts.
  11. Get yourself a Carvin AC40F or AC50F (5-string version)...they're not exactly acoustic (they must be amplified). But they nail a very nice acoustic sound, but play much easier than a true acoustic.

    You usually can find used ones at quite reasonable prices, too.