Fretless Bass... Help me decide which one!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by jonwb, Jul 11, 2005.

  1. jonwb


    Jul 11, 2005

    Looking to buy a new fretless bass to complement my '75 Precision. I need something to add some new sounds to my instrumental music (film/TV stuff). Currently I'm torn between buying a 5-string and a 4-string (5-string for impactful low notes... 4-string for playability). Any suggestions where that's concerned?

    Here are the models I'm considering:

    Fender American Jazz (American)
    Fender American Deluxe Jazz (American)
    Fender Standard Jazz (Mexican)
    Lakland Skyline 55-02 (Korean)
    Lakland Skyline Hollowbody (Korean 4-string only)

    Thanks! :)
  2. Eggman


    Dec 3, 2004
    Denver, Colorado
    How about a Lakland Skyline Joe Osborn?
  3. McHaven


    Mar 1, 2005
    I'd say MTD Kingston. Great bass for the money
  4. BartmanPDX

    BartmanPDX Supporting Member

    +1. The Lindy Fralin pickups on a fretless should produce a REALLY sweet tone. I think the JO fretless can now be ordered with an ebony fretboard, as well, which I see as a nice bonus, but that might be only on USA models, I can't remember. You could get a really nice vintage fretless tone off a JO.

    Oops. Now I'm giving myself GAS. :(

    I'd strike the MIM Fender off the list unless you can find somewhere to play a bunch of them and weed out the ones with dead spots. QC is a little shaky on those models, IMO. On the other hand, if you can find a place with a few of them, you could score a good fretless cheap, but I personally wouldn't buy one without a lengthy audition.
  5. jonwb


    Jul 11, 2005
    Hey I'll check those out!
  6. jonwb


    Jul 11, 2005
    Ok then thanks.... off to Google it!
  7. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses, Hipshot products
    I'm beginning to learn a little about fretless basses - I think. :) Bought a really cheap Yamaha many years ago, sold it after never really playing it. I then went through a couple more, played a crapload of them in stores, and recently picked up a dean pace (kind of a cross between and electric upright and and EB). Anyhow - what I've learned: Fretless basses are a whole nuther animal than fretted ones. A great fretted bass may sound like total crap in a fretless. The only way you really know what you're getting is by playing them. Some fretless basses sing like theres no tomorrow with lots of mwaaah, lots of exression - others just kind of thunk and sound like crap. I played a Pedulla in a store once that I couldn't put down - it made the most beautiful sounds in the world, without even having to hardly touch the neck. Same with a stingray I picked up once. Never played a fretless American Jazz, but borrowed a cheaper one (may have been Mexican) and it was useles and very un-fun to play. There really is a world of difference between different fretless basses and in my experience - if you get one that plays and sounds great you'll use and be inspired by it, if you get one that doesn't, it'll sit there and you'll say - ahh... fretless just ain't my thing. I'd take my time before purchasing anything - and really get a feel for some different basses. Last note - I never played a fretless Bongo, but heard clips of them that blew me away, and with all of their EQ options I think it might be something very worth looking into and adding to your list of maybes.