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Fretless Bass Recommendations

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Aweiss96, Sep 13, 2017.

  1. Aweiss96


    Dec 1, 2014
    Hey everybody. I'm looking for some recommendations about a fretless bass, mainly what kind to buy! First off, budget. I'm looking to at most $1k. In terms of kit, I'm looking for active with a two or three band eq with jazz style pickups or a PJ configuration. As far as strings go, a 4 string is what I'm looking for. Also something with a board that can handle rounds. 34" scale length is also something I'm looking for for comfort. I do currently have a Spector fretless (converted to fretless before I bought it) from the 80s and I can't find anything to rival it. I'm not looking for a replacement bass so much, just something to add to the collection that may be more comfortable to play for a gigging bass. New or used does not matter to me, in fact the older the better. Thanks for the recommendations!
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
  2. Gbonus Uralias

    Gbonus Uralias

    Sep 11, 2017
    Great timing on this thread as I too am considering getting a fretless mainly just for fun and noodling).
    I have my eyes on finding an older MM Stingray (ala Pino) but going to a Jazz is always an option if the right one comes along.

    I will be watching this thread.
    Thank you.
  3. FugaziBomb


    Jun 5, 2017
    Fretless P Basses don't get enough love. I think the mid voice of a P Bass pairs great with the tone of a fretless
    FantasticFour, bebi, dderatz and 9 others like this.
  4. Eilif

    Eilif Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
    Carvin/kiesel. Possibly new but there are lots of used ones in your price range.

    As for the number of frets it shouldn't be a factor in your choice. The issue is how far away the first frets are and thus how far you have to reach. A 34" with an appropriately sized upper horn will have a comfortable reach regardless off how many frets.
    jamro217 and mrcbass like this.
  5. fretno

    fretno Supporting Member

    May 10, 2009
    Los Angeles
    I agree , I for one prefer the P fretless sound
    ma Tom Clement
  6. monsterthompson

    monsterthompson The Eighth Note Wonder Of The World Supporting Member

    Nov 25, 2008
    tlite and Pachap like this.
  7. Aweiss96


    Dec 1, 2014
    Yeah I figured that wasn't quite the right way to put it, I just wasn't sure how to word it. I'll edit the post, thanks!
  8. Check out the $450 special in our classifieds... outta Brooklyn.. I dont even want a fretless again, but its so cool.....
    TN WOODMAN likes this.
  9. Aweiss96


    Dec 1, 2014
    $450 special?
  10. gebass6

    gebass6 We're not all trying to play the same music.

    May 3, 2009
    N.E Illinois
  11. Wfrance3

    Wfrance3 Supporting Member

    May 29, 2014
    Tulsa, OK
    Don't get one with a compound fretboard radius. I had one once, it was a pain in the asparagus to keep the neck adjusted so that the low frets below 3rd would not buzz. The compound might not have been the reason, but I've had other fretless basses that did not need near the attention that one did, so it's at least plausible that was culprit and at least worth considering.
  12. Aweiss96


    Dec 1, 2014
    I PM'd you.
    Gbonus Uralias likes this.
  13. If it is your first fretless try a Squier Vintage Modified Fretless jazz, inexpensive with custom touches to fit most needs. I love the neck and pickups on mine.
    Alfonso Alba, mogpipe and nonohmic like this.
  14. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    I'd urge to look at G&L. If you want something exactly like a J or P bass then look at Fenders. But G&L also makes great J and P basses. My hands down favorite fretless is my G&L L2500. Doesn't quite do J nor does not quite do P but does do about everything in between. Is active and passive. For minimum chews with rounds look for an ebony Fingerboard. Both Fender and G&L have them. My G&L has an ebony board and I love the tone and love the feel. Chews are not an issue as I always use ground wounds on it.
    Pachap and FantasticFour like this.
  15. FugaziBomb


    Jun 5, 2017
    She's a beaut
    fretno likes this.
  16. Eilif

    Eilif Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
    ESP/LTD makes a very nice bass. It's way under your price limit, but the LTD Vintage 214 Fretless is a sweet fretless P-clone with a P/J setup. Discontinued but not hard to find for $300 or less. I put a set of geezer's in mine and it rocks. The naked rosewood board is really thick. It would probably be fine with rounds and after a few years you could just have it replaned.

    Here's a review I did of it:
    ESP/LTD Vintage 214 Fretless
    It also has only 20 or 21 frets.
    TN WOODMAN likes this.
  17. jaco944

    jaco944 Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2005
    F402D5DA-C993-4EF0-920D-C197CA883E67. Here's mine, it's a wonderful bass and affordable if you go used and are patient.
  18. 2tonic


    Dec 22, 2015
    You might consider a used Pedulla Buzz bass. I have seen some around the 1k mark. The Diamond Coat fretboard was made for roundwounds, most are equipped with PJ or JJ Bartolini combos, and have a variety of active tone circuits available. Pretty much ticks all of your boxes.
    Their necks are a thing of beauty, very slim (ala jazz bass) . Mine has 31 years of GHS Boomers use on it and there's not a mark on the fretboard.
    One caveat, if you locate one, find out which active preamp circuit it has and check on Pedullas website for the characteristics and control layout , to see if it's your bailiwick.
    Happy Hunting!
  19. D M Lutz

    D M Lutz Banned

    Sep 11, 2017
    Denver, CO.
    [​IMG] I made one. [​IMG] upload_2017-9-13_16-54-27.
  20. bezo420


    Aug 28, 2011
    You aren't going to beat the Spector fretless. Spector makes some of the nicest basses to begin with, so their fretless basses follow suit. DSC_0387.JPG

    Then again, finding one is tough. You could order a Euro fretless, but that's double your budget and half a year of waiting. Totally worth it though.
    D M Lutz, bebi, leto and 1 other person like this.

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