Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

Fretless basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by OriginalName, May 6, 2005.


  1. I've been playing fretted bass for a little over a year now, and I am interested in fretless basses, and I have some questions.


    1) The only difference in fretless basses is the frets, right? There are no different strings or anything? I'm pretty sure that the pickups are different. Is that correct?

    2) What is the price range of a 5 string fretless bass?

    3) Which fretless basses do you recommend?
     
  2. I'll try and help ya out here.

    1) Yes you are correct. Fretless as the name implies has no frets. They can be exactly the same as a fretted in every other area. However, because of their nature and different tone, people may use options more suited to a fretless. For instance, flat wound strings (instead of roundwound), harder and more resonate fingerboard woods (ebony is popular with fingerboards).

    2) Just as in fretted - you can get cheapies all the way through to 'skies the limit'. THere is less choice for fretless in the cheap end than fretted. Just off the top of my head - they might start at around $300 - $400 for a cort 5 or warwick rockbass 5??

    3) All depends on what sound/style you are looking for and money to spend.

     
  3. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Ontario
    The pickups are the same across the board, although there is a combination pickup and preamp setup available from Seymour Duncan designed to be used with fretless basses.

    Otherwise, Scottyboy's right on the money.
     
  4. Alright, thanks.
     
  5. Juniorkimbrough

    Juniorkimbrough

    Mar 22, 2005
    Mississippi / Memphis, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland Basses
    I've been playing bass for a while and here recently thought I'd just like to give a fretless a chance since i've never had any experience with one. I didn't want to sink a lot of money into something I may end up not liking so I went and bought a SX fretless and I am very pleased with it so far........I really don't plan on gigging with it, just messing around when I'm sitting at the house...and for $150 shipped to my front door, you can't beat it.
     
  6. Koushaku

    Koushaku The artist never sleeps, only dreams

    Mar 10, 2005
    Albany, NY
    I went the same route, got an SX fretless to get a feel for it, and I have gigged with it, it goes over quite well and is good if you are unsure of whether fretless is right for you(you just have to watch out, cause you might just love it and decide to shell out more money for a higher end instrument, but I guess that's just the risk you take when you experiment) :D
     
  7. PunkerTrav

    PunkerTrav

    Jul 18, 2001
    Canada & USA
    One thing you might want to consider is using flatwound strings on your fretless. I know many people like to use roundwounds on their fretlesses, so don't count them out, but depending on your fingerboard material they might increase the rate of wear.

    Just something to keep in mind, :)
     
  8. I am going through the same transition... I have been a rock bassist for about ten years, but in the last year I've been learning a lot of tricks from listening to funk, r&b, and motown stuff... Once I played these rythms with a fretless, I decided I need one. I have been doing my homework about them and, within an affordable range, I would go for a good Mexican Made Fender J-bass. The only thing is, for some reason, you can find some that are PERFECT and some that sound like fart so... make sure you play one before you buy it.
     
  9. JAL

    JAL

    Dec 15, 2004
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Carliux; youve stumbled onto the schizophrenic MIM Fender quality.;-)
    If your lookin for a cheap one, go into GC or any large store and check out the used section first; may find a nice cheapy. (Friend of mine found a geddy lee with the frets removed and epoxied...sounded great, and cost him 100 buckaroos.)