fretless basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by dadofsix, Sep 22, 2010.

  1. I'm looking to add a new puppy to my collection. I'm looking for a good quality fretless 4-string. I'm looking for a different feel as well as a different sound. Any information y'all may have on the subject would be greatly appreciated.
  2. Are you on a "I'm going fretless for the long-haul - just don't know what 4-stringer to latch on to" trip or are you on a "Is fretless for me?" kind of a journey? When I was on the latter, I got a pre-owned Squier on the cheap hoping that would whet my appetite and graduate onto better things. Well guess what, I've mod-ed and set-up that axe to my liking, i think I'm going with it for the long haul (who cares if it's "just" a Squier?). In fact it's been getting more mileage lately than the more expensive basses I've bought. Borrowed and tried more upscale fretless axes and just couldn't part ways with that cheap puppy.

    When you say "different feel or sound", what are you comparing that against?
  3. What budget did you plan for your first fretless?
  4. I confess I have a MIJ Jaco Jazz and the tone is fantastic. I prefer that ancient fender roundwound string tone to the Wal, but I like that too. I don't care for Warwicks but that's just me.

  5. JohnnyB53


    Nov 1, 2009
    If you want easy playability, wide range of very musical tones, excellent fit 'n' finish and good materials at an easy-to-swallow price, try the Cort Artisan B4FL.
    I get everything from a near-upright tone to plenty of snarly mwah, and lots in between on mine. Guitar hangs and balances so well, and the neck is so easy to play you'd swear it's a 32" scale, but it's a 34".
  6. For a 1st fretless or utility bass I don't think you can beat a Squier VM Fretless Jazz-plays good sounds good looks good.
  7. Lowpro


    Sep 25, 2006
    Birmingham, AL
    I got a modded frestless from Daveonbass from TB for 375 bucks; cheap and well useful for the long haul. Just keep an eye on deals around and spend the appropriate money on the appropriate bass.
  8. change-jug


    Oct 11, 2008
    I too wanted a fretless in my collection for some time. I really wanted a fretless p-bass but the Tony Franklin sig was just too much for me. So as a birthday gift my girlfriend paid to get my very first bass(which happened to be a MIM p-bass)from 10 years back defretted along with getting the neck straightened out. I had pretty much stopped playing it due to the horrible bow of the neck but wasn`t going to get rid of it either. So I figured why not kill two birds with one stone. So now I`ve got my trusty p-bass back in action and it`s fretless to boot!
    It only cost around $150,which I feel was a pretty good price for a new yet familiar instrument. Maybe you could do the same to one of yours?
  9. Fretlessboy


    Nov 29, 2007
    St Augustine Florida
    Endorsing artist GENZ BENZ/HERCULES STANDS/XSonics
    A different feel/sound than what?

  10. this is the first bass I ever bought. It is a Warwick Corvette, obviously fretless :) It is also the only bass I have not thought about trading or selling. I truly love this bass. All other basses I own are not so safe!

  11. Same with above.. My Corvette is my first fretless and it's a keeper.
  12. Muaguana


    Jul 28, 2009
    Agreed; not enough information to make vehement recommendations without a lot of guesswork. What kind of tone for what kind of music? etc.

    +2 - if you're looking for a low-cost bass to see if fretless is for you (loads of guesswork, there,) then the Squier VM is worth looking into. Like Jaco D (though I don't know if he got a VM), I bought one just to test the waters and ended up modding the hell out of it, now it gets as much stage time as my main 5-string. Even if you're not the DIY type, it's still a good buy for a starter, depending on your budget, and depending on whether or not you're actually looking for a starter or a top-tier instrument.
  13. MosGuy

    MosGuy Keep it low and thumping..

    Dec 26, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    As others have stated it would help to know what sort of different feel and sound your after. I agree about the Squier VM fretless, it would be one I would certainly consider. They are good value for money.

    +2 on the Artisan B4 fretless, I've found mine to be great. It plays exceptionally well and rival basses that cost 2-3x as much IMO. They sell for quite a bit less then the SRP. The only thing is it's unlined, so if you wanted a lined one that would be a downside.
  14. Sorry, I wasn't able to get back to the thread until now. To those that replied, thanks. As to why a fretless . . . I've played fretted basses for years. I would like to try something new. No, I will not be giving up the fretted puppies, they will still get a lot of attention from me. I'm just looking to explore new creative horizons. A new avenue of musical expression. I'd like to keep it under $1,000.00 and I don't mind buying a used, well cared for, instrument.

    As to the sound I'm looking for, that's very hard to define or explain in the context of this reply. I have a background in rock so I can thump with the best of them but, all things considered, I prefer a more melodic bass line. A while back I was in a serious accident and was unable to move my left arm enough to handle bass lines (hell, I couldn't even play a six string acoustic -- LOL) So I had to use my keyboards to add the bass to my original music. In many of my songs, the bass line ended up being a very powerful presence -- almost the equivalent of a lead instrument. Now that I have recovered enough to play the bass reasonably well again, I'd like to try and recreate the sound. The sound came from a setting on my Korg Trinity called "fretless bass." Since I cannot recreate the sound on my fretted basses (believe me, I've tried), the next step is to see what kinds of sounds and feel I can get out of a fretless bass.

    As to the fellow who suggested that I remove the frets from one of my fretted basses and turn it into a fretless . . . no, I couldn't do that to one of my puppies. They're like family. They'd just look at me with their sad puppy-dog eyes . . . well, you get the picture. I'd feel like the kid Travis when he had to shoot Old Yeller. lol

    And indeed, that Cort Artisan B4 fretless looks very interesting.

    Your comments and suggestions are very much appreciated.

  15. JohnnyB53


    Nov 1, 2009
    For $140 more the Cort will beat it like a bad mule. And yes, I've played both.
  16. bh2


    Jun 16, 2008
    Oxford, UK
    A friend of mine gave me this album as a pressy...

    I immediately removed the frets from my 62 Jazz... of course my playing is not even close to Mick's... yet.

    The best bass mod I've ever done however. I play mainly Drum&Bass with it, some jazz.

    I would recommend a Squier CV 60s jazz and remove the frets, get someone to do it for you. I had mine stoned to the tangs.

    Don't forget to use rounds.

    Look upon it as a journey.
  17. 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.

    Oct 17, 2021

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