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Fretless for Jazz

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by IdealWay, Sep 26, 2009.


  1. IdealWay

    IdealWay

    Oct 18, 2006
    Asheville, NC
    I've come to the realization that there's no way I can afford an upright any time soon, so I've decided to get a decent fretless electric for playing some jazz gigs. My question to you all is, what is a good fretless for jazz for under $500? I owned a Modulus Genesis fretless 5 a few months back, which was a superb instrument, but sadly had to sell it :bawl: I don't need something that nice right now, but I do want a good sounding, comfortable player since I'll be using it often. I'm also interested in your opinions on how to achieve an authentic "jazz" tone (doublebass-ish) on a fretless electric (strings, pickup config, setup, etc). Thanks in advance for the help!
     
  2. J. Crawford

    J. Crawford

    Feb 15, 2008
    OH/WV
    How about a used MIM, or maybe even possibly a MIA, Fender Jazz?

    Though the Squier VM fretless Jazz I played was awesome, and only $300!
     
  3. Not to sound cliche, but a Squier Jazz Bass Vintage Modified Fretless is a great bass for the money, and for more money. Throw on some Fender Nylon or Rotosound TruBass strings and you'll get some very convincing upright tones.
     
  4. IdealWay

    IdealWay

    Oct 18, 2006
    Asheville, NC
    I've been looking at some used MIM Jazz's, but honestly wanted to try something different. MIA is out of my price range right now. I'm really not big on the neck profile of Fender basses either.
     
  5. IdealWay

    IdealWay

    Oct 18, 2006
    Asheville, NC
    Is the Squire neck profile the same as a MIM Fender? I've read, too, that SX basses are generally preferred to Squire instruments, cheaper too. Any thoughts?

    Comfort and playability are huge factors for me, and I know my budget is limiting, but I would spend the extra couple hundred to get an instrument that feels and sounds good.
     
  6. I picked this 90's MIJ Jazz bass up for USD$500 a year or so ago off ebay. I don't play a heap of Fretless - but this is more than enuf tonally and from a quality perspective. I want to put an Audere JZ3 in it at some stage. The MIJ's are unlined too which I really like in a fretless.

    fretlessjincase2.
     
  7. IdealWay

    IdealWay

    Oct 18, 2006
    Asheville, NC
    ^ Smokin'! That's something I could definitely warm up to. Of the non-MIA Fender's I've played, the MIJ models have been my favorites. How difficult was it to get your intonation down on the unlined board? I've been keeping an eye on ebay, but nothing really "special" has popped up yet.
     
  8. There are dots on the side of the fretboard - but the dots are where the frets should be rather than in between the fret positions as they are on a fretted neck.
     
  9. Fretless for jazz.......I heard a rumor that Fender made a model. The name escapes me.
     
  10. IdealWay

    IdealWay

    Oct 18, 2006
    Asheville, NC
    Hey... easy now :) I think it's called the "P Bass", but I wanted some input on others that people have used for jazz.
     
  11. Fretlessboy

    Fretlessboy

    Nov 29, 2007
    St Augustine Florida
    Endorsing artist GENZ BENZ/HERCULES STANDS/XSonics
    I built this one and it kills for a stock "Jazz Bass" type bass.
    img_1139.
     
  12. I saw a really nice Warwick corvette for around 600 I think, in the for sale area... This is the best fretless for the money.
     
  13. bh2

    bh2

    Jun 16, 2008
    Oxford, UK
    You can't go wrong with a Squier VM Jazz.
     
  14. Standalone

    Standalone

    Jan 17, 2005
    New Haven
    One other way to approach it is to grab a $99 SX and spend the spare money on different sets of strings to find the sound that works for you. And save the rest of the money for a DB. I play both, mostly DB, and don't find that my FL gets anywhere near the sound of the upright. Not even close. Nor did the Palatino EUB that I sold.

    Though I've never played one, I'd consider trying a fretless P as well, but only b/c my woodshedding/ jamming session last night was spent reacquainting myself with my P basses. My essex P w/ an orange drop mod and ancient rotos was the one that wound up suiting the tones needed for the CDs that were in my changer (some old phish, a gorillaz CD, and an instrumental '60's soul compilation).

    Of course an SX is nothing close to the level of a roscoe, but playing around w/ strings and such would be a useful way to spend your experimental cash.

    FL Carvins are around, too, for $400-$500.
     
  15. flyman

    flyman Whoa!!

    Aug 2, 2005
    cincinnati, ohio
    If you're trying to cop the upright vibe (and it sounds like you are), I urge you to check out a Peavey Foundation. The best sound for straight-ahead jazz of any solid body electric I've ever heard. There's one for sale in the classifieds right now for $200. Ask about dead spots on the fingerboard. They can be sanding out, but it's good to know what your getting.

    Regards,
    Bob
     
  16. gidbass

    gidbass Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Agreed. I have one and I love it. I picked it up used for $225. I have seen them for cheaper than that in the TB classifieds.

    Good Luck!
     
  17. LanEvo

    LanEvo

    Mar 10, 2008
    Manhattan
    Any used Fender-style bass would be fine. Having a single-coil pickup in the bridge position will help you to capture some classic fretless bass tones, but it isn't absolutely necessary.

    The classic "trick" for a Jazz Bass style instrument is to favor the bridge pickup (i.e., roll off the neck pickup quite a bit) and then turn the passive tone control most of the way down. Then, turn up the low-mids (550-650Hz) on your amp. Play right on top of the fingerboard right where the neck meets the body around the 19th "fret" or so. That'll give you some URB-like character.

    For a "thumpier" sound, try palm muting or putting some foam under the strings just in front of the bridge saddles.

    Check out this Sekou Bunch clip from Carvin for a really nice example: http://www.carvinchannel.com/play.php?vid=188 Pay attention around the 4 minute mark and 5 minute mark in particular.
     

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