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Fretless Mmwah

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by full_bleed, Nov 11, 2005.

  1. full_bleed


    May 27, 2005
    I'm in the market for another bass again. This time I'm looking for a lined fretless 4 string bass. My Price range is around $500 U.S. It must have awesome mmwah presence though. Let the suggestions begin! :hyper:
  2. ClassicJazz

    ClassicJazz Bottom Feeders Unite!! Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2005
    Delray Beach, Florida
    Fender Standard Jazz Fretless........just put on roundwound strings and you got a great sounding bass for $400 and change. I saw a bunch on eBay right now even cheaper.
  3. full_bleed


    May 27, 2005
    roundwounds on a fretless? Lol! I just knew that a fender was going to be the first suggestion. I tried one at GC the other day and it sounded like complete ass. No mmwah no definition and a neck that felt like it was made by a blind man with all thumbs. It was a MIM Fender jazz. Thanks for the suggestion though man
  4. McHack


    Jul 29, 2003
    Central Ohio!
    This isnt really related to the posters question, but I'm curious as to how a PJ pup config (Bartolini), meshes with a fretless fingerboard.
  5. full_bleed


    May 27, 2005
    I would imagine it would be extremely dark and murky sounding. Maybe to much so for most
  6. You really don't get that mwah if you don't use rounds...rounds are the way to go on a fretless...for me at least...Im gonna suggest a used carvin, they have tons of mwah
  7. ClassicJazz

    ClassicJazz Bottom Feeders Unite!! Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2005
    Delray Beach, Florida
    With flatwounds, it would sound bad. Roundwounds on fretless gives you that growl and mwah. As far the bass, could have been a bad one. The standard one I had played like butter! It did sound awful until I changed the strings!

    If not Fender, look at the Carvin bolt on series. I had a B5F 5-string, one of the best sounding fretless basses I owned. New it would be a bit out of your price range....but you could find one used.
  8. full_bleed


    May 27, 2005
    rounds also eat grooves in your fretboard correct? I played a warwick corvette with flats that had 20x the clarity and mwah that the mim jazz had. It still wasn't quite enough for me though. It was also out of my price range.
  9. I've heard pros and cons on the fretboard problem. Someone mentioned in another thread that if you're going to pull the string back and forth for vibrato purposes across the neck, then, yeah, it will start to eat into it eventually. Personally, IMO, you should use the "violinist" method of vibrato and rock the finger on the string. Works fine on a fretless. Otherwise, there shouldn't be a problem, but you'd have to ask TB'rs about different woods on boards as far as strength against the wear.

    My Warwick sounds good with either rounds or flats. (Yeah; a little "pricey", though...)
  10. Well I use the violin method for vibrato, and it seems to work fine for me...I get lot's of mwah that way. Yes rounds eat into the board, but it just sounds so good that way!!! Plus once the grooves become a problem (which is usually a looooong way down the road) you can just have the board epoxied with that stuff pedulla uses.
  11. ClassicJazz

    ClassicJazz Bottom Feeders Unite!! Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2005
    Delray Beach, Florida
    Depends on the fretboard. My Carvin which I have been using almost exclusively for the last 5 years has an ebony fretboard, very hard wood. Only signs of wear is some minor surfaces scratches. Now most fretless basses in your price range will have rosewood. My experiences with rosewood so far has been good. Yea, it will wear faster then ebony, but for now I am not worried. I could never switch to flats, just don't like that sound.

    Here is a sound clip from a old band of mine, I am playing the Carvin Fretless, with the roundwounds:

    Carvin B5F Fretless Sound Clip
  12. full_bleed


    May 27, 2005
    Thanks for the clip classicjazz. I hate 56k! :mad:
  13. duckbutter


    Mar 30, 2005
    I have that setup on a 77 Fender p fretless, sounds sweet, lost of tonal variety.
  14. WovenGraphite

    WovenGraphite Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2005
    Bay Area, California
    I've never tried a bass at GC that was setup properly.
    On a fretless, the setup of string is really important (so it is on upright).
    If the strings are too close to the neck, the mwa is choked even before showing up. If the strings are too high, the mwa is very thin...
    Check here the section on string height, from Gary Willis' website.

    I had a dull sounding fretless that I made singing just by adjusting the strings correctly (in my case, raising them).
  15. adouglas


    Jun 23, 2003
    Bridgeport, CT
    TI Jazz Flats give nice mwah despite being flats. They have a roundwound middle layer under the flat outer layer.

    Setup is really important...too high and it doesn't sound good. The string has to vibrate against the fretboard to get mwah.

    Also setting the tone and pickup selection properly is critical. Use the bridge pickup and boost mids and highs. Pluck near the bridge.

    It'll sound great.

    I wasn't happy with the sound of my fretless for a long time, but when I did the above, it came alive.

    Probably beyond your budget, but a bass with a piezo bridge also does great things for fretless tone. Perhaps a used Carvin with the P series electronics...that's what I've got, and it sounds good. I'm GASing for a Bongo fretless, though, because my fretted Bongo just kills. Maybe next year....

    BTW, in just about every "what bass should I buy" thread, you're going to get a bunch of Fenderphiles telling you to go buy a Jazz bass.
  16. If perhaps you have a specific recording or sound that you have in your head that you are aiming for let us know.... also make sure you're using the same amp/settings to compare these basses too if you're not. Try other fenders if that one was shotty, that'd be a bad judgement to assume all fenders are set up bad and are undefined....

    Warwicks have a lot of mwah too, just mess with ur tone knob and technique (it takes both left and right hands). In terms of price, I got my Fretless Vette for 450.. just shop around. Or maybe they just aren't you afterall, but i think maybe give both these another shot as you try more and more basses.

    For additional ones to try, an Ibanez GWB has some hot mwah at twelth fret area and depending on the zon, most zons do as well.

    GWB only has lines tho, and anyways my vote is for Zon with Lightwave. It doesn't have as much mwah as you may want probably but the clarity and warmth just knocked my socks off. Plus you may get over mwah eventually if you start playing the fretless, and learn more of (to me at least) the finer techniques of fretless such as the different voicings you can do with it (but mwah and sliding all over the place probably will happen excessively at first ;) ) good luck
  17. bigtexashonk

    bigtexashonk Supporting Member

    Tapewounds all the way for fretless. MWAH City.
  18. Lonnybass

    Lonnybass Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2000
    Minneapolis by way of Chicago
    Endorsing Artist: Pedulla Basses
    I'm surprised that no one has mentioned how absolutely critical EQ is in the whole MWAH factor. Boost mids aggressively @ 800 Hz and cut everything else, and you'll be surprised at what you hear.

  19. Okay; "It's amazing how critical EQ is in the whole MWAH factor! Boost the mids aggressively @ 800 Hz and cut everything else, and you'll be surprised at what you hear!"

    (Sorry, Lonnybass; couldn't resist! ;) ) Excellent point! Found that out messing with my Fortress fretless when I first got it. Between that and the right hand position near the bridge, it sounded great!
  20. McHack


    Jul 29, 2003
    Central Ohio!
    Interesingly, my Warmoth PJ is very middy... the 8CB Bart pup isnt your traditional fat bottomed precision pup... its very full range, & nice & bright, too...