Fretless - most "mwah" for the money?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bassistheplace, Jan 31, 2003.

  1. I'm not happy with my current fretless - an Aria Pro II Steve Bailey model. It just doesn't have any balls. And the "mwah" I get when playing is weak, at best.

    So I'm looking for advice: what's the best bet for a fretless (say under $1,500)? In other words, the most "mwah" for the money...
  2. A used Zon Sonus or a used Fender Jaco Relic.

  3. rygelxvi


    Jan 6, 2003
    Not exactly top of the line but I have a MIM fretless jazz I'm selling. I definatly has a good mwah sound. I've had it for 2 months and just don't use it. Just not good for the heavier stuff I'm playing. It has alder body in black. I added EMG pickups and a Badass2 bridge. I also have a hard shell case for it. I'm selling it for 300$. Email me at for info.
  4. DarkMazda


    Jun 3, 2000
    The $129 SJB62 Essex I played at Rondomusic

  5. I just bought a Carvin LB75F lined fretless on ebay, and I love it!
    With the eq I can get any sound that I will ever use.
  6. alembicfive


    Jan 17, 2003
    Go for a Carvin. I have a B5F (bolt-on). It is the best sounding and playing fretless I have ever owned. And all for under $800! (case and shipping included) Mine is Walnut with a lined neck.

  7. monkfill


    Jan 1, 2003
    Kansas City
    If you're using flatwound strings, switch to roundwound.
  8. Dr.SixString


    Apr 30, 2002
    Gary Willis' fretless sounds nice, his signature Ibanez fretless costs about $1500[brand new], check it out.

    ps.I've never owned an Ibanez.:confused: anyhow The Willis bass looks sweet:)
  9. I tried the Gary Willis bass in a store and it was as dead as a doorknob. Good strings, good setup, no mwah anywhere. My passive SR405 home-converted fretless outmwah's it by miles.....I was very disappointed. Don't know if it was a fluke, but I sure hope so, otherwise I can't see what the buzz is (no pun intended!).

    cheers Rody
  10. Gard

    Gard Commercial User

    Mar 31, 2000
    Greensboro, NC, USA
    General Manager, Roscoe Guitars
    What Jeff said:

    Look for a used Zon Sonus, they can be had for under the $1500 mark, and are "it" for mwah.
  11. Dr.SixString


    Apr 30, 2002
    Thats too bad, Willis sounds great on his records:D,
    anyway it's just a Japanese bass:)
  12. jasonbraatz


    Oct 18, 2000
    Oakland, CA
    try a warwick. their normally mid-heavy character when they're fretted makes them great fretlesses. TONS of mwah (at least, my thumb 6'er has tons)
  13. odie

    odie Supporting Member

    Higher end- Anything with graphite. Not sure why, but I always thought a fretless Zon, Status etc sounded really good.

    Low end- I really hear good things about those Essex over at Rondo. This might be a good choice if your just going to dabble and try it out.
  14. odie

    odie Supporting Member

    Jason has a good point to. Those Warwicks have a nice mid range made for fretless.

    Another would be an MTD Kingston or Heir. The have a mid tone that would sound good fretlesss. I havent played one that wasnt fretted, but Gard sees them over in Basscentral.
  15. Another great Mwah-bass is the Stingray 5 fretless.... Growl from hell!
    Can be had fairly cheap too.
  16. I'd try a Curbow, even a Cort Curbow. Incredible mwah, and playability.
  17. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    Make sure you have a good setup for fretless...meaning very little relief in the neck and proper nut height. Check out Gary Willis' site for setup tips.

    Roundwound strings help greatly. If you're worried about fingerboard wear, try Elixirs, the coating seems to be kind to my rosewood board.

    EQ is a big issue too...mwah happens in the 800 to 950 hz you'll need lots of boost there. If you don't have sweepable mids on your bass or amp, try a SansAmp Acoustic DI (not the bass model), or a Behringer parametric eq...they're under $100 and two of my fretless fanatic buds swear by them (my Pearce preamp has sweepable mids so I don't need anything extra).

    Also, favoring the bridge pup helps...

    Try these three things...roundwounds, set up and mid boost and let us know what happens!!!
  18. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    forgot to mention that my $200 defretted Squier P Special 5 (with elixirs) is a mwah monster...

    It's all in the strings, setup and eq...
  19. yeah, i've played with several fretlesses, and i get the best sound from my defretted xb-100. i like the sound of strings on plain, raw wood, myself. i dunno about mwah, but i like the sound i get.