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Fretless - Passive or Active?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Groover, Oct 3, 2005.

  1. Groover


    Jun 28, 2005
    Ohio, USA
    I'm looking to get a fretless, but the problem is that it's actually hard to find a wide selection on fretless basses to try out around town.

    Just like any other bass, there are tons of variants in getting different sounds. (Fingerboard Wood, P, J, MM, Soap bar, etc)

    My basic question at this point is; is there any benefit in choosing an active over a passive fretless?

  2. trog


    Nov 8, 2003
    I suppose the main benefit of all active basses is that you can shape your tone the exact way you want it using the knobs on the bass.

    I wouldn't pick one bass over another *just* because it has active electronics. There are many gorgeous sounding passive basses.
  3. Get one with an active/passive switch (or, mod it yourself). If it has a passive tone pot, you get the best of both worlds! If not, just have a play with a few and see what you prefer. Apart from being able to boost signals, my view is that what you listed before (pickup type, position, woods) has far more effect on the sound than the electronics after that do.
  4. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I hate active basses and have absolutely no use for them, least of all on a fretless.
  5. Some active fretlesses sound great, some don't. I think that many low-end active basses sound very sterile and inorganic. However a good active pre should sound good either way. Laklands sound amazing fretless, in my opinion. However, many other active fretlesses I've tried sound a bit too sterile. It's hard to generalize. When in doubt, go passive.
  6. That's a shame.

    I tend to play an instrument before deciding if it's worth the purchase. In fact... I did that with an LB70F before purchasing it and decided to take the plunge once I was convinced that in both active, and passive settings it was a solid instrument (which it is!).