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Fretless shopping

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by sidonbass, Nov 8, 2018.

  1. Old Blastard

    Old Blastard

    Aug 18, 2013
    They sold pretty well. You see em on eee! Bay and in the TB classifieds now and then.
  2. sidonbass

    sidonbass Supporting Member

    May 27, 2006
    Asheville NC
  3. Joebone

    Joebone Supporting Member

    Oct 31, 2005
    Los Angeles
    Gonna recommend used, given the $1k. budget. You could well find a Lakland 44-01 or 44-02 at that price point, or for even less. That Tony Franklin sounds like a good choice. One thing I'd insist on, particularly if you're playing latin, is getting an ebony fretboard (not sure if the Franklin has one). I'm addicted to that bit of point on the attack, particularly when soloing in a latin or latin-jazz vein.

    Good luck!
  4. sawzalot

    sawzalot Supporting Member

    Oct 18, 2007
    MusicMans make wonderful fretlesses. IMHO the EBMM Sterling model (the one with the offset body and slimmer neck vs. the Stingray) is one of the best fretless designs on earth. I've owned three of them now at different times and they were all incredible. Stingrays are nice too, though I personally prefer the Sterling model. Within your budget too, if you buy them used.
  5. tfer


    Jan 1, 2014
    And I’d stay away from basses under that amount.

    Fretless basses are unforgiving when it comes to manufacturing. The slightest errors on the fingerboard are magnified to the point that it can be unplayable.

    I truly believe that most players give up in fretless because they bought a cheap bass, that they were forced to fight. My fretless basses are effortless to play. They are a joy.
    DiabolusInMusic and equill like this.
  6. tfer


    Jan 1, 2014
    That’s what my next fretless will be.
    packhowitzer likes this.
  7. REV

    REV Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    The Ibanez SHR500 F has a reasonable upright sound for a fretless electric bass and it's in your price range.
  8. The "fret" board must be perfect or you won't be able to set it up low to get the mwah. With wood that is not easy to find in cheap basses, not to tell that best wood is ebony. Probably with synthetic materials is better. Then, if you want a modern mwah, avoid acoustic-like basses, f holes, wooden bridges... My fretless is a Sandberg thinline, amazing and crying bass, but it is a woody mwah, great for flamenco but not so much for a pop ballad, for example. The opposite of a Pedulla Pentabuzz.
  9. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    almost any of them: it's about the setup. if the instrument (neck, nut, bridge) can take an 'appropriate' setup = mwah. good luck with your choices! :thumbsup:

    i think the players who "give up" figure they're in over their heads...they give up too soon because it seems like too much work...
    also: i think the price of the instrument is irrelevant if the bass can be set up correctly for mwah (see above). that said: i'm glad you're happy with your fretless axes! what are they? pics? thanks. ;)
  10. twinjet

    twinjet GE90-equipped Moderator Staff Member

    Sep 23, 2008
    Get you a fretless Jazz Bass, load it up with flatwound strings and you're set. Make sure you have a nice, low action.

    I like to run 2/8/0 on a typical VVT circuit. That provides ample mwah.
  11. tfer


    Jan 1, 2014
    Currently, I play an Ibanez Portamento, and a Breedlove Atlas.

    Both are pictured in my avatar.
    JRA likes this.
  12. tfer


    Jan 1, 2014
    IME, mwah is far easier to achieve with rounds.
    Brad Johnson and George Himmel like this.
  13. twinjet

    twinjet GE90-equipped Moderator Staff Member

    Sep 23, 2008
    Sure, though I find flats mwah much more pleasant.
    macmanlou, bassista6 and tfer like this.
  14. Fletz

    Fletz Supporting Member

    Jan 16, 2009
    New Jersey
    Hartke artist
    Go up to $1100 and buy the Tony Franklin fretless I have listed in the classifieds. :)
  15. Big fan of Ibanez here. Try both the SR370EF and the SRF700 Portamento. Some love one, some love the other - personally, I tried both and went for the 370. It's still my favourite instrument, and all I'd really want to change is the colour.
    Groundwounds are my happy place for strings on a fretless - flats are too dead, and rounds are too lively and scratchy-sounding.
  16. nilorius


    Oct 27, 2016
    Latvia, Riga
    You could look at Ibanez GWB35, the sound and quality is good, though it's made in Korea and is 5 str. - try it out, you will be surprised. It costs 750E new.
  17. Acoop

    Acoop Supporting Member

    Feb 21, 2012
    Not sure why? ... I have them on all my basses.
    "D is the sadest of all keys." Spinal Tap

    Have you looked into, first, buying the fretless neck you want, then pickup an alder MX body and add good after market pickups to it?
    Snaxster likes this.
  18. I also vote for the Ibanez Portamento. They come strung with D'Addario Chromes and the sound is awesome. You will get plenty of mwah for under 1k. :D
    bholder likes this.
  19. oren

    oren Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2007
    Salem, OR
    I really like my Sire V7 fretless and have no hesitation in recommending it. Here are a couple of samples from when I first got it.
    TK4261, NigelD, bholder and 2 others like this.
  20. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    I think those saying to avoid cheap basses are on point. The issue you cannot set them up for "mwah". A fretless setup is far more picky than a fretted one. Cheap fretless basses also tend to use the same parts as their fretted counterparts, including the nut. Take the Squier VM line, for example. I have yet to actually see one that I would consider "playable" from the factory. They all require a nut cut and a board level otherwise you get "buzz", not "mwah".

    If you are somewhat handy, a cheap fretless can be a great learning tool. I learned a lot about fretless basses with my first fretless, a Squier VM Jazz. I learned what it takes to have a good fretless and, more importantly, how I could turn my non-functional fretless into a working one. Once the work has been done, the VMs are decent basses but that work may be nearly as much as the bass was.

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