Great fretless???????

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Diezel420, Aug 13, 2001.

  1. I was wonderin' what basses make great fretless instruments. I'm lookin' for a real DEEP sound and a really good "bwaahhh" (if that makes ANY sense). Kinda like the new Marcus Miller stuff. I know he plays a Fodera, but I can't afford that. I don't have a fretless and I want one, so if any of you have favorite fretless basses that aren't pricey, that would really help.

  2. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Diezel, what price range are we talking about? Let me tell you the 4 best that I have ever played, from least expensive to most expensive.

    Cort Artisan fretless. Bartolini pickups, mwaahh for days, best low priced fretless I have ever played. 4 string should be under $500.

    Peavey Cirrus. Neck through construction, Peavey's VFL pickups(which are great) and 3 band preamp. Great mwaahh and the best mid priced fretless that I have ever played. Almost bought a fretless 5 Cirrus, and I did buy a fretted 6 Cirrus. A 4 should be around $900-$1000.

    Pedulla Buzz. Poly coated fingerboard, Bartolini pickups and optional Bart 2 band preamp. Made of beautiful AA flame maple, and 3 piece neck through construction. Has the most mwaahh of any fretless that I have ever played. Almost bought one of these as well. 4 string should be around $2000-$2300.

    Zon Sonus Custom. The best fretless that I have ever played. I have never played a Fodera or a F Bass, but I've yet to play a fretless that I liked as much. I bought a used 5 string with piezo bridge and this bass does it all. 2 Bartolini soapbars, active bass/treble, internal mid with frequency selection, and internal bass and treble for the piezo. I can get warm upright tones, aggressive hard rock tones, mellow jazz tones, great slap tone and great mwaahh all from one bass. I own 7 basses, and this is the best. It gets played the most. 4 stringer with the piezo should be around $2200 - $2500, depending on what woods you order.

    I can't resist. Here's a pic of my Zon:

  3. boogiebass


    Aug 16, 2000
    Like Jeff, I'm fortunate to own the best fretless I've ever played. In my case, it's a '98 Alembic Custom Fretless 5 string with Hi-C. Essentially a smaller-bodied Series with all the amenities, including top-side LED's, mutant walnut top, etc. Great bass, no question. Here's a pic:

    Affordable? Well, no but I did manage to steal it for $2K.

    In the affordable ranks, I have a '97 American Deluxe Jazz Fretless that I like very much. About 5 bills or so if you keep an eye out on EBay for a used one.
  4. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    $2K for that bass is a steal:D

    In addition to everything else check out the MTD Kingston fretlesses.

    Re Marcus: Marcus sounds like that with every fretless I've heard him play. Last Summer I heard him with a Smith and it sounded great.

    Great axe + great hands = great sound.

    BTW there was a used fretless Fodera 5 at my local GC for around $2400. That's not exhorbitant, IMO

    I'd still buy my Legacy and Elrick first;)
  5. coyoteboy

    coyoteboy easy there, Ned Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2000
    Sactomato, CA
    Ditto with the Zon fretless. Had a cust.5 w/piezo like embellisher, now I have a Zon Lightwave fretless 5. Although the best was probably my former URB teacher's bass, Victoria.
  6. Another vote for a fretless Zon. I had a Sonus fretless and not have a Sonus Lightwave. Outstanding instruments, IMHO...
  7. Another vote for a fretless Zon. I had a Sonus fretless and now have a Sonus Lightwave. Outstanding instruments, IMHO...
  8. ldiezman


    Jul 11, 2001
    I played a zona 4 string fretless at a store awhile back.. that thing is Mwaahhh all the way... if it is out of your range.. I also played a dean at the same store.. it was a semi-hollow body syle 4 string bass... only like 500 or so.. but it sounded pretty decent for the price..
  9. i owned a pre-gibson tobias fretless 5 that had a rich, woody buttom with a musical sounding top end. mwah was there for sure, but in different shades. for example, i could dial in an almost upright like tone if i wanted, or the punch and honk of a jazz - but with sustain for days. i regret selling her for sure, but hey...
  10. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Does anyone know why my Zon pic isn't posting?

    What did I do wrong?
  11. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    On Saturday, Dave Siff and I checked out some Atlanta area music stores. One of the basses I saw was a used Roscoe 5 string fretless. It had a "diamondwood" fretboard which is the same thing as the rockwood that Curbow uses on his necks and fretboards. It sounded, and played great. I think they wanted $1300 for it. I had been flipflopping with whether, or not, to make my new 6 string Curbow fretless, and this Roscoe gave me my answer. The diamond/rockwood makes an excellent fretboard for fretlesses.
  12. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    Good call, bassmonkeee. My fretless came down to Zon or Roscoe...and I honestly couldn't choose. Then a *certain* member here :)D) stole the fretless Zon I had on hold with the guy, and so I went with the Roscoe. I absolutely love it! The diamondwood board sounds incredible, AND looks beautiful! I love my bass! :D

    Can't go wrong with Zon or Roscoe!
  13. Just last week I bought a new Warwick Corvette Standard Fretless (passive). I love this bass. I got it rediculously cheap because I have a good hookup but you could probably find one around $800 to $1000. The fingerboard is ebony and the body/ neck wood is beautiful. For the bwahh sound, I use roundwound strings, but these strings will wear the fingerboard faster.
  14. Gard

    Gard Commercial User

    Mar 31, 2000
    Greensboro, NC, USA
    General Manager, Roscoe Guitars
    Another vote the the fretless Zons - I've got a killer Sonus Special 5 Fretless, great bass! :D

    Got a great deal on it used, and no I didn't "steal" it from Angus, that was someone else!! ;)
  15. Kevinlane

    Kevinlane Supporting Member

    Dec 30, 2000
    Missouri, near Branson
    My Turner Reneseance 5 is killer.
    A MWAH machine. Very upright sounding.

    Also, I had a Roscoe fretless 5 with an ebony board and it was very good for the "hard" Jaco and Claypool sounds.
  16. barroso


    Aug 16, 2000
  17. Bass_Cadet

    Bass_Cadet Supporting Member

    Jul 25, 2001
    I'm hoping to soon be another voter for Zon.

    I just defretted my Sonus Special V and put in birch strips for markers. Looks *nice*. I still need to put on some inlay dots and then coat it. Does anyone have suggestions on what to use for coating? I've used Varathane's DiamondFinish on other basses and am leaning towards using it on this bass. I'm also going to try to restring it from a low B to a high C.

    I have a Yamaha BB3000AF that sounds good and plays well but will soon be for sale. ;)
  18. Of the fretlesses that people often say are great, I've played and remember
    Rick Turner Renaissance
    Zon Sonus
    F Bass
    Pedulla Buzz

    They are all indeed extremely fine instruments.

    The Rennaissance has its own special strings that roll more under your fingers. A little weird at first. It also had a (to me) undesirable braap in the first position. Everywhere else, it sounded superb.

    I'm a big Pedulla fan, owning a Thunderbass and a Rapture. (T-bass is for sale, mail me) but the Buzz is what made them famous. Very easy bass to make sing.

    Zon, I never liked the sound of their fretted models - too thin, acoustically. But with the fretless, it actually works out quite well.

    F Bass I'm going to say was a step above all the others. Several steps. It's the most wonderful object I've ever touched in my life. More or less a religious experience.

    So what's my fretless? A MIM Jazz with DiMarzio ultrajazz p/u's. That, and my hands, gets me to about 99% satisfaction. Someday, I probably will go ahead and get an F Bass. My GAS level is real low right now.
  19. xush


    Jul 4, 2001
    mobile AL

    I've tried all these you listed except for the F, I could only find a fretted one. And it was great! Laklands are pretty nice too, in that range.
    The Pedulla was my favorite, but I agree with most of the descriptions here... pretty accurate in my experience.
    I think the Turner 5 I played had Thomastik Infelds on it??

    Got to play Gard's Zon a few weeks ago... finally experienced what everybody's bragging about concerning Zons. Didn't like the Legacy f'less I played a while back, and wasn't too crazy about the fretted ones I've tried, but that Sonus fretless was great!!! Thanks for bringing it, Gard.

  20. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    If you're looking for a low priced beginner's fretless the twu that jump out in my mind are the Yamaha 260 fretless and the Dean Edge. I have an Edge 5 and it's a very good bass for the money IMO.