HELP! Getting a Fretless bass; can't decide

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Eargasm, Jan 27, 2004.

  1. Eargasm


    Jan 27, 2004
    After a few years of playing, I have decided that it is time to start poking around in the fretless world. I have done some research on fretless basses and played many, although I will admit my knowledge of the different brands and sounds of fretless basses is still limited. It would be great if you guys could offer some suggestions as to which fretless bass I should buy.

    So far my main choice is Fender's Jaco Pastorius Signature Jazz Bass, although I am considering the Warwick Thumb and a fretless G&L L-2000

    Money is not really a concern for me, but I would like to avoid dishing out $3000+ for some custom axe.

    I would prefer having the neck unlined.

    Position dots (whatever, you know what I mean) on the side of the neck are preferable so I have some idea of where to put my fingers, but not completely necessary.

    I have decided to stick to four strings.

    I would prefer to have a double-octave range on my bass, but it is really not necessary for my tastes.

    If the bass looks like **** but plays like a dream, I'd buy it. My motto has always been performance over bling.

    Weight is not a factor. I am a big guy. It also helps when you have a padded elastic strap. Any bass feels almost weightless (although the strap was quite the dent in the wallet :smug: .)

    Again, please offer suggestions of different fretless basses you would recommend. I'm always open to persuasion.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    A fretless G&L would be a lot of fun. The tones in those things are nearly endless. Not 24 fret, but they are some of the best values out there. Can't beat a handmade made bass for like $600 used.

    GOOD ones too. I wish I hadn't sold my L2000 fretted...
  3. BoiNtC


    Nov 25, 2002
    NYC, USA
    I have a Jaco, its an amazing fretless bass :) I put a J-Retro in it for more tone shaping options, but I remember having it passive and it was sweet as is, amazing bass, I loved everything about it, only complaint is the position dots or side dots aren't dead center like on a normal bass throws me off sometimes when I'm playing it (its at where the lines are).
  4. hippiesandwich


    Aug 29, 2003
    San Jose
    Affiliated with Looperlative Audio Products
    If money is not an object I would consider Wal and Pedulla (buzz) as well.
  5. I'll enthusiatically second the fretless Wal suggestion above.
  6. jammadave

    jammadave Rudderless ship Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2003
    Wash DC metro area
    *to the tune of the william tell overture/lone ranger theme*

    getathumb getathumb getathumbthumbthumb,
    fretlessthumb fretlessthumb fretlessthumbthumbthumb

    it's my favorite fretless ever, and it and the corvette fretless were the basses that got me to finally like Warwicks. If you're a big guy the body might be a tad smallish for you, so check out the corvette too and save beaucoup dollars.
  7. dabshire


    Dec 15, 2002
    McKinney, TX
    I also hear Zon fretless basses are "it" for mwah and fretless tone....
  8. Scottgun


    Jan 24, 2004
    I say the G&L L2000. You can customize the heck out of it. Get a #6 neck (Jazz neck) and an ebony UNLINED fingerboard, dress it up with some binding maybe and it will look sweet. Also, I think the G&L would be the most versatile and not limited to just going "mwah" all day. :)

  9. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    zon. zoN. zON. ZON!!!!!

    I'd also take a look at the Pedulla. Buzz basses are sweet.

    I'd much rather buy a nicer bass used than overpay for a newer one of less quality.
  10. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    I will third the Zon recommendation. Mine is the best fretless that I have ever played.
  11. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA

    "Mwah" is really more about, to a slight extent, the setup, and mostly technique. You can take any fretless with even the greatest "mwahability" ever known and make it sound completely "mwahless" by the way you finger the notes and pluck the strings.

    Just as you can get a certain amount of "mwah" or growl out of even a fretted bass with the right technique.
  12. Eargasm


    Jan 27, 2004
    Ok, I have checked out all the basses you guys suggested and I have decided that the Zons, Pedullas, and Wals are quite out of my price range. I'm not going to move onto a bass that heavenly yet.

    My three main choices are as follows:

    :cool: Jaco's signature jazz bass
    :cool: Warwick Thumb
    :cool: G&L L-2000

    If anyone has a fretless L-2000, PLEASE SAY SOMETHING! :D Leave as many opinions as you can. I need all the information I can get.

    Also, if I were to get a G&L, would the L-2000 be the best choice for going fretless?

    BoiNtC, what did you think of your Jaco when you got it? I would like as much information/opinions as you can possibly give me about the Jaco.

    You guys have been a great help so far.

    Thanks in advance.
  13. I'll give the Zons a fourth vote. I've never played one myself, but about a year and a half ago, I experienced the sound coming from Gard's* fretless Zon about 10 feet away, and it sounded tremendous.

    Also check out fretless Ernie Ball/Music Man Stingrays and Sterlings. If you buy new, you can get a custom color and still stay below half that $3,000.00. If you buy used, you'll save even more.

    Good luck.

    Welcome to Talkbass and the world of fretless. ;)


    * A very well known memeber here.
  14. didn't Jaco tear the frets out himself?:confused:
  15. boogiebass


    Aug 16, 2000
    I own a Jaco Artist Fender. With a set of Roto's on it, it'll get you a great tone, assuming a low setup and a healthy dose of technique! :D

    Nicely balanced, fast neck and great passive pickups. No, it won't make you sound like Jaco (nothing will). But it's a bass you can live with, that's for sure. I have the fretted one, too. The fretless is on the left:

  16. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Is the fingerboard wood different on the fretted and the fretless? Looks a good deal darker.
  17. Scottgun


    Jan 24, 2004
    Do mean L-2500 vs. L-2000? (5 vs. 4 strings)or do you mean something else like the tele-shaped ASAT?

    Unless you are really set on a 5-string, stick to the 2000. A really loaded L-2000 can go for well under $2000 and compares quite favorably to botique basses.

  18. Zon Sonus Fretless.....yummmie

    Peavey Cirrus Fretless......scorchers

    and if money is no Object


  19. Eargasm


    Jan 27, 2004

    As stated in the first post, I wanted to stick with a four string. I was wondering if the L-2000 was better than the other basses that G&L produces (excluding the L-2500, because, obviously, it has five strings.) By that I mean, is the L-2000 better than the JB-2 and the ASAT? In other words, does it have more features and better fretless sound?

    (Sidenote: can the other basses even come fretless?)


    There are enough Jaco-wannabes out there already (who wouldn't want to have his skill?) I'm not necessarily aiming for the Jaco sound, but instead was wondering if it was a good fretless bass all around.

    Micheal Jewels,

    Thanks for the welcome, I guess :smug: . Everyone here has been very helpful so far. My post is being answered intelligibly and promptly by many people. I am glad to get different opinions. This is a great website and resource.
  20. artistanbul

    artistanbul Nihavend Longa Vita Brevis

    Apr 15, 2003
    how about a curbow with 36 fretlesses? :D