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Help me choose a fretless!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Nickthebassist, Apr 9, 2005.


  1. As some of you know I was looking at a Lakland Skyling 55-02 fretless(with lines). They're pretty expensive but I'm willing to save up. However, today I was browsing the Warwick site, and listening to Jaco Pastorius , and though how much I loved the fretless tone.......then I saw the Double Buck Corvette and I had one of my ideas......a fretless 5 string Double Buck Corvette!(in black :cool: ) What do you guys reckon? I've played a Corvette before and liked it a LOT, i was just wondering is the Double Buck has any differences to a normal Swamp Ash corvette(obviously there's the pickups etc, but I'm on about the neck profile etc.) Also, I'm after a FAT fretless tone, like a beefed up Jazz. Any help would be great, cheers. :)
     
  2. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    I haven't tried a Warwick fretless, but I have a beefed up Jazz. It's a "Frankenjazz" special... Warmoth body, Status lined fretless graphite neck, EMGs, Badass II. It's pretty awesome... mwah, sustain, etc, etc, etc. A lot of this is due to the neck, I'm sure. I've just got a J-Retro for my fretted Jazz and if I like it when I've fitted it and gigged it a bit I may add one to the fretless. What I'm saying is if you like Jaco (!!!!!!) why not go for a "superjazz" to your own spec? I'm pretty pleased with the way mine's turned out.
     

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  3. Like a beefed up Jazz = Sadowsky. How about a Fretless Sadowsky? I realize that, if you were thinking about a Lakland Skyline series, you probably don't have the money for a Sadowsky, but we can always fantasize.

    If you like Warwick basses, then go for it. I personally would vastly prefer a Lakland over any Warwick, but I am not the one playing the bass.
     
  4. The views of others can be useful but ultimately it is all about taste. There are a lot of good fretless out there and they can be quite different and all have their following. Also, I might add, there can be variations in tone (quality) within a line.

    My suggestion is that, that you haunt the music stores and play as many as you can (used if you are on a budget) until you find one that says "keep me". And if you want to get started and cant wait for your perfect mate, buy one used that comes close, keep looking and buy the one you love when you find it (selling the old).
     
  5. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    This is clearly good advice. The only problem I have with it is that sometimes it's just difficult to find enough gear in the stores to actually try out. For example, I visited the major instrument retailer in Birmingham (England's second biggest city, population about 2m) and they had ONE fretless in there, a Yamaha.

    The point is that, over here anyway, if you decide to wait until you find what you really want in a store then you're likely to wait forever, unless you get really lucky. Sometimes I've just had to take a gamble and make a firm commitment to buy something without having a chance to try it first, for the reasons described. I suppose I've been lucky - most of the times I've been happy with what I've ordered in stores, online or put together myself. But we do have to gamble, over here in the UK at least. I hope my Nordstrands work out when they arrive!

    Nick - what do you think about this? What do you get to try up in your neck of the woods? Have you been down to London and visited the Bass Cellar in Denmark Street (the only place for bass GASaholics that I know of in the UK)?
     
  6. I have recently been round this loop myself, although not at the price range you are considering.

    The Bass Cellar (Denmark Street) had more fretless basses than any othe store I visited, BUT, it is run by a guy who has a reputation for rubbishing anything he does not have in stock (it's all in a previous thread). Sound Control in Oxford Street (basement of Virgin) had one fretless bass when I phoned, and none when I arrived.

    If you can get up to Manchester, Sound Control there are a major Warwick stockist, as well as having fretlesses by Fender and one or two others.

    Good luck.
     
  7. Hmm, the problem with the jazz body is that it's too big for me, no matter how high I wear it. I seem to remember the Corvette being nice and compact. Will it have that fuzzy fretless burp?
     
  8. Bardolph

    Bardolph

    Jul 28, 2002
    Grand Rapids, MI
    I had a chance to play a fretless corvette. Definitely had the fretless "burp" you speak of, but in a nice way. It's quite a ballsy sound if that's what you want.
     
  9. Snarf

    Snarf

    Jan 23, 2005
    New York, NY
    I'd suggest at least considering going unlined on the fretboard. It's purely a matter of aesthetics, but an unlined board is way more professional looking. And forcing your ear to get you to intonate correctly is a good thing. I wish I had unlined, I think it adds somewhat to your credibility.

    Feel free to contradict anything I said here.
     
  10. DeadPoet

    DeadPoet

    Jun 4, 2003
    Belgium
    IMO fretlesses vary grzatly from instrument to instrument (more than fretted ones it seems - to me)

    I have a Stingray 5 fless which I adore, but i have never found another stingray fless which sounded half as good as mine.

    Play one without amp, just by itself - some fretless basses are hard to intonate, others really easy, but most of the tone you get amplified is already there when you play it 'acoustically'.



    Herwig
     
  11. Toasted

    Toasted

    May 26, 2003
    Leeds, UK
    I cant believe you're meantioning the Bass Cellar over the Bass Gallery. The Gallery is superior in every way, including the excellent team they have there.
     
  12. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    Thanks for the tip - I haven't been in there, but the website looks really good, especially the workshop repair and setup service. Next time I'm down in London I will definitely check it out. My earlier mention of the Bass Cellar was mainly about the range of gear in there, not the staff. The comments above and in the earlier threads kind of fit with my own (limited) experience of the place. The Bass Centre guys have been very helpful when I've visited, but I was a bit disappointed with the stock, although it was a good while ago last time I went in. Birmingham used to have a specialist bass shop, but unfortunately that's gone now. Sorry for going slightly off topic, but UK suppliers of quality stuff are naturally of interest to us Brits.
     
  13. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    Okay-the most credible and well-known fretless player (Jaco) always used lines. So does Gary Willis (probably the top fretless guy out there now), Marcus Miller, Steve Lawson, etc. I can't imagine someone walking into a studio and the producer giving them more cred than these guys because they had an unlined fretless. I don't even believe anyone but bassists even notice if a fretless is lined or unlined-credibility will come from your playing, and if lines help you play better or with better intonation, use 'em.

    I haven't even seen one of the Doublebuck Corvettes in person yet, but I had a standard Corvette fretless, and will say that the tone was quite a bit darker than the average Fender Jazz fretless. The body is more compact though.
     
  14. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    Yup. IMHO.
     
  15. Good point(s), Bryan. I was going to mention Steve Lawson; at the recent Masterclass in San Jose he advocated lines on fretless basses. I like unlined, but I'm no pro, & can make a lined bass sound as awful as unlined. It is something to consider, from at least a couple of different perspectves.
     
  16. I've played a freless corvette, it's lovely, but everyone has there own tastes play everything you can till you find what you like the best.
     
  17. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    Yes, exactly. Jimmy Haslip too.
     
  18. It HAS to be lined I'm afraid. I can't play unlined fretless.
     
  19. That might rule out a Corvette then, since Warwick only make lined fretlesses as a special order, at an upcharge.
    And by the way, if you find J-basses to be too large, you might not like Laklands either. But, have you ever considered Yamaha? They make lined fretless versions of both the RBX and BB models, that offer a lot of bang for the buck.
     
  20. keb

    keb

    Mar 30, 2004
    Yeah, I've read some very good points that Steve Lawson made on this board regarding lines. And besides, when someone is listening to your music on a stereo, I don't think they really care if your bass has lines or not! My old fretless didn't have lines (and I will say unlined looks better to me), but my new incoming fretless will have lines. Everyone's methods and means of learning is different, but I think lines are more of a help than a hindrance for me. After playing both kinds in stores and whatnot, I prefer lines. For others, it's the opposite, and that's cool.