1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Inexpensive 4 string fretless bass guitar

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Richiee, Dec 29, 2005.

  1. Richiee


    Oct 29, 2005
    Want to try the Fretless world out for the first time. What would be the best sounding and INEXPENSIVE 4 string fretless, (with fret markings on the neck)? Also, is is true that even some that have the fretlines marked, that they are off tune or off key, or is this a Fretless thing on all these type basses.

    Thanks for any info

  2. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    Dunno what your budget is, but if you want quality + good price = value, I recommend Carvin. They make a particularly nice fretless neck-through - either the LB20 (passive) or LB70 (active/passive)...

  3. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    MTD Kingston. Period. You can get them on ebay for under $300 :eek: Or new for $500 ish.
  4. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Rondo Music has a nice selection of inexpensive fretless basses.
    As with fretted basses, you have to adjust the intonation of these basses. If the intonation is off on the bass it makes fretless finger intonation very difficult.
  5. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    If you're first starting out on fretless, I would venture to say that any out-of-tune-ness would be operator error as opposed to faulty lines. ;) Good intonation comes with practice.
  6. +1!!!!!!!!!!

    I bought a fretless 6 string Brice for $199 (no lines) - moved the bridge back an 1/8" for a little more intonation play and put a set of flatwounds on it. It's the best purchase I've ever made! If you're just looking for a 4, pick up whatever you like. If you get a Fender Precision copy, and put a real P pickup and electronics in it, you'll have the Fender sound for a LOT less than the real thing.
  7. Although you do need to set intonation,fretlines or markers are really just for visual reference. Bear in mind that barely rolling your fretting finger either way will affect the pitch of the note up or down. You must use your ears to play in tune.
    It takes practice and a good set of ears to master the fretless so don't get discouraged immediately. Also one of the distinctive qualities of the fretless sound is the slightly nonprecise intonation of the "fretted" note.
  8. Son of Magni

    Son of Magni

    May 10, 2005
    Builder: ThorBass
    I would go with a Brice from Rondo Music. I bought one as a starter for some experiments and it seemed well worth the cost. I don't know if they make them with fret lines though.

    Also, regarding Rondo, the first bass they sent me arrived with the headstock snapped off. They were very good about getting another one out to me right away.
  9. fookgub


    Jun 5, 2005
    Houston, TX
    The Kingston and SX are both great suggestions. I'd like to throw Yamaha in, too. I played a BB-series fretless a while ago that was great.

    Another thing you should really do is check out all your local music shops. A lot of players give up on fretless quickly, and since demand is lower, shops sometimes have trouble moving them. You can often find really good deals on used fretless basses just by looking around a bit. The GC near me has had a Yamaha fretless in for a while, and every time I go back they have marked it down a bit more. In the end, you just have to find something that sounds good and feels right to you.
  10. west*coast*bass

    west*coast*bass Supporting Member

    Dec 6, 2003
    Agoura Hills, CA
    I just bought an SX P-Bass and was floored with the quality of such an inexpensive bass. I'm sure the fretless models are just as good.
  11. Well I've just bought this £129 pound Fretless 4-String literally a couple of hours ago. Sounds pretty inexpensive to me. :smug: