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Is Wishbass right for me?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Chemical Wings, Apr 4, 2009.

  1. Chemical Wings

    Chemical Wings

    Feb 1, 2009
    I'm 14, but I have lots of experience in electric as well as upright bass playing. I am looking for a very playable, no-frills, good-sounding fretless bass that I can use as kind of a "main" bass at a low price, since money is a huge issue for me. I don't mind having to get it touched up (my double bass teacher has worked with basses for over 50 years and is more than willing to get it set up for me), and I especially need something with a long fingerboard. Would it be a good idea to get a Wishbass? I think so right now, you?
  2. fryBASS


    Aug 8, 2006
    New Haven, CT
    Just get a cheap regular bass guitar and defret it.
  3. Jeff Roller

    Jeff Roller Jeff Roller Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 24, 2007
    Maryville, TN
    This is no unbiased opinion as I currently own four of them, three fretless and one fretted. For what they give you for the price you pay, they are one of the true "udiscovered" values out there. Of course this will be followed by many posts telling you not to buy one, they are junk, etc. but most of those posts are going to be from people who have never owned one.

    I would check out this forum and then make your mind up. If you have someone willing to help you set it up, I would pull the trigger on it if I were you.

  4. cmewhinney


    Jul 11, 2008
    Concord, NH
    I see on your profile that you have a jazz right now. If I were in your position, I would hang onto your jazz and save for as long as it takes to get a bass that will sound good and play well. A fretless generally isn't a necessity, so it seems like you shouldn't buy an inferior bass to get it sooner. Stambaugh has very reasonable prices- you can get a bolt-on 4 string for $1600, and it will be a darn good instrument. A Wishbass, IMO, will hinder your development more than help it.
  5. There are a number of brands that offer lowend fretless basses.

    I'm quite fond of my Aria cheapy fretless :)
  6. wvbass

    wvbass Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2004
    West Virginia
    Once everyone has chimed in, I believe the consensus will be that, no, Wishbass is not for you. (I do find rollerberg's comments interesting, though. Always nice to get another point of view.)

    If I were buying a fretless on the cheap, it would be the Squier VM Fretless Jazz. It will probably need some work at the nut, (the nut was very high on the one I had - an easily fixable problem) but its chock full of value. $299.
  7. Step


    Feb 20, 2008
    I played a horribly set-up squier vintage modified fretless once, and it sounded lovely to me
  8. wvbass

    wvbass Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2004
    West Virginia
    There is good advice here, but I wouldn't take it. While I have spent $1,600 on a bass before, there are far too many quality instruments to be had for less than $750 (and even less than $500) to think that you should wait until you have $1600 before you buy a fretless.

    You do get a better quality bass once you pass the $1200 price point, but for far less money you can get a bass of comparable quality. It won't be as good, but it won't be clearly inferior, either.
  9. Jeff Roller

    Jeff Roller Jeff Roller Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 24, 2007
    Maryville, TN
    Because your original question was whether or not to buy a wishbass, and you have experience playing an upright, I had no problem endorsing a wishbass. The necks are very thick and not unlike playing an upright.

    There is value in the advice of buying a cheapo Fender and pulling the frets though. My first experience playing fretless (other than my early upright bluegrass days) was several years ago when I needed a fretless and didn't want to buy one. I had an old frankenstein Fender Precision with a '66 neck I pulled the frets from and finished with a spray on bedliner finish. I slapped some Rotosound flats on it and it just sang,
  10. Mark Wilson

    Mark Wilson Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    Toronto, Ontario
    Endorsing Artist: Elixir® Strings
    I'm curious as to why you need a long fingerboard?
  11. CapnSev


    Aug 19, 2006
    Coeur d'Alene
  12. bhass


    Oct 21, 2008
    England, UK
  13. That's not right for anyone!!!!:eek:
  14. Step


    Feb 20, 2008
  15. Hugh9191


    Feb 20, 2009
    Wow, I looked on youtube for other wishbass clips and haven't yet found one that shows the bass in a good light, mainly because of the players.

    Most of them were people playing slap on them.
  16. Thunderitter

    Thunderitter Bass - the final frontier! Supporting Member

    Jun 6, 2007

    I've got a couple of Wishbasses, but if it is to be your only bass then the Squier is the best way to go on the cheap. A Wishbass will be playable out the box, but there's a lot of work to do to get it to the playability that you'll get from a VM after 5 minutes of set-up. Most folks will not be happy with the finish and that is a fairly large but easy process to correct (30hrs+ for me, although I don't do re-fins everyday). A Wishbass itself doesn't have a lot you can do with the set up apart from reducing the height of the bridge - but that's something you can only do once; it's solid Corian. Now, depending on the style you can fit an 'aftermarket' adjustable bass, but you then might highlight some of the possible problems with the fingerboard if you get the action too low. I probably spent 3 or 4hrs on that alone during my refin.

    Now, the interesting thing is that, IMHO, you will get a way better tone from the Wishbass, but as I say that will come with other issues that if you're 'learning the trade' I'd personally avoid.

    However, if you have $300 to burn go buy a Wishbass and enjoy refinishing it and playing it. They are great, very different and quirky basses. As Rollerberg200o says if you're still interested check out the Wishbass Club thread; lots of good info there.

    Here's what a refinished Wishbass looks like:

  17. I don't own a Wish, but I have defended them on here several times before.

    ...That being said, I'd think maybe an SX is better for you. Cheaper than a Wish, and much more refined outta the box.
  18. Awesome Wish!
  19. First of all this video is a classic!! but really, I can't say I've owned one but I've played a few owned by friends and cant say I would get one as a "main" fretless right off the bat. I don't think they are "bad" basses but I think for the same amount or less you can get a bass that would be a better starting point. there are lots of choices for less than $400 and keep in mind that if you want to do any "upgrades" to your wishbass they all start at $50 after the first "free" one. so if you want an adjustable truss rod(should not be an "upgrade" should come standard), and a lacquer or oiled finish(this is also usually included on other instruments) , that puts you at $450 plus shipping. check out this link for some really cheap options that work for allot of people just to give you an idea of your options.


    with less than $200 you could get a very usable bass and invest the extra $200 (at least) you saved in a new pre-amp, pickups or anything else. My first fretless was a '92 B.C. Rich innovator that I picked up used for $80 at a local shop, pulled the frets and filled the lines with wood epoxy that I died red and got a new bone nut put on it. still sounds great and is one of the most comfortable basses I've played and with all the work i put into I still payed less than $200.
  20. Chemical Wings

    Chemical Wings

    Feb 1, 2009
    Well I'm mostly interested in a Wishbass because of how good and upright-like they sound compared to how little they cost, and also the fact that it will be actually custom made to my personal needs and specifiations. I was interested in the AC6 for a while, but the price tag took it out of the question. My idea for a custom Wishbass has changed these past few weeks from a 4-string Lobe to a 6-string JB, and it might change later to who knows what else. All-and-all, Wishbass is still at the top of my list for now just because of the added range/uniqueness/sound, but my options are still open.

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