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Looking for first fretless bass, help?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by thesluth, Oct 11, 2013.

  1. thesluth


    Oct 3, 2013
    Hey fellow TBers, I a pretty new here so bare with me if there is already a thread for this, I couldn't find one for this

    Ive been playing electric bass for a while and just recently got interested in fretless basses. However, I know almost nothing about them. My rpice range is probably up to about 1000, but I may be able to go a little higher if its worth it. I don't want some cheap bass i'll regret using but I do have a budget. Any suggestions on a first fretless bass?
  2. RxFunk


    Dec 2, 2012
  3. IMdanwhoRU


    Oct 14, 2011
    Depending on your ear/comfort level, I'd suggest starting on a lined Fretless. Even if you get a $200 lined Squire to start with and then get your $1000 unlined Carvin later down the road.
  4. MD


    Nov 7, 2000
    Marin Co. CA.
    I'd also suggest spending less money at first. Not for the lined vs unlined issue, but simply, not everyone takes to fretless. If you find out it's not your thing, you haven't dropped a lot of coin to find out.
  5. Cirk


    Jan 16, 2011
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Another lower priced option for a fretless is Yamaha. Personally, I love my Warwick Corvette. As with any bass purchase, get out there and try out everything to see what suits your budget, ear and ergonomics. Best of luck in your search.
  6. dwjazz54


    Jan 21, 2003
    Jersey City, NJ
    I have to second the idea of getting into the fretless game on the cheap first to see if it's something you want to pursue, and that starting with lines is probably a good idea. With that it mind, every Squier VM fretless Jazz I've played has been a lot better than the price of entry might initially lead you to believe (as Squiers have a tendency to do these days IMO - my main gigging bass is a lightly modded Classic Vibe Jazz).

    My own fretless was had on the cheap as well, a Cort Artisan B4FL, and it legitimately plays and sounds as good IMO to any other fretless I've played (save for a friend's Roscoe years ago!). Don't know if they still make them, though...
  7. Gorn


    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    Indeed. You should be able to find a used LB70F for anywhere from $300 - $500.
  8. Ken J

    Ken J Hartford Hot Several Brass Band

    Aug 19, 2011
    Middlefield, CT
    I just love talking about fretless. All but one of my basses is fretless. My first experience with a fretless bass was at Guitar Center when I picked up a Fender Jazz. (You might want to try to do the same. GC usually has a fretless in stock to try) I knew at that point that fretless was for me. Not so much the Fender product but the lack of frets. It was like going from manual steering to power steering. (If you’re old enough to know what this means). My first fretless bass was a Squier with an Ebonal board. I did not care much about the tone but knew after several months this was the direction I wanted to go into. If after trying to play fretless for a while feels like something you want to continue with don’t let the sounds/ tones of the bass your playing determine whether you want to continue, for example I got a lot of overtones I did not like hearing from my Squire and Fender basses. But after experiencing several Peavey products factory fretless and several other brand names that I had professionally de-fretted I soon found tones that I liked. I started off with fret markers on the board and am now moving on to clean boards. I love working the neck of my stand up and no longer look for the side markers except to start the song. At this time I have a Birdsong in production (13 C – 285) with a clean board and I’m continuing to search out for several other basses with clean boards. Hope this gives you some insight other than just a particular product to buy.
  9. fisticuffs

    fisticuffs Commercial User

    May 3, 2011
    Madison, WI
    I've had my eye on this mid-level Ibanez


    My second bass was a Fender Fretless Jazz. I played it with a pick in a punk band. I know better now.
  10. M0ses


    Sep 11, 2009
    Los Angeles
    You know better now? Cause that sounds awesome, lol. Haters gonna hate.
  11. Jookbox

    Jookbox Registered Drummer

    Mar 16, 2006
    Ibanez makes some nice looking basses.
  12. After being a gear snob for decades..then bought my FIRST Squier..I highly recommend "Jaco Jr" ...Squier Lined fretless 4 string..passive.

    Ebonol board.. plays like greased lightning and under $400.

    Keep us posted..let us knoiw what you chose.

    Choose what sounds/ feels best for you regardless of our TB opinions..
  13. bh2


    Jun 16, 2008
    Oxford, UK
    Great... go for it!

    My first fretless was a Columbus Jazz copy that I'd defretted. Nothing subtle, I just levered the frets out with a screwdriver.

    I now play a 62 Jazz that I've defretted, just aquired a P fretless.

    Lines helped a lot but my P is unlined and it's no probs.

    You will have a lot of fun.
  14. Gorn


    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    +.05 for the Squier. I've played some that were excellent. Great finish and construction, good pickups and just great all around. I've played others that were a hopeless mess, back bowed necks and bottomed out saddles and mile high action all at the same time, plus scratchy knobs and weak pickups. They're very inconsistent from bass to bass.

    It's a good choice if you can play one first.
  15. mark beem

    mark beem Wait, how does this song start again?? Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    Alabama, USA
    I currently have an Ibanez GWB35 for sale. See sig. Includes OHSC and I've upgraded the preamp to a Bartolini 3 band.
  16. JACink


    Mar 9, 2011
    I have the Squier VM fretless Jazz, and although I am no bass expert, I have no complaints about it at all!
  17. intheory


    Nov 17, 2009
    SW Florida
    I have a Schecter Studio 5 string fretless. Love it! $800 new I believe
  18. Cirk


    Jan 16, 2011
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Also, see if you can check out some Washburn basses. I've always had a soft spot for them. Opinions vary of course
  19. FunkyMcNasty

    FunkyMcNasty Supporting Member

    Dec 4, 2010
    Glad your interested in the smoother side of bass. If I were you, I'd grab this http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f126/carvin-sb-5000-fretless-1021549/

    $850 is under your budget and this bass, if you like it, would not need to sold to upgrade to something "better" later on. I am not a fan of going super cheap as I believe cheap gear often leads to frustration over not getting the sounds you want. That being said...I have had several nice fretless basses over the years and ended up settling on a EBMM Stingray. It's not the most expensive, or prettiest fretless that I've owned, but it has the tone that I want. I've owned a Mike Lull, Clement, Fender Jaco, and Fender US Jazz as well. You can find the Stingrays around here for sub $1000.
  20. woodyng


    Dec 19, 2007
    Oregon coast
    I did the whole "try the cheap one first to get your feet wet" thing. I think it's not a bad way to test your conviction. I even liked the $200 yamaha Rbx250f i had,played it for several years,traded up (cash wise) for a $375 MIM Fender Jazz,that was better in some respects,but still not what i was looking for. I ended up with a used ($450) Carvin Ac40 which has a very URB -ish type sound compared to the others,and i was home. But to be truthful,as much as i love playing it,i just don't tend to actually use it as much as my fretted basses. So,it has been an interesting journey,but ultimately i don't know if i will hang on to it.

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