looking to expand my arsenal

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by swartzfeger, Mar 22, 2011.

  1. swartzfeger


    Mar 23, 2009
    Sedona, AZ

    Looking to expand my bass arsenal. After 20 years of buying (and selling) some great basses, my lineup has finally settled down to a Geddy Lee Jazz and a SX fretless.

    The Geddy is great for gigging and jamming and the SX has been great for getting my feet wet with fretless, but I've been recording more and more lately and I'm identifying what I want in my next bass -- basically, a fretless 5.

    I want to take my time selecting/building a 'dream' 5 fretless... it may be a Skjold, maybe a Zon, might be a <blank>.

    Since custom/boutique build times are often 6-12 months I'm looking for an interim instrument that's high quality but available to buy now... so I'm probably looking at a new instrument from a boutique that has a 'Korean' build or a used bass.

    My taste/style lean toward a jazz growl/burp but I really get tired of noise, shielding etc while recording so I may consider my first humbucker. Also looking for 'mwah', so I'm assuming I'm shooting for a dense fingerboard. Strong B would be great and I have no issue with 34" vs. 35" -- I'm just looking for a fantastic 5 fretless with exceptional sound that's high quality that probably doesn't have the high end 'polish' of a boutique.

    The only thing coming to mind right now is MTD -- which pretty much nails my reqs (high quality, Korean build), but for whatever reason every bass I've ever played with barts I've never liked the tone (admittedly, this was 15+ years ago in my 20s when I thought I knew everything).

    So... MTD? Do other luthiers like Zon, Pedulla etc offer quality budget 5 fretless?

    My budget is up to $2000 but less is definitely better. Thanks!
  2. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    The Zon Sonus Standard 5 probably would fill the bill. Bass San Diego carries them, and they're under $1,400. I don't think they have a fretless right now, but you might be able to order one. Zon fretlae are monsters in the tone department.
  3. swartzfeger


    Mar 23, 2009
    Sedona, AZ
    I'm only familiar with Zon's fretless tone from Manring's albums... but after listening to him for 20 years, I don't think I need to hear any other examples. :)

    Lightwave -- I've been reading quite a bit about them, but there seems to be a split in opinion. I watched Friedland's video review of the VL 5 fretless and was cautiously impressed.

    I'm hunting down sound clips/reviews of the MTD Z series. For the price, it looks to be a killer instrument (I've just gotta get past my bart prejudice).

    Bass Central has a EBMM HH 5 unlined in my price range, but I think a blank plank would make me wet my pants. And after listening to a load of MM samples tonight, I can't say that the MM tone is my thing (is it me or do they have scooped mids/completely different mid qualities than a J).

    There are some used Pentabuzzes I've been eyeing up that just sound righteous.

    Thanks for the Bass San Diego tip, I will check them out STAT.
  4. edfriedland


    Sep 14, 2003
    Tucson, AZ
    I'm getting ready to demo the VL 5 fretted very soon!
  5. swartzfeger


    Mar 23, 2009
    Sedona, AZ
    Thanks Ed! I really liked your VL 5 fretless video (and really appreciate your work in general). Most of what i read in regards to the warm/ice circuit that you mentioned in your demo was that the ice and piezos in general are a little too bright for a lot of 'traditional' fretless applications.

    I just had an offer for an unplayed MINT Bongo HHP 5 Fretless for $1250, which seems about $500 off street price. I'm thinking I'm going to jump on this.

    From the few demos I've heard, I think the tone of the Bongo is more my style than the Stingray. The Bongo still doesn't have quite the mid 'honk' that I like in my jazzes, but the pre in the Bongo sounds killer.
  6. Don't just jump at a good deal. That is a good price, but you said you didn't prefer a MM already. Even if the bongo is more to your liking, it sounds like your settling. I could be wrong... But get what you really really want. I always throw Lull in the ring if you want a jazz. I love my fretless 5 by him.
  7. swartzfeger


    Mar 23, 2009
    Sedona, AZ
    I hear ya PB (ty for the voice of reason). If I had the budget, I would be looking at a Sonus 5 or Pentabuzz.

    Just looked at Lull's site and he makes some amazing instruments but I'm thinking his stuff is out of my range, but used it looks like his basses are going for <$1400, which is in the upper sweet spot of my budget.