New Year, NBD. First fretless!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by SunByrne, Jan 4, 2022.

  1. SunByrne

    SunByrne trained monkey Supporting Member

    Aug 29, 2019
    Pearland, TX
    So, this year I decided one of my new challenges would be to learn to play fretless. I love that "mwah" sound and it should be good discipline for me to learn to play fretless.

    Of course, to do this, I needed a fretless bass. I didn't want to spend too much so I set myself an $800 limit. Going in, I didn't have a strong leaning toward P, J, or modern. However, I did want something with passive pickups. Active EQ OK if I could turn it off. I also wanted one with an ebony fretboard, both because I like ebony and the harder wood is supposed to be good for fretless. (I'd take roasted maple, too, but the only fretless I could find with that is the Sire V5, which literally nobody seems to have in stock.) What I discovered was that unless you want a Tony Franklin or an entry-level Squier, it's really hard to find a fretless right now in the U.S. Something mumble supply chain mumble something.

    So I decided to check out Anderton's and Thomann, and when I went to Thomann there it was: a Sire V9 for $168 less than list. Bonus: that made the price $666. Surely this must be the bass for me! (As of this writing, they still have some left at this price. Shipping was like $75 so still under budget.)

    I ordered it late last week, and it arrived today—surprisingly quick! I didn't pay for expedited shipping or anything, but UPS was on their game, even coming from Germany. Way to go, UPS.

    Here it is:


    I love the quilted top. The brown burst is only OK. When the light's good it looks a bit orange-ish which I like better. While I'm not a huge fan of the Sire V-series headstock shape, I think it looks a lot better when it's color-matched with the quilting and the burst. I like the binding on the fretboard, and I appreciate that the lining for the stops is on the subtle side.

    My luggage scale puts it at a pleasant 8 lb 13 oz. (that's 4kg on the nose for anyone outside the U.S.). That's about a pound lighter than I expected so I got a bit lucky there.

    Came with flats of unknown brand on it (dark blue silks at both ends—anyone know?); I'll probably put Pressurewounds or Compressors on it soon. It came strung through the bridge rather than the body, which makes sense for flats.

    Fortunately, today's weather was cooperative and there wasn't much difference between indoor and outdoor temperature so I didn't feel the need to let it acclimate to being indoors for very long. Plugged it in and it sounds... like a fretless jazz bass. Mwah right out of the box, particularly on the G string. I mostly played in passive, but I futzed around a little with the preamp, and wow, you can get some really weird sounds out of it. Not sure I'll ever use them but some were actually pretty cool, and it's nice to have the option when I want it.

    I can tell my intonation isn't very good, but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be considering it was the first time I've tried a fretless. How people play unlined fretless the first time I have no idea.

    Anyway, more pics attached.

    front_body.JPG back_body.JPG headstock_front.JPG headstock_back.JPG
  2. That is a sweet lookin' bass, congrats! :drool:

    re: the strings: Those look like D'Addario Chromes to me.
  3. SunByrne

    SunByrne trained monkey Supporting Member

    Aug 29, 2019
    Pearland, TX
    Thank you!

    Ahh, OK. I have pretty limited experience with flats.
  4. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Hey, @SunByrne that's boss-a-nova! Really cool finish. What type of coating is on the board? I bet that sounds fantastic. Enjoy it. It's not hard to play fretless, I'm sure you'll find it pretty easy to switch back and forth once you get the hang of it. Heck, if you mess a note just slide or do some vibrato. It really won't take long.
    Enjoy the mwah.
    JRA, kobass and SunByrne like this.
  5. woodyng2

    woodyng2 Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2015
    Oregon Coast
    Congrats! Sire is making a lot of great looking basses recently. Yours is beautiful!
    kobass and SunByrne like this.
  6. I second both of these statements.
    I have Chromes on my fretless G&L L2000. I can't make any comparisons as they've been on there since I did the de-fret but I haven't felt the need to change them out for something else either.
    thisheregiraffe and SunByrne like this.
  7. SunByrne

    SunByrne trained monkey Supporting Member

    Aug 29, 2019
    Pearland, TX
    Honestly don’t know. My M5 also has an ebony board and this looks almost the same (very slightly shinier), but feels slightly smoother, so whatever it is, I don’t think it’s very thick.
  8. OldShark


    Apr 18, 2021
    My V7 Fretless was (and still is) equipped with Chromes ECB81.
    SunByrne likes this.
  9. Thats a sweetheart! congrats on your new ''mwah' machine.
    SunByrne likes this.
  10. basspedaler


    Feb 18, 2013
    Cool bass! welcome to smoothieville :thumbsup:
    SunByrne likes this.
  11. Lackey


    May 10, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Great deal! I've never even seen a Sire in person, and I'm in LA.
    SunByrne likes this.
  12. MotorCityMinion


    Jun 15, 2017
    $ wise, appearance and features, for the money, these guys have been spanking Fender for some time now. With the recent price hikes at Fender, it's going to sting more. Nice score.
    SunByrne and Spidey2112 like this.
  13. Holy! that's a fantastic bass! I'd love it, if it was a 5 or 6. That's just beautiful and I'm blown away with the features.

    Personally I dislike chromes for most music I've ever played, and flats are slower to play than rounds (more surface area on the fingers = more friction), but they are well regarded strings and should be very easy on the fingerboard.

    I have always used rounds on fretless due to my preference in the tone and, just as importantly, the playability preference for me. But they do add little cosmetic marks on the fingerboard. Nothing bad until years of use have passed by, and in that case you need to get the fingerboard redone which costs but is worth it.

    Just throwing those points out there, since lots of fretless players agree and prefer rounds. But also lots use flat sided strings, the options you mentioned or real flat, so just enjoy whatever strings you end up with using. :)

    those fret lines look similar to the ones I had on my defretted bass in the late 80s through 90s. just right for seeing where you need to jump up or down to, without detracting from the fretlessness.
  14. Spidey2112


    Aug 3, 2016
    Beautiful bass, but yeah... first thing I noticed. Super poly? Lol!
  15. Katoosie

    Katoosie Chocolate is the best Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2020
    This bass looks cozy as all hell, especially the neck and fretboard. Is it as comfy to play as it looks?

    The finish doesn't do it for me, but otherwise it's great at a good price esp new. Good job and please enjoy!
  16. As someone with a collection if MIA basses and guitars... my Sire gets the most play time these days.

    Beautiful looking bass, great score!
    mb94952 and SunByrne like this.
  17. SunByrne

    SunByrne trained monkey Supporting Member

    Aug 29, 2019
    Pearland, TX
    They make it in a 5 as well.

    Yeah, there was just a thread recently about strings for fretless that I read with much interest. I'm not generally a big fan of flats. My other basses have either rounds or pressurewounds/compressors on them. I'm going to give the flats a chance and try those for a while, but unless I come to love them, I'll put pressurewounds/compressors on it.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2022
    dkelley likes this.
  18. SunByrne

    SunByrne trained monkey Supporting Member

    Aug 29, 2019
    Pearland, TX
    Yes. Pretty standard jazz neck thickness, and Sire does the satin finish rather than the gloss on the neck, so it feels great.
    Katoosie likes this.
  19. mb94952

    mb94952 Endorsing Artist : SFARZO STRINGS Suspended Supporting Member

    I guess since it cost you $666 it's name is Eddie ? :)
    SunByrne likes this.
  20. SunByrne

    SunByrne trained monkey Supporting Member

    Aug 29, 2019
    Pearland, TX
    LOL. I don't normally name my basses, but if I did, my first thought was actually "Damien." :rage:
    BAG and Five String like this.
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