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Owl Inqures About Relatively Inexpensive 5-string Fretless Basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by The Owl, Oct 5, 2005.


  1. The Owl

    The Owl

    Aug 14, 2005
    Atlanta GA
    Hoo Hoooo,

    This Owl is curious as to peoples' thoughts about relatively inexpensive fretless 5-strings (probably on abudget up to $600 max).

    Not right away, but at some point I would like to look into the possibility of acquiring a fretless five (with or without lines) and needed suggestions. Tonewise, I definitely want a nice panther-like grrrroooowwwlllrrrr yet not limited to that alone.

    [​IMG]

    The reason I say relatively inexpensive is that I am NOT a frequent fretless player and cannot justify spending some ridiculous amount of money for something that won't be played all the time.

    As far as brands, I avoid Fender AND Gibson basses altogether (HIGHLY overrated to me personally).

    Your recommendations here------------------
     
  2. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    In this price range, you can't beat the Lakland 55-01. Nothing touches it IMHO.
     
  3. thedoctor

    thedoctor

    Jun 20, 2005
    People hate me for saying it but the cheap "house-brand" basses are not crap. Rogue. Yes, I said it, Rogue makes a nice 5-string fretless, Lakeland and Spector make a higher-priced fretless that is still in your price-range. If you are not going to play fretless a lot until you are used to it, I would get the Rogue and see if you even want to go there with some serious money. SHIELDS UP, IMHO.
     
  4. SoComSurfing

    SoComSurfing Mercedes Benz Superdome. S 127. R 22. S 12-13.

    Feb 15, 2002
    Mobile, Al
    So is it just the Fender brand you avoid, or Fender-style instruments? SX has a good looking fretless 5 jazz-style for $130. SX Fretless 5
     
  5. the_home

    the_home Supporting Member

    Jul 14, 2005
    Pensacola, FL
    Warwick low end German used (Streamer standard) or the Rockbass line (Fortress or Corvette), either can be had for your price.

    I have a 5 string German (which I never use, PM if interested) and it has nice growl tone wise, but not the same 'mmmwah' as a classis fretless jazz.
     
  6. Pruitt

    Pruitt

    Jun 30, 2005
    Danbury, CT
    Heh heh... I just bought that bass. It arrived yesterday. All I can say is for $130 USD, you simply cannot go wrong. It plays very well and sounds excellent. Well, except the crappy B string that has no sustain at all (common with the stock SX strings apparently) that came with it, but I have a new set of strings on their way to me now to take care of that situation.

    I bought the bass to give a fretless a try. I was thinking about buying a much more expensive one and than decided to save the money and buy the SX to see what all the hoopla in the megathread was about. All I can say after playing it for a few hours last night is that it was money well spent. I can't believe how well the bass plays considering what I paid for it. :)

    Good luck in your search and have fun!! :bassist:
     
  7. The Owl

    The Owl

    Aug 14, 2005
    Atlanta GA
    It's BOTH the brand and the style of instrument that doesn't appeal to me at all, save for the well-balanced body shape (to me, the one thing Fender got right besides the P-Bass string spacing). I just NEVER liked the Fender sound or the feel of their instruments, again, save for the way the body balances. Plus, I need a full 2-Octvae neck to make it worthwhile (and get at least decent definition on the low-b)

    In any case, I'll have a look at Rondo Music's site. Thanks :)
     
  8. Eilif

    Eilif Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
    Chicago
    Lined or unlined? That will narrow or widen your search quite a bit.
     
  9. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    My first fretless was a Dean Edge 5 string which cost me $400. It was and is a really good bass that I would recommend without hesitation. I replaced it with a 6 string fretless because I wanted the high C for chords. If I didn't want the extra string I would own it still. I sold it to my nephew.

    Here is a picture of the bass.
    [​IMG]

    Here is a picture of me playing it in a friend's home studio.
    [​IMG]

    If you want to go even more low budget you can't go wrong with Rondo Imports, assuming you have the money and/or knowledge to do a complete set-up. Here's my Rondo Brice V2 six string which replaced the Dean:
    [​IMG]
    It is not as well made as the Dean and does not have as good components, but it is completely sufficient for my needs and was extremely inexpensive. I play it almost every Sunday in church and I've played it for major gigs as well. Good bass. The Rondo basses are serviceable and giggable. However, again, you need to do a setup, the setup "out of the box" is often completely terrible on these basses.
     
  10. 5stringDNA

    5stringDNA

    Oct 10, 2002
    Englewood, CO
    I would go Spector or Lakland- the best fretless basses under $600, although you may have to go used. I've played on of the 5 string jazz Brice basses with an ash body, and was very impressed for the $300 price tag. Dean is decent as well, but I haven't had as good a track record with their instruments as Spector.
     
  11. The Owl

    The Owl

    Aug 14, 2005
    Atlanta GA
    That Dean looks SWEET!! Do they still make this model at all? That Brice doesn't look half-bad either! I'd go with an unlined fretless in a heartbeat, just need a couple months of intense practice to get the intonation back (that's what I had to do the last time I ever owned an unlined fretless back in the mid-90's).

    As far as setting up the Brice, what specifically did you have to do to get it in good playing condition?
     
  12. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    As far as I know Dean still makes the Edge series. They inconsistently alternate between lined and unlied fingerboards in different years so both are available.
    A complete setup. Everything needed adjustment.
     
  13. SoComSurfing

    SoComSurfing Mercedes Benz Superdome. S 127. R 22. S 12-13.

    Feb 15, 2002
    Mobile, Al
    I was thinking Dean, as well, but had to get to class before I could put any links or anything up. Can you still get a fretless Cort Curbow 5 or 6 from Curbow? I didn't see anything on thier website about the Cort series. Also, I couldn't get anything on Cort's site about the Elrick JP, so don't know about that, but seems like I remember seeing a fretless one floating around TB or somewhere.
     
  14. I bought mine just about 10 months ago...play out with it every week at church in addition to using it for two sets of every rock gig (about 4-5 performances a month).

    Great axe...

    Here's some pics:

    [​IMG][/IMG]

    [​IMG][/IMG]

    [​IMG][/IMG]
     
  15. That is one jacked up looking Owl.
     
  16. What about a MTD Kingston or Heir?
     
  17. The Owl

    The Owl

    Aug 14, 2005
    Atlanta GA
    Sometimes, I like to describe sounds using animals, that snarling panther sure came in handy. :D