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Quest for low cost fretless

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ClassicJazz, Jan 26, 2012.

  1. ClassicJazz

    ClassicJazz Bottom Feeders Unite!! Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2005
    Delray Beach, Florida
    Since my need for fretless work is not too often these days, I decided to sell off a really expensive fretless I had sitting in the closet and pick up a low cost one to have in case I needed one.

    I thought a Fender Standard Fretless Jazz (MIM) would do....but I decided to take a different route.

    Always liked the look of the ESP LTD basses and tried a couple of fretted ones in the store, so for $360 and change I figured I give it a try. Got one of these:


    Really nice constructed bass! Zero flaws out of the box and nicely setup as well. Nice weight, really nice contoured body and 5-piece neck. Sounded pretty good too! BUT...it just was not for me. One, the neck on these basses are really thin. Geddy Lee thin. I never like the GL basses because of that. Also it just did not feel right. Maybe I am too use to Jazz type basses. So sent it back.

    That said, everyone rants and raves about the Squier Vintage Modified Jazz fretless. And saw some impressive YouTube vids. Well it is a Jazz bass....and only $265 and change. So ordered one!


    Now before I continue, I did own a few years back a Squier Classic Vibe 50s Precision. Great bass! Not one issue with it out of the box. Nice and light weight, great fretwork and a nice fat P-Bass sound.

    Well the Squier VM fretless I got...HUNK OF JUNK!!

    First thing, there was a nice dent in the wood on the back. After examining it closely, I am 99% sure it was like that before painting!

    Second, whoever sanded and leveled the fretboard that day must have been drunk! The fretboard was so uneven it was impossible to the action down to a decent level without the strings either bottoming out towards the top of the neck or bottom (note, I've been doing my own setups for years so I do know a thing or two!). I tried shims, truss rod adjustments....nothing worked. So could not get the action set to my comfort zone.

    Third, this bass sounded horrible! Nothing like the ones I saw on YouTube. So sent it back (on Musicians Friend dime).

    So I ended up getting what I should have in the first place! A Fender Standard Fretless Jazz...


    Great bass in every aspect! This is my 6th Mexican Jazz and I just love these basses! I constantly hear people bash the MIM stuff and always wonder what they are smoking!

    This Jazz only needed a minor tweak and change the strings from flats to rounds....and she is playing and sounding like a champ! Also I slapped on a Gotoh bridge I had.

    When I started this journey my gut said get the Standard Jazz. I should have listened to myself!

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