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Recommend a fretless...

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Pennydreadful, Oct 26, 2006.

  1. Pennydreadful

    Pennydreadful Goin out West

    Jun 13, 2005
    Arlington, Texas
    There's lots of 'which fretless' type threads bangin around right now, which made me think I oughtta go ahead and post mine.

    I've been thinking about going fretless, but I hate that big 'mwaaah' tone- don't anybody kill me, but that Jaco-like tone. It's just not for me.

    The tone I'm looking for in a fretles is the really deep, kinda growly, almost uprightish tone, and I'm wondering what kind of fretless would get me that for pretty cheap. I'm talkin about in the $400-600 range.

    Just a fretless P with flats? Michael Kelly? Give me some recommendations.
  2. I have a fretless P with TI jazz flats, has that exact tone u have described

    thats definitely one bass i'd recommend u check out
  3. saxnbass


    Mar 9, 2006
    Nashville, TN
    I just got a MIM Fender Jazz Fretless. It's great. Make sure you get the new one (2006 upgrade model). I played a pre-upgrade model and didn't like it, these new ones are really nice though. It's very versatile. I still have the factory strings (Fender Flats) that sound not too bad, but now that DR has flats, probably going to get a set of those.

    For an uprightish tone, I'd suggest an Ergo EUB. They are $650 for a 4-string, and it's a great instrument.
  4. BassChuck

    BassChuck Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    The 'mahwaa' can be controlled with the set-up. EUB's are extremely cool, but be aware of the string scale, many of them are the standard 41 inch scale (compared to the usual 34 or 35 inch bass guitar string length).
  5. Pennydreadful

    Pennydreadful Goin out West

    Jun 13, 2005
    Arlington, Texas
    Yeah, there's another thread around here somewhere that I started about 'upright tone', and, partially because of it, I decided I don't want an EUB, I want a bass guitar.

    So I started this thread specifically to talk about fretless basses that meet my tonal needs.

    Hey, Matito, what kind of P is yours?
  6. it's a 1972 P :smug:
  7. GM60466


    May 20, 2006
    Land of Lakland
    I have a Cort CURBOW fretless four that I just love playing. It didn't cost much; $425 with free shipping at on of those e@@ay dealers. It is not a factory second and even comes with product registration cards.
    I use GHS stainless flats. It is a good bass for the $.


    I also have the first Lakland epoxy fretless, but way out of the price range you mentioned.
  8. Pennydreadful

    Pennydreadful Goin out West

    Jun 13, 2005
    Arlington, Texas
    Oh...well, fine then...:spit:
  9. I just picked up a 2001 USA Fender J fretless. I don't think I've heard any others that sound any better, really. I know there are lots of fancier basses out there, but for good solid tone and that classic fretless sound, the J is hard to beat.

    It has Fender flats on it now, but I ordered a set of TI flats, thanks to many thumbs-up around here. I'm going to put a Badass II on it as well. I've always put the Badass on my Fenders, going waaaay back. It's just a habit I guess.
  10. laboitenoire


    Jul 5, 2006

    Funny, it seems that Fenders are still wicked popular on the fretless side. My neighbor has a mid 70s P-bass that he stuck a fretless neck on (he also ripped out the P pickup and installed two J pups) and a Badass. It sounds wicked awesome.
  11. BargeOn


    Mar 19, 2004
  12. BassAgent

    BassAgent Supporting Member

    Dec 2, 2003
    Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    Official Artist: Eich Amplification
    MIM Fender indeed, oh wait, I see you don't like the Jaco-tone. Hmmm. Then I'd go for a Yamaha TRB, you should be able to get those for 'bout $500.
  13. Pennydreadful

    Pennydreadful Goin out West

    Jun 13, 2005
    Arlington, Texas
    I don't really like Yamaha. They're all too modern-looking for me, and the ones I've played (BB series and some of the low-end stuff) have sort of a Hi-Fi tone, which I hate.
  14. 7thbass


    Nov 21, 2003
    Houston, Tx
  15. Pennydreadful

    Pennydreadful Goin out West

    Jun 13, 2005
    Arlington, Texas
    I hate to keep sayin 'I hate this, I hate that' but here we go.

    I actually was thinking about the Squier, except I just really don't like the no-pickguard thing- I'm a retro guy. Plus, I'm not sure J's are really for me. They always seem to be a tad too nasal.

    And if the Cort looks like a Warwick, and is active, then I'm not interested. Again, I'm a retro/vintage sort of guy, so the Warwick look and active electronics aren't for me.
  16. u could get a jazz and just turn the bridge pickup down.

    i actually always play with only the neck pickup and the tone down a bit.

    the jazz gets many more sounds then the jaco bridge pickup sound
  17. tink9975


    Aug 10, 2006
    MoCo, MD
    I think you should go the P-route.
    I have a frankenbass P that has the tone you are looking for. Body is from a japanese P-Bass copy with warmoth maple/ebony neck. just the single P pickup in the standard location gives it a great deep tone, with the tiniest bit of Mwah that can be eq'd out.
    You could always find a cheap P-copy with a bad neck, and swap in a fretless neck.
  18. Pennydreadful

    Pennydreadful Goin out West

    Jun 13, 2005
    Arlington, Texas
    Well, it's not like I'm completely unfamiliar with Fenders, man. I've played Jazzes before and had a Geddy for a while. I put flats on the Geddy, soloed the neck pickup, even went so far as to completley turn off the mids and the treble on my amp, and it still sounded sort of metallic, if you know what I mean.

    Maybe that's just the Geddy, and not all Jazzes, but pretty much every Jazz I've played (owned by other people, or at stores) has been a bit on the nasal side.

    Whereas some of the P's I've played sounded like they could give me the right tone if I put flats on em. Of course the best tone, for me, always seems to come from fairly obscure vintage stuff.

    I tend to ramble...
  19. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    If you want a fretless P-bass, which probably would capture your desired tone, watch eBay for awhile, where the MIA models pop up occasionally.

    Or buy a used MIM P-bass, then find an MIM fretless J neck on eBay. There's a reputable seller (n.aalox I believe) who parts out new MIM Fenders, so you can create a "custom" MIM Fender with new parts. And he'll sell the parts in packages at a slight discount. I did this, and have a very nice fretless P. (I bought all the parts new because the project started as an attempt to mod an SX fretless P, but it would be cheaper to start with a used MIM P and then buy the neck.)

    I'd recommend swapping out the MIM pickup for a vintage voiced model with more clarity, like the Fender Original, Seymour Duncan SPB-1, or of course Fralin or Nordstrand. I used an Am. Ser. Fender pickup from my 2004 P, which sounds wonderful with fretless. I'd also recommend changing the bridge, because the MIM bridges are a weak spot IMO.

    As for avoiding "mwah," just raise the saddles a bit so the strings won't vibrate as much against the fretboard. My action is a little high due to the Gotoh bridge I installed, and it sounds almost like a fretted bass in a band mix. I'm going to shim the neck to enter the "mwah" zone though.
  20. Pennydreadful

    Pennydreadful Goin out West

    Jun 13, 2005
    Arlington, Texas
    Hey, thanks for the tips.

    And just to be clear, I don't mean I wanna avoid mwah altogether, I just meant that I don't like that bridge-pickup Megamwah.

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