Recommend me a fretless

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by metalhead398, Apr 4, 2014.

  1. metalhead398


    Jul 23, 2013
    Hey everyone,

    I'm looking for a fretless bass, preferably unlined as I'll be learning upright soon, 5 strings (scale doesn't matter as long as the B is nice and tight), and preferably with an active preamp. I mostly play rock, jazz, and some latin stuff. This will be my first fretless, and I was totally sold on the idea of lines, but after reading some of the threads here on TB, I sorta figured I can make it work sans lines. I already have a jazz bass, and am kinda looking for something with a different,
    maybe darker, tone. Humbuckers, soap-bars, or a P pickup would be great. I'm fine with new or used stuff, so long as I can find it used (TB classifieds, CL, feeBay). My budget is around $600, maybe a little more later down the road. Thanks in advance everyone!
  2. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru..........

    Apr 11, 2006
    Except for your budget I'd say call Martin Keith, he would make you a killer sounding and playing bass. I love the two I have. :bassist:
  3. metalhead398


    Jul 23, 2013
    Exactly how much for the bass Jeff?
  4. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru..........

    Apr 11, 2006
    north of $2500, probably, The fretless one I have was a display model at the 2010 NAMM Show and was featured in an article in the June 2010 issue of Bass Player. There fretted one was built for me a year later.

    Martin is a really nice guy, very intelligent and friendly, He has been developing his own theories and ways of making a better instruments and is now making some really cool acoustic guitars.

    I currently have the Douglas WOB 826 (6-string fretless). All I had to do is change the strings (bought flatwound strings from Carvin - they're nearby where I live). No fret lines, 24-"fret", active electronics. I also bought it with a hardcase so it wouldn't get damaged during delivery. Less than $300.

    While I don't want to take away from other builders, this one sounds good enough for me and apparently in your price range. It might not be of the highest quality compared to other basses, but it's something to consider.
  6. atracksler


    Oct 30, 2007
  7. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Inactive Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    My 2 cents: If you are very comfortable playing 34" scale instruments, stick to a 34" scale fretless - at least for your first one. As to which one - I have two Zon fretlesses that are very nice - the last one I bought was about $1400 used and had a spalt maple top.

    Zons make nice fretlesses for a few reasons: String spacing is tight and the graphite neck is a natural for fretless. That and the necks tend to be very flat.

    Good luck
  8. metalhead398


    Jul 23, 2013
    Thanks for the posts so far everyone! Jeff, I think the custom might e a little out of my league... :bag: that Lakland looks really nice though... might just have to jump on that :bassist: That Douglas is cool too though...
  9. iriegnome

    iriegnome Bassstar style Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2001
    Kenosha, WI 53140
    If your in the market for used, there are many many options for a fretless in your price range. Search the TB sale ad's. GC has many of them too. They are all over Craigs List and you can even find them on MF.. Just search.
  10. radioface


    May 2, 2013
    If you purchase an active bass, make shure it has an active passive switch so that you can practice without killing you battery/batteries. A fretless bass without a bridge pickup is a waste of time, if you are a fan of mwa. I have a fretless P and J and, there is no comparison. When it comes to that Jaco tone, the jazz wins every time.
  11. metalhead398


    Jul 23, 2013
    Yeah, making sure whatever bass it is will have at least two pickups.

    I did some research on LTD by ESP, anyone have any experience?
  12. metalhead398


    Jul 23, 2013
    So I know I'm being fickle....:bag: but I edited my OP a little. Looking for unlined now, though if I can't find something, I'd gladly buy a lined fretless. Talking with a teacher, he recommended unlined, so I changed my mind a little. Thanks again guys.
  13. Tom Howland

    Tom Howland Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2003

    Fretless is a different beast.
    I would stick with the scale your use too. ( Muscle memory )
    Make sure whatever you buy is setup right.
    For what style you play a Rob Allen would work great.
  14. bass12

    bass12 Blistering barnacles! Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    I'd agree about the Rob Allen (though less for rock than for jazz and latin) if it weren't for the price tag. But yes, Rob's basses are amazing if you're looking for a sound that leans more towards an upright.
  15. My suggestion would be a used Carvin. There's just something about their ebony fretboards and nickel rounds that sings in a nice way.

    The plus is a lot of their fretless basses seem to be unlined. And, the biggest plus...used, they are routinely within your budget.

    Good luck.
  16. metalhead398


    Jul 23, 2013
    Thanks for the suggestion...but I just can't afford a $4000 bass. They look really cool, and maybe eventually I can save my pennies and buy one. One thing freaks me out though: where is/are the pickup(s)? Are they in the body?
  17. metalhead398


    Jul 23, 2013
    This is a good idea...and I will promptly look into a used Carvin! :bassist:
  18. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2013
    Spend the $20 and become a Supporting Member, which gives you access to the TB classifieds. It's where I got 3 of my last 2 basses. Due to delirium fretlesscyllius there is usually a plentiful supply there.

    My usual suggestion is Rosc-oh-nevermind ... $600?
    I actually bought a fretless Synapse 5 here for less than that and I still like it a lot. There are deals to be had if you shop carefully and have the cash to pounce.
  19. metalhead398


    Jul 23, 2013
    Actually, you get access to TB classifieds without paying, you just can't post. I've been looking quite often.

    I know they're cheap, but does anyone have experience with Brice basses? I can get an unlined 5 with active pups for $299. Seems good enough by reviews for a starter fretless, and I won't take a huge hit resale-wise in case I have delirium fretlesscyllius ;).
  20. GM60466


    May 20, 2006
    Land of Lakland
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