Trouble deciding on fretless

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by fourstringdrums, May 24, 2005.

  1. fourstringdrums

    fourstringdrums Decidedly Indecisive Supporting Member

    Oct 20, 2002
    San Antonio
    I'm looking to get a new fretless. Right now I'm trying to decide between Carvin (was burned by a fretted Carvin once, but I figure I'd give them another shot), and there is a passive Warwick Corvette Std. on Bass Central's site that I keep eyeing.

    I can't describe the tone I"m after because I'm pretty accepting and open minded to all tones with the fretless. I'd like to stay around $1000 or so and I'm not really looking for anything lower end like a Dean or lower end Yamaha. Any suggestions?
  2. Andre_gt7


    Jan 4, 2005
    Atlanta - GA
    I'd go with Carvin, their basses are very versatile
  3. i got a Carvin LB76Fretless and i love it, and would recomend it! how many strings are you looking for?
  4. pointbass

    pointbass Semi-Retired Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Acworth, GA
    Endorsing Artist: FBB Bass Works
    Somebody here had a Stambaugh for sale in that range, well worth looking into ........

    I also 2nd the Fender suggestion ... several on the 'bay right now including a pretty cool looking black P fretless for ~ $950
  5. Snarf


    Jan 23, 2005
    New York, NY
    The Fender fretless won't really get you much mwah. The soft rosewood fretboard means you'll probably want to use flatwounds. Carvin's ebony boards, though, are tough enough for rounds.

    That said, I love my Fender, and I love my Carvin B4 fretted bass. If I were to get a new fretless, it would be another Carvin (since the Zon I want is so expensive).
  6. fourstringdrums

    fourstringdrums Decidedly Indecisive Supporting Member

    Oct 20, 2002
    San Antonio
    Woops, yea I forgot to mention I'm only looking for a 4.

    I'm really looking for two pickups and I'm not really interested in Fender.

    The Carvin keeps getting on my mind so I think I may have to go in that direction. I just can't decide on what woods I would want. I was thinking about it, and I do want something that's versatile. My two favorite bassists when I think of fretless are Jaco and Sting, if that gives an idea of what I'm going for here.
  7. fourstringdrums

    fourstringdrums Decidedly Indecisive Supporting Member

    Oct 20, 2002
    San Antonio
    I looked on Ebay and didn't really find anything that interested me...well actually there might have been a few but they were a few hundred out of my price range. I did email about the Stambaugh but the Lacewood is the only thing keeping me from jumping on it. I'm not a huge fan of raw Lacewood :)
  8. fretlessrock

    fretlessrock Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2002
    If you like the Jaco and sting tone then I suggest keeping it sinple and sticking with an alder body and a maple neck with rosewood board. My opinion on fingerboard woods is to get what you like the sound of and deal with any wear issues *if* they happen.

    I'm not a Warwick fan, but their fretless basses have a good tone. I think that the biggest difference in the ones I have played and the Carvin is the neck profile. Warwick uses a lot of round (baseball bat) profile, or blocky w/ rounded sides, where the Carvins have a more Fenderish shallow C profile.

    The $1000 limit leaves a LOT of basses in play. If it wasn't for the 2-pickup thing I would also recommend a fretless stingray. Very versatile and very solid.
  9. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    Except that (1) Jaco's tone is nothing like Sting's :D and (2) what you hear with Jaco is not just roundwounds on rosewood. He coated his FB with epoxy, and that will yield a different sound from plain rosewood. Ebony might actually be closer than plain rosewood. Or not.

    In the Carvin vein, I'd think that a B4F with the plain jane alder body might do our original poster just fine. The option for active electronics is there, for another few $$, but it might not be necessary.
  10. Snarf


    Jan 23, 2005
    New York, NY
    Yeah, sounds like Carvin will be your bag.

    BTW, a lot of Sting's fretless work is on upright.
  11. I own two carvins and I can't recomend them enough.

    They're both fretless, and both have the perfect fretless tone in my opinion.

    My next bass will also be a Carvin. I'm batting 1000 with them, so why change now?
  12. fourstringdrums

    fourstringdrums Decidedly Indecisive Supporting Member

    Oct 20, 2002
    San Antonio
    Does anyone know if Stings black Ibanez Roadstar (that he had on SNL) had an Ebony board? The first bass that pops into my head when I think fretless, is this bass, and I keep thinking that I may just want a black B4 or LB70 with a black painted tradition headstock and blank board. I may just go for black hardware and strings while I'm at it. But I also feel like when it comes to a fretless, I want natural wood all the way. I was thinking of a walnut body and 2 piece walnut neck with tung oil.
  13. Funky Tune

    Funky Tune

    Apr 28, 2005
    Puerto Rico
    i see one Tobias in Bass Central for only $900 and the bass look very,very,very,very,very,very,very,very niceeeeee :hyper:
  14. I had a Carvin fretted and didn't like it that much, but I played a couple Carvin fretlesses that did make me take notice and say hmmm. They're nice. I have a Fender jazz fretless I like. It has a nice thumpy tone, unless you make it zing (which you certainly can)
  15. SteveC


    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    I've got a fretles Carvin 6 string. The build is excelent. The look/finish is excellent. I didn't like the electronics so much so I replaced the pickups and preamp with Bartolini - no she really sings.
  16. fourstringdrums

    fourstringdrums Decidedly Indecisive Supporting Member

    Oct 20, 2002
    San Antonio
    Is it a pre-gibson? It's not on the site though so I'd have no way of seeing it.

    As for the Carvin, the electronics are what concern me. I wouldn't want to spend even $700 on a bass and then have to swap out the electronics.
  17. Bassmanbob

    Bassmanbob Supporting Member

    Look at the MTD Kingson Heir. Real nice fretless and for less money than the $1,000 you are looking to spend. I just got a high end fretless and seriously considered the Heir for some time.
  18. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    Admittedly, that's a risk you take with any bass you haven't heard, not just Carvin. If that's a concern, you may be better off with something you can try yourself locally. Or you could take advantage of Carvin's 10-day return policy.

    But consider this: for everybody you hear of swapping the Carvin PUs/electronics out--which is a perfectly valid choice--there are undoubtedly more who are happy with the electronics the way they are--which is also perfectly valid. I had mine for several years and often got complimented on my tone, and my Carvin was bone stock. Mileage varies, as always.
  19. The Carvin fretless sounded good unplugged. Getting that is the key to a good fretless sound. The electronics just have to not suck. I bought my fender jazz fretless because it sounded good acoustically, and played well. The electronics did in fact suck, but replacing them and selling the stock parts, the price was still very worth it.
  20. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    How about a Lakland Skyline hollowbody fretless? Probably not your thing if you're considering Carvin solidbodies, but thought I'd chuck it into the mix. If I wanted fretless, I'd certainly think about one.