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Upright player needs just one electric, but which?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Bohumil Prst, Oct 25, 2004.

  1. Bohumil Prst

    Bohumil Prst

    Oct 18, 2004
    Bass friends,

    I am an upright player, but want to buy an electric. Once upon a time I had a CBS Fender Jazz with a fretless precision neck. I loved that bass and could get around on it great. However, about 12 years ago I sold it in a fit of poverty. Now I want another electric. I definitely want a fretless.

    A lot of people have five-strings now, but I wonder if they are more trouble than they are worth. I have played a few (Musicman/G & L, Fender, Alembic, and a few others) and the top G feels a bit thin a whiney and thin to me. Are there some Jazz players out there with some advice? Should I just buy another Fender 4-string fretless? I like the chunkyness of the musicman and G & L basses, but do people find that the single pickup versions don't sound 'jazzy' enough. As far a electric style goes, I am (like so many) just a Jaco copycat. I have had my eye on a few Musicman and G & L fretless 5's and they seem like good value for money (I am looking for a second hand instrument).


  2. PhunkyElephant


    Oct 9, 2004
    If you are looking especially for a Jazz type of bass, then I'd recommend a Celinder. They cost a lot but if you ever have the chance to play one, you'll understand why! ;)

    EDIT: And if you find a second-hand one, don't think twice.

    peace, P.E.
  3. I don't think the music man is going to give you the organic tone you want, probably due to the p/u config.

    Stick with a fretless jazz bass. You have not specified a budget. But if you want something cheap, then get a mexican fender jazz bass and just upgrade the hardware. I am thinking you don't want to make a serious investment.

    If you want to spend 1000, you can get a lot of quality ordering a familiar style bass to your specs . check out warmoth's website. If you go this route, you want the seymour duncan basslines "antiquity" series pickups.

    I played a Linc Luither 5-string fretless 10 years ago. That was a a very easy bass to play, but if you have ever seen the unique design features you would know why. I love 5s, but most don't do the vintage thing like a 4. Though my current custom jazz bass comes awefully close.
  4. Bohumil Prst

    Bohumil Prst

    Oct 18, 2004
    Thanks Angelobp. Although I only played it in the shop, I thought that I may be able to get that old sound from a G & L fretless 5 with the single bridge pickup. But you (probably rightly) seem to think that I need a neck pickup for the warmth. Maybe I was just seduced by the look of the things and the plain fingerboad. One thing I notice about most Fender Jazz basses now is that they all have lines on the fingerboard, my old beauty was plain. I suppose I will have to shop for a second hand one. As for the budget, I want to stay below £500 (about $900 USD).


  5. Don't get a lined fretless: we are purists.
    Lines are for ______________(you pick).
  6. Bohumil Prst

    Bohumil Prst

    Oct 18, 2004
    I wouldn't dream of getting lines. I can't understand what 'help' they are. I tried some with lines in the shop and I found them distracting. I suppsed that some kids might need them. As I mentioned, my former bass was a jazz body with a fretless precision neck. I don't see that Fender make unlined necks anymore.

  7. They do still make unlined, but they are getting harder to find. I think you still get get a better deal ordering from U.S. The VAT and higher prices would frustrate me. I think you can find a great U.S. made fretless for that money. It is just availibility. I would still order from one custom from warmouth or u.s. guitars. maybe you could bifuricate the order to get around the import laws, e.g., order finsihed body and hardwear in one order, neck and pickups in the next, then have somebody locally put it together and set it up to your likings.
  8. Bard2dbone


    Aug 4, 2002
    Arlington TX
    I think your best bet is to find one of the Japanese Fender Standard Jazzes. The Mexican fretlesses will all have lines. The Japanese, last I checked, don't. Besides, I have found quality higher on the Japanese Fenders than the Americans. (At least more consistent.)

    I may be somewhat biased since my main bass IS a fretless standard Japanese Fender Jazz. But I got it stock, switched the hardware and p'ups out and it is perfect now.

    It doesn't take big changes to make one of these into an awesome bass. I can't say that very often about the Mexican Fenders.
  9. Bohumil Prst

    Bohumil Prst

    Oct 18, 2004
    Cheers Bard, this is turning out to be helpful. Rather than working (!) I will troll the web for info.

  10. Ok...I can tell you (and anyone else) spouting off about how 'kids' may need lines, - that you have not had any real world experience w/ upper register playing fretless. Hey, I went through that same macho mentality, and a number of unlined fretless basses; and now after 30 some years of playing, my experience tells me, 'its better to be in tune and called back on a gig, than trying to impress someone w/ your unlined fretless. The truth be told...you can get away w/ a little wobble or roll down in 'cowboy position', but get above the 12th(?) and you AND your bandmates would be wishin' you had lines.
    Breaking news story: Jaco never, to my recollection owned an unlined fretless bass (I'll have to ask Felix Pastorius next time I run into him...) but I do know he NEVER recorded on one because I asked him about the 'purist' point of view...and his response was the above "cowboy quote".
  11. Bohumil Prst

    Bohumil Prst

    Oct 18, 2004
    Take it easy basicallybass, it may be that we are coming at this from two different perspectives. When I was a child I first learned the 'cello before switching to the bass. It was common for children to have strips of tape or some such thing until they learn the positions by ear. I don't think that anyone that plays an electric bass with lines is dim. I suppose it has to do with how your learned to stop strings on a fretboard; one could argue that it is me that it lazy for not learning 'the electric bass way' and instead trying to tranplant my upright technique to the electric – which is often difficult.

    One problem with fretted instruments is that when a string goes out of tune it is more difficult to correct by ear, this is natural for orchestral string players. It may not be for everyone (and frankly, I know some violinists who might benefit from lines), but it's just what I am accustomed to.

    As for name dropping, I met Jaco myself; and no I never knew him to play any bass onther than his strange 'custom' Fender Jazz. He was rude and arrogant and coked out of his skull, but still Jaco.

    I was looking for help here, not your neurosis and abuse.

  12. Well if he is right then they obviously have been making basses, cellos, violas and violins wrong for centuries!

    I think that all stringed instruments from now on need to have lines because Jaco's converted Jazz bass and maybe a few others had lines.

    Upright players play mostly by feel, not lines. Oh what's the point in trying to explain this? Lines suck.
  13. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    If you can find a fretless MIJ Precision Bass Special, you might want to jump on it. I have been checking one out at a local dealer for $300. It has P/J pickups and has a really nice tone if the the P pickup is emphasized. It is without lines but i found it pretty easy to keep my intonation on it, and i come from a strictly electric background.
  14. Basically Bass: your signature has an ad for a reissue '62 J-bass. Is this one unlined? Maybe you should post a pic. What are they going for used?
  15. Let me know if you don't get it because I want a budget fretless too. Which dealer? This has been helpful for me becasue I dod not know the MIF was were to look.
  16. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    it shouldn't be all that difficult or expensive to cobble together a jazz/w P neck, If you had one once and liked it, get another one.

    Most of what I find cool about fretless happens in the mid to upper register so for me, a five string has no benefit. Unless of course you string it high which might be kind of cool.

    and I love my chicken stripes.
  17. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    Angelopb, I sent you a PM about where to find the Fender I mentioned.
  18. Bohumil Prst

    Bohumil Prst

    Oct 18, 2004
    Basicallybass wrote:
    "And quite frankly, do ever wonder why there's not hoards of great violinists around?"

    Are you mad? The planet is crawling with them! Ok, maybe not in Florida, but the rest of the World is full top flight violinists. It's only been the principle solo instrument since the 17th century.


  19. Yeah this is embarrassing to my fair state of florida. We are not all arse holes here. And we son't all brag about how we once used the same toilet after jaco. I have lived in daytona, ft. lauderdale, miami and now tampa. There are great players in south florida and decent people. but the decent people are getting harder to find in south florida.