Which fretless sounds closest to an upright?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Michael Jewels, Nov 16, 2001.

  1. In your opinion, which fretless electric bass sounds the closest to an upright double bass?

    The reason I'm asking is that I have a MIM Fretless
    Jazz bass, and I'm not satisfied with its sound. Before I buy DiMarzio pickups, a new bridge and whatever else, I'd like to know if anyone can recommend a bass that sounds like an upright right out of the box.

    Thanks, Mike J.
  2. ytsebri


    Sep 1, 2000
    I have limited experience in the fretless category, but IMHO the bass you're probably looking for is a Godin A4 or A5 fretless. It has that hollow body /upright tone and just sounds plain bad@##.
  3. MJB


    Mar 17, 2000
  4. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    The Ashbory does sound very close BUT the 18" scale makes it tough to play.

    The Godin is a much better bet; I have used it very successfully for upright gigs .

    If you have more dough the Turner Rennaisance or the Rob Allen basses are also very good.

    To make your Jazz sound more like an upright, skip the pickup and bridge mods. Just read this article:

  5. BenF


    Mar 29, 2001
    Boston area
  6. Intrepid


    Oct 15, 2001
    All you have to do is pluck on the fingerboard...its not about the bass...I can get my fretted Rick to sound alot like a standup and if it was fretless, it would probably sound exactly like one.
  7. Cogno

    Cogno Guest

    Jun 11, 2001
    I have an MIM Fretless with flatwound stings. Although you can't ever get the exact sound of an Upright, I am pretty satisfied. There was a fretless shotout on BP mag awhile back that came to the same conclusion.
  8. Tronictq


    Jan 23, 2001
    I don't know the brand of this bass, but i was watching a performance on TV one time, and I was listening to the bass line, i sincerely thought it was an upright bass. When a bass solo came and the shot of the bassist came up, I was surprised to see an acoustic fretless bass. IT was absolutely amazing.

  9. anything with nylon wound strings (the black ones), i got them on my p-bass fretless, very nice indeed
    very thumpy and upright like!

  10. top028


    Dec 14, 1999
    Lancaster, PA
    I agree with every thing said here. I have this really crappy archtop bass (maxitone heard of them?), and I pulled the frets out and did the putty trick. If I valued the bass enough, I would put flats on it, but now it has a set of old rounds, Playing at the 14th fret, and turning the trebble down, I get excelent upright-emulation. If it had flats it would only sound better. The truss rod adjustment nut is stripped off, perhaps if I get a new one, I could adjust the action, thats the only reason its my bastard bass hands hurt from playing too long. Its a 30" scale, so I suppose that helps with the thuddy short sustain sound. Ashbury bass sucks!!! I could deal if it had a body that was somewhat comfortable, I just cant understand strapping on a lap steel and playing it. DO they expect you to keep a bottle of KY jelly inthe case to do slides on those rubber strings?
  11. MJB


    Mar 17, 2000
    KY Jelly - NO

    Talcum Powder - YES
  12. Well, only an upright really sounds like an upright. You can get a pretty good sound from a solid body electric using the tips listed in other posts. I would add:
    • raise the action so that the mwhaa is muted a bit
    • use the neck pick up only and lower it if it is "hot"
    That being said, some of the new acoustic/electric bass guitars (Godin, Rob Allen, Turner Renaissance) don't require any tweaking to get closer to the sound. This search thread may have some interesting reading for you.
  13. Thanks, all. Maybe I'll just buy some DiMarzios and get a new bridge. I also posted this in Double Bass, and all the guys there said ain't no electric gonna sound like an upright. Another reason I posted this was that the other night, I saw a bass player on the Jazz channel(forgot his name) and his upright sounded a lot like a P-bass. Later.

    Mike J.
  14. CrawlingEye

    CrawlingEye Member

    Mar 20, 2001
    Easton, Pennsylvania
    I've played the Rob Allen many many many times...
    It's a great bass.

    However, I don't think it has any characteristics of an upright, except possibly in feel.

    It's very growly (which most uprights aren't) and is very subtle at the same time.
  15. bdengler


    Jan 23, 2000
    New Albany, Ohio
  16. CrawlingEye

    CrawlingEye Member

    Mar 20, 2001
    Easton, Pennsylvania
    I've already posted regarding them.
    They don't sound like uprights at all.
    They're very growly yet subtle.

    I have yet to hear a growly upright.

    The only characteristic an upright and the Rob Allen could possibly have in common would be the feel. They certainly aren't alike as far as tone goes.
  17. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    The Takamine B10 sounds a lot like an upright. It's constructed a lot like an upright and costs $3000+. Beautiful acoustic archtop with a big arched upright style neck (can be bowed and has a floor spike).
  18. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    This says far more about your listening experience (or lack thereof) than it does about the tonal characteristics of Double Basses.
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