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Which high-end fretless: suggestions please.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Rockin John, Mar 16, 2005.

  1. This is yet another of those, 'settle an argument' threads.

    A few of us sat in a bar discusing which high end fretless we'd like. Naturally, the picks were wide and varied. Eventually we decided to limit ourselves to about £1500 RRP ($2500?). We were allowed 1 boutique / handmade, the rest had to be production instruments, but accepted that there is a grey area between those two limits. As Brits, we also limited ourselves to basses that are available to buy over here. 4,5,6 string basses were allowed.

    The favourites were the Jaco Fender, Rickenbacker, Peavey Cirrus, Warwicks. I liked the Overwaters for my handmade suggestion. Another guy chose a Manson.

    As a side issue, I felt it a shame that Yamaha did not do a fretless version of their piezo instruments.

    Any wisdom, folks?


  2. hasbeen

    hasbeen Commercial User

    Sep 23, 2004
    Vice President, KMC Music. Warwick U.S. distribution, Ampeg distribution
    I bought a Zon Sonus 6 string fretless after trying darn near everything else.
  3. klorence


    Nov 21, 2001
    Pittsburgh, PA
    buzz basses. in a class by themselves.

    they can get pricey, though.
  4. Pickebass

    Pickebass Supporting Member

    Jul 12, 2004
    San Antonio, TX
    I personally would recommend a Modulus Q6 frettless. I would also look at other carbon fiber neck fretless basses like Zon. Carbon really works well with the fretless because of its stability and focus. Can't go wrong
  5. Especially since you're a Brit, you should check out Jon Shuker. Totally handmade basses that you can buy for close to the same price as some of the factory-made basses you mentioned. Plus Jon's a great guy and very easy to work with. I have two of his basses. I would take them without hesitation over any of the factory-made models you mention (Fender, Ric, Warwick, Peavey, Yamaha). I've only ever seen/played one Overwater, maybe 8 years ago, and IMHO Jon's work is easily as good as and maybe better than that one was; can't say what the newer Overwaters are like, though I'm sure they're very good. I don't know anything about Mansons and so won't venture an opinion.

  6. Fran Diaz

    Fran Diaz

    Mar 28, 2002
    Santander, Spain
    Have you thought about Lakland? I've got this:
    Lakland 4-94 fretless

    as new USA Lakland 4-94 ready to ship from Spain :)

    more details on the For Sale forum:
    For Sale add

    Sorry for "spamming" :bag:

    keep groooovin'
  7. Hey, awesome sig! Robots was halarious!!!
  8. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    A little out of your price range, but the Zon Legacy Special is the best fretless I've ever had in my hands.
  9. WovenGraphite

    WovenGraphite Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2005
    Bay Area, California
    Well, as you don't discard the purchase of used instruments, a F Bass would fit the bill... I believe, eventhough I've never tried one that the BNF 5 or 6 are pretty darn good sounding fretless (see Alain Caron).
    Also, being in Britain, I'd suggest to look into Status Graphites... I do own a fretless Status. I am not a good fretless player and I think my fretless needs adjustment... it doesn't sound quite right... give it a try first.

  10. JDGA fan

    JDGA fan

    Oct 9, 2003
    Have to agree on Overwater - one of the best fretless basses I ever tried was a single P/U (bridge), passive bass in Chris May's original (and best) body style back in the mid-80's. Unfortunately, I was in college at the time and couldn't afford the bucks. I would also seek out a Wal Custom or S/H Pro 1 (again with a single P/U in bridge position), a Jaydee Roadie I or a S/H Ibanez Musician MC940 (from about 83-84 with black P/U's and 3-band EQ) as well. I am no fan of Fenders, but I have to admit that the relic version of Pastorius' fretless jazz bass is superb, though it's probably too costly in the UK. Out of principle though I won't pay for someone to factory "relic" an instrument, but it is a nice playing instrument all the same. Oh yeah, a second vote for Pedulla - the buzz basses are great fretless instruments.
  11. Mojo-Man

    Mojo-Man Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2003
  12. dveeus1


    Jan 7, 2001
    DFW, Texas
    High End??

    Zon Legacy Elite Fretless

    F Bass Alain Caron Model

    Ken Lawrence Chamberbass
  13. Fretless5verfan


    Jan 17, 2002
  14. amper


    Dec 4, 2002
    I have a custom Warwick Corvette Proline fretless short scale, and (at the moment) *three* fretless EB/MM StingRay's--a 1995 Sunburst, a 2002 Trans. Gold w/ matching head, and (as of just the other day) a 2000 Trans. Gold w/ matching head and piezo. So, as you can see, I like Warwick and Ernie Ball.

    Other fretless basses I love are Zeta's and Lakland's. I like Zon's, but I'm not fond of the plastic boards on them.
  15. burk48237

    burk48237 Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2004
    Oak Park, MI
    From what I've played the cream of the crop in frettlesses is the Pedula Buzz or Pentabuzz, the other really fine one I played was the F Bass Alain Caron, but I don't know if that can be had for 2500, not as familiar with there pricing. I've had two Pedullas they are excellent instruments and Mike really takes care of his customers. The other one I've heard raves about is the Fender Custom Shop Jaco model the "relic" style, I haven't had the opportunity myself but everyone I know who has was impressed.
  16. Bassmanbob

    Bassmanbob Supporting Member

    Just went through this.

    I narrowed it down to Roscoe, F Bass (a little out of your price range) and Zon.

    I picked the Roscoe for tone. All three had great playability.
  17. davepack

    davepack Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2004
    Denver, CO
    Pedulla Buzz.
  18. thisSNsucks

    thisSNsucks Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2004
    Yonkers, NY
    I played a gig once and the owner of the bar was a really cool guy. We were talkin about basses after the show and he started whipping out all of his basses he kept in the back. He had 2 fretless basses which were absolutely to die for, a pedulla buzz, and a vintage fender fretless p-bass with ebony fretboard. after he let me try them both out I decided that if i ever go fretless, I will definatly pick up one of those
  19. Fretless5verfan


    Jan 17, 2002
    +1 Roscoe = tone heaven :bassist:
  20. Bassmanbob

    Bassmanbob Supporting Member

    Yeah. The tone of the Zon and the Roscoe were real close, but I liked the Roscoe tone just a little bit more. I was surprised about the F Bass. It also had great tone, but not as warm as I was looking for.

    I also liked the Penta Buzz, but just not as much as the other three. I didn't try Fodera, MTD or Wal fretless, but they are all out of your price range anyway.