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Fretless Bass Picks


Ace Of Bass

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Yo People:

 

I'm lloking to buy a fretless bass pretty soon and I would like to ask you guys (and ladies) for your opinions. I'm looking for something unique, with a Jaco-like sound, but darker; something I can play jazz, hip- hop-, funk & R&B on. I got botique bass money, any suggestions?

 

Thanks

A-

"sometimes you're the baseball. Sometimes you're the bat."
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Just to add a quick footnote:

 

I really wanted a Celinder Vintage 4-string fretless, but I can't find one anywhere on Earth. Chris Celinder is not responding to any of his dealer's e-mails and no one has a used on in stock. That is what I REALLY wanted, but can't seem to find..........

"sometimes you're the baseball. Sometimes you're the bat."
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Pedulla, Zon, Sadowsky, Fodera, and Mike Lull are all instruments that come to mind. If you've got "boutique bass money," you should try out instruments from all the makers out there and make your choice based on that.

 

If you want Jaco's sound "but darker," get an instrument with an unfinished ebony fingerboard.

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http://bassnw.com/New%20Exotic%20%20Basses/alembic_essence_fretless_4_st_superb_walnut.htm

 

Boutique bass money indeed.

 

If you have that much coin to part with, you should do yourself a solid and get you fingers on as many instruments as possible to actually play and see if you like it. You're in DC, it shouldn't be that much of a hassle to get around to some quality music shops.

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Actually, that's the problem. The biggest store around here is Washington Music Center which only features high end bass makers Ken Smith & Alembic. Everything else is Fender & MM. I have no real outlet on my real intrest like Fodera , MTD Mike Lull, Lakland, Celinder, Etc., because there are no dealers for them within 200- 300 miles. You would think that would show the D.C. metro area more love, but, alas, they don't. That's why I need you guy's to let me know what's up!!!

 

P.S.: Thanks Getz for that Essence shot. That's pretty much what I'm talking about. Let me rephrase something though...... I don't have "ends of the earth" botique bass money....... just $3200......... :)

"sometimes you're the baseball. Sometimes you're the bat."
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$3,200 is a lot of coin.

 

Do you have a car?

 

Is it worth it to you to go out and about for a day, say you budget $200 for tolls and gas, and get out for a bass-hunt?

 

I've done day trips down to DC driving from NY. You could do the reverse; stop at NJ Guitar and Bass World ( http://members.aol.com/njgtrbass/main.htm ) and then get into Manhattan. You could spend some quality time at Rudy's and then maybe NY Guitar and Bass Boutique. Call ahead and see what their inventory is like. You could also hit Manny's and the Manhattan GC.

 

The money spent on research could save you in the long run. Or you could just buy and hope you do the right thing. ;)

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I am swamped until August with gigs in the area so I pretty much have to stay put and I need a fretless ASAP .I go to NYC off and on for gigs. Been to Rudy's quite a bit and played his stuff. I played a Pensa fretless that I loved, but I heard that there are better out there and that is why I'm a bit obsessed! I also have played a MTD fretless that I thought was the bomb. I keep hearing about Mike Lull all of a sudden, is his stuff the real deal or what?
"sometimes you're the baseball. Sometimes you're the bat."
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You're full of inconsistent priorities in my opinion. Get your ass organized.

 

Now, do you want the perfect bass or do you need one ASAP? Or is it both? Does the former require thoughtful research and observation? I think so. Does the latter mean you just need one RIGHT NOW or else all will be lost?

 

Why do you need it ASAP? Do you need it for a gig or do you just lack patience like most of us?

 

Now, that said, maybe these observations will help:

 

I preferred a Lull to a Sadowsky or the Pensa.

 

But our own TNB prefers his Sadowsky to pretty much anything, and refers to it as his beloved Sadowsky.

 

And our own Music-Man has a fretless Warwick Thumb 5 bolt-on that no one wanted to put down at a gathering.

 

Then again, there are plenty of folks that prefer a Ernie Ball Music Man Stingray 5 fretless to anything boutique.

 

Some swear by Ibanez, and one of my friends spent some time and money beautifying a six string Ibanez that he prefers over his five string Carvin...

 

And speaking of Carvin, plenty of folks swear by them.

 

Then again, didn't our own zeronyne just buy KSD he's pretty happy with?

 

But when we're talking fretless, you would have to pry my own Rob Allen MB2-5 out of my cold, dead hands to get it away from me.

 

And about a year ago I picked up a Japanese made ESP custom "J-Five" which is a 5-string Jazz copie. It's fretless and sounds great.

 

But wait, Jeremy C wanted that nice MTD he fingered, but he was afraid of the divorce that would follow...

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Have you actualled talked with any of the People at Levin's/Washington Music? They are very helpful, especially when you know what you want, and can probably get something that you don't see hanging on the racks.

 

Or, you can take that $3200 and order 8-10 Wishbasses. At least one of them should work for you.

"Am I enough of a freak to be worth paying to see?"- Separated Out (Marillion)

NEW band Old band

 

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I played a Pensa fretless that I loved, but I heard that there are better out there and that is why I'm a bit obsessed! I also have played a MTD fretless that I thought was the bomb. I keep hearing about Mike Lull all of a sudden, is his stuff the real deal or what?
You've played Alembic, Smith, Pensa and MTD. You were impressed but you didn't part with the loot. The only thing left to do is head up to Brooklyn, but you are going to need a lot more than $3200.

 

http://www.thegrooveshoppe.com/Main.htm

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You are indeed the wise, old Sage that I heard you were. I am a bit impatient to be honest. I COULD use it for a fusion gig coming up and the director would prefer me to have one as an option, but it's not absolutley necessary, I suppose. I desperately do want to find the perfect fretless for me. I like the Sting Ray fretless, but I think I need more tonal options than it seems to have. Carvins I'm not really fond of. Never played a Rob Allen. Sadowskys seem a bit bit overpriced to be "cookie cutter" processed guitars. Give me a broken in Fender (preferably my trusty '75 J-Bass) any day over one of those. I am quite fond of the MTD focus and clarity and am somewhat leaning in that direction but wanted to know what else was out there. What say you, O wise one?
"sometimes you're the baseball. Sometimes you're the bat."
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"Have you actualled talked with any of the People at Levin's/Washington Music? They are very helpful, especially when you know what you want, and can probably get something that you don't see hanging on the racks."

 

I've been dealing with them for years. I have asked them to get me MTDs, Celinders, and friends have asked for much more, but to no avail. They seem like they really can't help you much if they aren't affiliated with a specific dealer.

"You've played Alembic, Smith, Pensa and MTD. You were impressed but you didn't part with the loot. The only thing left to do is head up to Brooklyn, but you are going to need a lot more than $3200."

That's the thing, I can't part with much more than that right now. I am leaning toward an MTD. That had the best overall balance in what I was looking for. Might need a few more bucks to pull it off though!!

"sometimes you're the baseball. Sometimes you're the bat."
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Not quite Botique, but there's also the Sterling. A little more toneal variation than a 4 banger Stingray. It's very much like a SR5. MM is about to release 2 pup versions of Stingrays & Sterlings this summer.

 

Then there's G&L L2000/2500, son of Sabre.

 

And Lakland.

 

Face it, there is no "perfect" bass just like there's no fastest gun in the West. No matter what you get, you'll just want more.

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But our own TNB prefers his Sadowsky to pretty much anything, and refers to it as his beloved Sadowsky.

Maury, that's hardly fair. I have never tried a Lull (but I do love my beloved Sadowsky). And while the Sadowsky haters (there are many) complain about it being suped up kit bass, they can't seem to be able to consistantly kick Roger's butt in the tone department. I know a guy that is on his eighth Fodera. He said it took that many tries to get it juuuuust right. He's probably headed for number 9 right now. Lunacy. How many Foderas has Anthony Jackson had?

 

Now, the best sounding fretless I have ever heard was a toss up between a Fodera and a Zon, the best I have ever held was a Sadowsky (suprise). My fretless is a Lakland, it is very nice.

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Thomas,

 

I'll have to buy a Lull and drive up to RI. We'll compare. ;)

 

I've liked every Sadowsky I've fingered (two?)(the latest was a 5-string P that killed). I liked the two Lulls I fingered more. The neck made a difference from me.

 

And, I don't care if Roger uses an Xacto-Knife and a spoon to craft his product, as long as it sounds good. I'm not really all that interested in the process as I am the end product, dig? :D

 

- Maury

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The only Fender clone bass that beats a Sadowsky is a Lull.

 

They both sound excellent, but every Lull's neck feels like the best neck I've ever played. People who have played Lulls out there know what I'm talking about. You finger a few familiar licks and go "woah!" It's literally that amazing. I don't know how he does it.

 

If you're looking for a Fender-style instrument, the Lull is hands-down the best. I love Roger's stuff...but his necks, while nice, don't make me drool with ecstacy like a Lull's neck does.

 

I need to stop talking like this before I pull out my credit card and do something stupid... :D

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I bet I would too...but I'm 96% sure that a rob allen mb2 is in my future
Hiram Bullock thinks I like the band volume too soft (but he plays guitar). Joe Sample thinks I like it way too loud (but he plays piano). -Marcus Miller
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Next time I'm in RI, I'll bring my Lull and we can a-b it with your Sadowsky, tnb.

 

The two nicest fretless basses I have played lately were a Nordstrand and a Roscoe.

 

If I had had the $3K on me, I would have bought either bass on the spot. I have to make sure I travel without my wallet because there are so many good basses out there.

 

Probably the next fretless I'm going to get will be a Wendler, but that is a completely different animal from most other fretless basses.

 

Currently I own a Sterling fretless. No real complaints, but there are better basses out there. Actually my Sterling (and my '71 Jazz) are the only basses in my collection that I haven't changed something in the electronics. (Well, there is the Lull, I ordered it the way I wanted it).

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AOB - basses are such personal thingys.

 

Along with what you've tried, I like the idea of a Nordstrand. Or try Canadian - F-Bass or Mike Kinal (I did). I don't have a ton of basses - it took me three years to select the Kinal over many of the makers that have been mentioned. Not that there is anything wrong with any of them, as I came very close to selecting them.

 

Yes, Lulls are the real deal.

I heard that Lull's prices have gone up, but haven't checked. I have enjoyed Sadowskys that I have tried, but I think the Lull is as good for less coin (or was).

 

tnb - Fodera seems to attract a certain client segment that is very particular. I will call them ultra-picky. Other makers have these guys, but we seem to hear about the Fodera ultra-picky folks more - possibly because some are very well known (Anthony Jackson certainly is one). I believe the "9th will be perfect" is a client problem, not a builder problem. I also believe that the 9th will only be the last if the individual expires.

 

Tom

www.stoneflyrocks.com

Acoustic Color

 

Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

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Alembic and PRS also get the same kind of buyer as Fodera does.

 

People with an positive balance in the bank account and negative balance in the brain account.

 

At NAMM, I ran into a guy at the PRS booth who had 10 in his collection...and they are all stacked neatly in their cases.

 

You see this on the featured custom page at Alembic all the time, "for his 40th birthday, John wanted something special for his fifth Alembic".

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Thanks Jeremy!

 

I tried a Roscoe fretless about 10 years ago at the Roscoe shop. Super low action, great tone and a very comfy neck. A very fine bass indeed!

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Ive got a "tried-and-true" Fender Jazz fretless but if you want a different sound, try a Fender Precision fretless which has a heavier tone. Delivers a nice upright sound when played closer to the neck away from the pick-up. A Wal, Ernie Ball or Lakland fretless would sound great too.
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