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which fretless?


sidonbass

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Please help me choose an easy to play, 4 string lined fretless. Love the Jaco sound. Budget...Under 1000.00 So far I like the Lakland Joe Osborne signature. Passive or active? Don't know. I'm just learning but It's coming fast on my borrowed bass. Suggestions? Help?
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You could probably get a skyline jo for under 1k, but I'm not sure if they come fretless. You could also get a jaco artist series bass for that much, but I'm not sure how close you'll get with it. It comes stock with flatwounds and an unfinished board.

It sounds like you want a fretless j style bass, and depending on how close to the jaco sound you want certain elements are vital. It should have an alder body, maple neck, and epoxied and lined rosewood board, it should also have a j bass pup in the bridge position, it could be a pj for that matter or anything else.

If you want to be really exact, it should also be beat to sh*t :thu:

If I were in your position I would check out bassnw.com

bssamporium.com

gguitars.com

basspalace.com

basscentral.com

ebay.com

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Fretboard material will be important. The Skyline is a nice bass; the 'board is unfinished rosewood, so it's very warm, & not much of the Jaco "mwah" (at least, that's how my friend's fretless Skyline sounds to me). A lot of the fretless Fenders will probably be similar. Jaco's had a huge layer of hard epoxy. I've got a fretless MM Sterling, pau ferro 'board; great fretless tone, but not exactly Jaco, either; more Pino (who plays a fretless Stingray). You could try a Carvin, which has an ebony 'board.

 

Especially with a fretless, I think it's important to try them out personally, & choose the one that speaks to you. These basses are all about that distinctive tonal quality. It's extremely subjective.

 

Keep in mind that a lot of the tone is in the fingers. I can make my fretless sound like a fretted bass with some subtle on-board EQ fiddling & a change in touch. For the "Jaco" sound, a snappy touch back towards the bridge is the place to start. Heck, Bakithi Kumalo has got one of the best fretless tones on the planet, & he plays (or used to play) an old, plain-Jane Washburn.

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For fretlesses, as said, it's important you try them out in the shop for a decent length of time.

 

As for the Jaco sound - the above comments should be very helpful but remember that Jaco's sound was in his hands. He had the same sound on fretted bass. (Check out his instruction video) I can get a range of sounds/tones out of my fretless without touching the EQ - I only use the pickup selector.

 

Concentrate on the bridge pickup both for sound and fingers and listen to Jaco's use of vibrato.

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Originally posted by sidonbass:

Please help me choose an easy to play, 4 string lined fretless. Love the Jaco sound. Budget...Under 1000.00 So far I like the Lakland Joe Osborne signature. Passive or active? Don't know. I'm just learning but It's coming fast on my borrowed bass. Suggestions? Help?

Yo, sidonbass, glad to have you on the Forum! :wave:

Under $1,000? I have one word... Carvin.

OK, I couldn't keep my mouth shut. :D

Some more words. Ebony fretboard, J-style pickups, neck-through-body, decent hardware, active would only cost you an extra $100-150 but their passive sound is rich enough. Lots of options ---> (LINK to the LB70) . My only regret is they don't have a showroom on the East coast.

 

A local colleague owns an imported Lakland Skyline 5; it's HOT!!! Then again I'm sure there are fretless Fender J-Basses (Mexico and Japan) that fall under that grand-spot.

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I spent years hoping to get the Jaco sound, finally biting the bullet and buying the MIJ Fender Jaco Jazz. The sound from this bass is incredible and I do wonder why I didn't buy it years ago. I tried the MIA Jaco and this had a fantastic action but had a Pau Ferro fingerboard. I preferred the sound from the MIJ rosewood fingerboard.

 

Good luck on your search. Davo

"We will make you bob your head whether you want to or not". - David Sisk
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Originally posted by Zombierockstar:

I definitely agree with Fred...the Carvins are the best choice for under a grand. I had an unlined LB70F a few years ago and it was incredible! Carvin=quality IMO.

Not only that, but they don't hold their value well so you could probably find a used one for a steal. They are fine instruments. I don't know why they get the shaft. The only thing I don't care for are the electronics. Other than that, I loved mine.
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Davo,

That bass sounds like the real deal - I will have to try one.

 

Sidonbass, just to second the value of buying secondhand fretlesses. I bought my Wal secondhand 12 years ago (it was already 6 years old then) and got a much better bass than I could have affordred new. Just check the fingerboard for wear, or if it has been shaved down, check how much thickness of fingerboard is left.

 

Some great advice on this board. I wish I had the money to buy another bass.

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