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Why so few budget fretless options?

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Squier and a bunch of Fender knockoffs (from Sire/Marcus Miller to Harley Benton), those appear to be the only option for a new sub-£500 fretless bass at the moment. Have those companies cornered the market to the extent that the likes of Ibanez, Yamaha, et al don't bother?

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I think the fretless market is a lot smaller than the fretted one, so there’s less incentive for manufacturers to get involved. I had a Revolution which was unbelievably good for under £200 and unbeatable in my opinion. I think part of the issue is that most fretless beginners tend to be experienced fretted players, so they get a cheap secondhand one, and then upgrade to something more serious if they get more involved. 

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32 minutes ago, therealting said:

I think the fretless market is a lot smaller than the fretted one, so there’s less incentive for manufacturers to get involved. 

This. No-one listens to music now. No-one likes rock or jazz. No-one acknowledges bass. No-one plays fretless. I'd imagine the last time fretless bass featured in the Top-20 was '80s or possibly 90's. Total fretless market in the UK right now is probably single digit including you.

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37 minutes ago, therealting said:

I think the fretless market is a lot smaller than the fretted one.

I was discussing this with Mrs C yesterday when I was butchering various popular classics on my fretless to pass the afternoon... There really can’t be much of a market for fretless basses? Especially at the bottom end? 🤔 

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I’d wager that most fretlesses existence are the one fretless in a much larger collection of fretted instruments. I personally have around 20 basses, but generally owned only one fretless at a time (I don’t own any at the minute).

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You need go no further than the Revelation.  £199 new, better made than a Squier and awesome sound.  Unlined of course. Buy from the Bass Gallery in London. 

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The (very good VFM) Spectorcore is in your Under £500 price  bracket but I take your point..

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31 minutes ago, lownote12 said:

You need go no further than the Revelation.  £199 new, better made than a Squier and awesome sound.  Unlined of course. Buy from the Bass Gallery in London. 

I heartily endorse this. 

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19 minutes ago, hooky_lowdown said:

Vintage v940 fretless or if you're into Jaco the Vintage icon fretless.

A +1 for these. Stupendously good for the price, esp if you can grab one used. 

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This is a niche market, for sure. Being myself a fretless player, I've always struggled to be able to try some in music shops as they sometimes have one, but it's always a deep sh*t... That said I had the opportunity to try a brand new Zon Hyperbass in a shop in the 90's, but they were selling high end basses.

My advice would be to buy a second hand one, as for £400 to £500, you can get some really terrific basses.

And there are some very fine ones here on BassChat...

Just check the Marketplace.

And I don't know if there are top 20 tunes with fretless bass nowadays as I really don't give a damn sh*t about these radio horrors pretending to be music.

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The sire Marcus Miller sounds great I would go for that ti be honest

There is an excellent demo sound here...

wait I'll find it for you

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I just got a fretless Sire V7 fretless 5string last week. Maple neck. It's great, wholly recommended. There's some fretless MIM Fenders to be found second hand as well, I think.

20200420_134701.jpg

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, hooky_lowdown said:

Vintage v940 fretless or if you're into Jaco the Vintage icon fretless.

I own and heartily endorse the 940fl.  Along with the Revelation P bass, which Stew has heartily endorsed. You see, far from a famine you have a feast of choice. 

Edited by lownote12

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If I understand the OP correctly they are not interested in a Fender style bass no matter what it says on the headstock, so most of the suggestions on here aren't going to cut it. There are two contenders among Hellzero's selection but both are currently out of stock.

I can sympathise, when I was started playing fretless bass there was very little choice at the cheaper end of the market if you didn't want something derived from the Jazz bass design. I briefly owned a Squier VMJ Fretless and hated pretty much everything about it. Luckily for me a second hand Pedulla Buzz turned up at a very attractive price (although still well over the OP's £500 limit) and that sorted out my fretless problems until I could afford to have something custom made.

My advice to the OP is that if you really don't want a Fender-style fretless bass even just to get you started, then you need to keep an eye on the ads on here and eBay and eventually something interesting will show up at a suitable price. 

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There is this different fretless, a bit over your budget, but Victor is a very nice guy to deal with

 

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Thanks for the replies. Couple of things:

1) Was mainly looking for anything non-Fender style. Understandable that there are fewer fretless options generally, but it's disappointing to me that that also extends to the look. 

2) Unwilling to go the defretting route, as that ruined a Fender Jazz of mine. 

I have, thanks to this, discovered the Ibanez SR370EF (not sure how I missed it with a catchy name like that), which looks promising. 

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i went down this route recently, and ended up with a used ibanez portamento. it really is the business!

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18 minutes ago, GisserD said:

i went down this route recently, and ended up with a used ibanez portamento. it really is the business!

I've had similar recommended to me.  But arent the Ibanez string spacings very close?

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