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James
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 9:46 am    Post subject: Opinions required Reply with quote

Disclaimer: This thread is about as worthwhile as the 'what colour should I paint my toenails?' types where ultimately the opinion of the original poster will override the discussion.

I want to give fretless bass a go. I bought a fretless Mighty Mite neck to put on my Squier Jazz Bass which I like a lot but I missed having that bass as a regular fretted and didn't want to keep swapping the neck over. I play bass an awful lot more than I play guitar and own one bass but several guitars. So I decided the sensible thing to do is to sell some guitars and buy a second bass. Given the year and a bit of drama (already well documented in the pub, I'd rather avoid the details here) I've decided to splash out a bit and buy myself something nice as a bit of a 'thank god that's over' gift. Also, there will be some gear sales in the next couple of months to fund this (Matamp, Ventura ES175, Ibanez Melody Maker and perhaps some more).

This is what I have now. MIJ Squier Jazz Bass bought from Pat a few years back. I absolutely love it and in looking for something else I'm just looking for having an alternative option rather than making up for shortcomings.

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On to the options.

- - - - -

Rickenbacker 4003 in black
Price - £1000-1200


It's been a quite a few years since I've played a Rickenbacker bass but I've loved every guitar of theirs I've played. It's a lot of money for a gear purchase and there's no doubt that at least part of what you're paying for is some brand name exclusivity. I don't think much of their approach to second hand sales (see this thread for a good example - link) and after reading around some other forums I'm actually a bit put off by the company. Despite that I think this is still my first choice but I want to play a handful (possibly at the Bristol meet-up) before spending a little over a grand on one.

- - - - -

Jazzmaster VI partsmaster
Price - £800-1000




Ever since playing Fredo's custom shop Bass VI I've been thinking about making something like this. USACG make a 30" VI neck and they also make a regular jazzmaster body so I'd imagine they'd make the body and neck for this if I asked them. I've not fully decided the details in terms of control plates (the Marr plate is only on the pink one because that's what I used to photoshop the image) and that sort of thing but I'm fairly set on the rough idea.

There's no doubt that a Jazzmaster VI would be awesome but there are a few potential downsides. It might turn out to be a bit of a novelty and not get played much, could be a nightmare to put together and it probably also doesn't solve the issue of wanting one fretted one fretless bass as I imagine it won't fully fill the fretted bass role. Another thing is there's no way to try it before spending the money and I would have no idea how well it would turn out until it was finished.

- - - - -

Guild B302 in black
Price - £550-700


I love this option. I'm not sure if I like it more than a Rickenbacker but it's half the price. The main difficulty would be finding the right one. Perhaps if I manage to get one I'd occasionally wish that I'd just put up the money for the 4003. It should hold it's value enough to sell it for what I buy it for and buy a Rick if that is the case, though. If I see one at a reasonable price that looks as good as the one posted here it will be hard to turn it down.

- - - - -

Loaded Fender Body
Price - about £300 for MIA


Considering I already have a neck with tuners attached a simple option would be to just buy a loaded body. Not the most exciting choice but certainly functional. I could also just buy a Squier and put my fretless neck on it.

- - - - -

Stagg Electric Upright Bass
Price - £330


This certainly solves the fretless conundrum. I want to get into some jazz playing so moving towards upright is likely a good idea. I definitely don't have the space for an acoustic upright and these get good reviews at the entry level price point. My main concern is that it will fill like a compromised halfway point that doesn't have the satisfaction of an electric bass or an acoustic upright. They hold resale well and are easily available for £330 so it's fairly low risk but still quite a ballsy choice compared to just buying an electric.

- - - - -

It's a difficult decision because I don't want to buy several new things but other than the Rick and Guild covering similar ground these each offer very different things, all of which I like. I know that it will ultimately be down to me to decide but I'm interested to see what you guys have to say or if you have any ideas I've not thought about.

tl;dr
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BearBoy
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 10:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Love the Jazzmaster VI idea but, as you have already pointed out, I am not sure this would cover the "fretted bass" you are looking for.

Why not get a second hand Squier CV Jazz bass (loaded body only if you can find one) and put one of your existing necks on it? And then do the Jazzmaster VI as well.
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Thomas
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 10:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For you I'd say go for the guild and in the meantime as you've been after one for a while (until you find one) I'd buy a loaded body to stick the fretless neck on and put your Jazz bass back to stock.

The bass I use is a Squier P-Bass Special. It is a P-Bass body with a regular P-Bass pickup AND a Jazz pickup at the bridge. The neck it comes with is an awesome skinny Jazz Bass style neck. Its a quality bass and you can pick them up super cheap (mine was £80).

If you want to go down the really treat yourself track get the Rick and loaded body.

You'll get way more mileage from the Guild or Rick than a parts Jazzmaster Bass. It looks great but I don't think it'd be anywhere near as nice to play as an actual bass and you'd end up picking up a real bass all the time.
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BobArsecake
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 11:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If it depends on possible resale value if you get fed up of any of them. The Ric will lose little value, and is likely to increase in value if you look after it and keep if for a good few years. That way you can get the measure of it for a while and if you don't like it or get fed up of it (like you think will happen with the Jazz VI) then you can sell it on and not lose out much (or at all) and have the money to get something good straight away.

Love the idea of the Jazz VI, though. Don't know how much you've researched it, but that could be fantastic. As you say, though, the novelty might wear off unless you get involved with a band with it or something.

As for the others, don't know much about the Guild, and the Stagg looks pretty interesting. Then the loaded bass body just seems a little boring in comparison.
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Mike
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 12:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That Stagg thing is totally honking.

As Stewart would say "it gives me the dry boak"
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Gabriel
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 12:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll be honest about the electric uprights, even if you can afford one of the really expensive NS ones they still don't sound as good as a nice fretless bass. Think electric guitar with piezo pickup.

Also they're not much smaller than a 3/4 acoustic (which is what the majority of jazz bass players use) as the stands that are needed to support them are quite large.

I really like the guild but I've never played one so I can't really express much of an opinion of them further than how it looks. I'm not a huge fan of ricky basses, another option could be a japanese import copy? They come up for sale quite often on basschat.

Have you thought about a p-bass?
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NickD
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As much as the company seem like a bunch of cunts I'd get the Rick. If that is what you really want then none of the other options will fully scratch that itch and you will always want the Rick. nice to play too.

I'm sure I played your Jazz bass fretless - did you bring it to a Doogfest?
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James
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Joined: 13 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 12:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NickD wrote:
I'm sure I played your Jazz bass fretless - did you bring it to a Doogfest?


I did but with the stock neck on it. Sometime last year I bought a Might Mite fretless neck and fitted it and then found that although I liked it and was making reasonable progress in adapting I was playing less and missed the bass as it was.

This is the only picture I can find. I stuck a zebra sticker on the off-white pickguard to give it a bit of extra cheesiness.

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BoringPostcards
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 1:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Those 4003s sound really good, but their necks are a strange shape. Very chunky even from the 1st fret. Also: stereo inputs.
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brainfur
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 1:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ugh that stagg thing is awful

I think a bass VI is most exciting purchase
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Gabriel
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 1:39 pm    Post subject: Re: Opinions required Reply with quote

James wrote:
Also, there will be some gear sales in the next couple of months to fund this (Matamp, Ventura ES175, Ibanez Melody Maker and perhaps some more).


Also give me a shout when you're selling that 175!
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Ankhanu
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Joined: 10 Nov 2009
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 2:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

All of these are really good options, IMO.

BearBoy wrote:
Love the Jazzmaster VI idea but, as you have already pointed out, I am not sure this would cover the "fretted bass" you are looking for.

Why not get a second hand Squier CV Jazz bass (loaded body only if you can find one) and put one of your existing necks on it? And then do the Jazzmaster VI as well.


I'm primarily a bass player and have been playing VI almost exclusively for about 3 years now. It's a little bit of a different experience, but can/will cover traditional bass sounds just fine with the right amp/EQ, and with a different amp/EQ, give you great baritone type options as well. They're flexible.
Something to keep in mind with the 30" scale and Jag/Jazz vibrato is string availability/cost. 0.95 strings long enough to fit the trem and reach past the nut before winding down are expensive and getting harder to find. Fender recently discontinued their 0.95 Bass VI strings, and have recently started stocking 0.84s, which, IMO are too light for an E-e 30" scale. LaBella makes strings for them, but they're rather pricey.

That said, BearBoy's suggestion is a pretty good one; without spending TOO much money, you can have both the VI and a traditional bass with another Squier.

Another good option in the VI front is to go with a Schecter Hellcat VI (current model with Duncan SJAG-1s); it's $750 with a stoptail, and LaBella makes custom strings for it at <$10/pk. This is my current main bass, and it's pretty sweet. I also own a Schecter Ultra VI, which looks awesome and plays great, but the minihumbuckers just don't hold a candle to the SJAG-1s in any way. With a pickup swap, it would become my primary bass again.

If you can afford a 4003, I know I'd go for it... but it's also one of my dream basses, and really, pretty much the only 4-stringer I've lusted for in years. I own a Jazz bass, a P-Bass with a Yamaha fretless neck on it, and a Yamaha 5-string (in addition to my Schecter VIs), and really, a 4003 is the only bass I still have desire to attain. They sound great and look sexy as fuck.

The Guild, I feel much the same as you. It's got a lot of the Rick appeal for WAY less cost, but not all of the Rick appeal.

The Stagg would be a tonne of fun... but, I think the appeal is somewhat more limited than the others.
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George
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rickenbackers just look like the ultimate bass to me

so graceful and mechanical looking at the same time
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benecol
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 2:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

James: buy the Rickenbacker and the loaded body, because you deserve it and you'll love both.

In the coming months, pick up a Bass VI body from Cooterfinger and build that up at your leisure.

You've had some real ugliness in your life lately. So don't invite any more in in the shape of that fucking Stagg monstrosity.
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brainfur
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 2:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

benecol wrote:


You've had some real ugliness in your life lately. So don't invite any more in in the shape of that fucking Stagg monstrosity.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 4:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like the Jazzy VI idea. Very Happy
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dezb1
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Guild...
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cur
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 6:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

would this thing fit your fretless neck? $35
gfs clearance
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DGNR8
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 9:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I didn't know about the toenails.

If I played bass I would be tempted by a VI--but buy a Rick.

Does the VI have a trem? I guess the strings would snap like a suspension bridge cable. What about Mustang bass--too short?
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Pens
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 10:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Personally I think the Guild sounds like a great choice. It's a nice bass and cheaper than the Ric, and it looks fucking cool also.
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