Fretless bass guitars are now so much more affordable than what they used to cost back in the 90s. Best of all, the lower price they are now charging do not comprise the quality of the instruments which make them really value for money. Below is what we have picked as the best models you can buy for either under 500 or under 1000.
Fretless bass guitar comparison
|Fender fretless jazz bass ||Click here to see pricing on Amazon|
Great for beginners with an affordable pricing without comprising quality
|Goldtone Gt series FL 4 fretless bass||Click here to see pricing on Amazon|
Produces beautiful low notes that only a fretless bass can do
|Schecter Stilleto Studio 4||Click here to see pricing on Amazon|
A higher priced fretless bass but is worth the money for the quality finishing and body construction
Fretless guitar review
Here is where you will find what I think are are the best fretless bass for the money. I will first cover those under 500 dollars. These will be more for beginners who might not want to spend too much money. The later listing will be under $1000 and is meant for those with more experience.
Fender fretless jazz bass review
The Fender Jazz Bass is one of the cheaper options around that still sound pretty good for its price. I recommend it for fretless bass beginners who just want to try their hands on this instrument without burning a hole in their pockets. Do note that while I say this is great for beginners, I see many experienced bass players using this as well. They all can’t be wrong, can they?
The best thing about the Fender fretless jazz bass is how easily it can reach both the low and high tones without any fuss. When you pluck this into a good guitar amp or bass amp, the sounds it can produce can really surprise you in terms of how good and crisp the notes are.
The fretless bass itself is pretty well build, with gloss finish and comprise of a 3 piece body. The bridge can be adjusted so it is easy to find the right position for your playing style. The pickups are also nicely arranged such that you don’t need to mess with it to start playing. Overall, it is just a very good fretless bass that you can play right out of the box.
The only thing is that this bass guitar is a bit neck heavy so if you are playing this while standing up, you might feel the pull of the neck. If you are sitting down and playing this, there will be no issue whatsoever. However, for its price, this little drawback should not hold you back from buying it.
Gold Tone FL4 Fretless Electric Bass review
For electric bass guitar players who want a fretless version, the Gold Toen FL4 is a good choice under 500 dollars.
Sound quality is good overall especially when reaching for the low tone. In this aspect, you will appreciate why you should go for the fretless version when you hear the lovely lows this can produce.
The only negative aspect is the pick ups, especially for those with fast fingering style, which creates some finger noise. A better pick up will fixed this issue. Right now, you can eliminate this problem by adjusting your bass amp until you hear less of the fingering noise.
In other aspect, this fretless bass weighs only 10 pounds which is pretty light if you compared to traditional bass guitars that can go up to 50 pounds. This light weight means the Gold Tone is very portable and should make lugging it around pretty easy. Some might be surprised at how good the sound can be despite this small size.
Comparing the Fender and the Gold Tone, I would prefer the latter if you do not have to play an electric bass. Not only is the Fender more affordable, it actually has better overall sound and build quality. However, if you are a electric bass guitar player then Gold Tone will be the preferred choice.
Schecter Stilleto Studio 4 review – Best Fretless Bass under 1000
Schector Stilleto Studio 4‘s fretless bass cost you around $700-800 but it will sound like a $2000 bass guitar. That is the kind of quality you are getting if you are willing to consider a more than $500 but less than $1000 range.
The higher price you are paying is an upgrade of almost everything from the previous 2 models I have reviewed. You get a better quality finishing as well as a strong neck to body construction. Tone wise, it sounds fantastic and you can do all sort of playing on it if you have the know how and experience. As I said, this is better for someone who knows what he or she is doing so that you can bring the best out from it.
In terms of weight, it is also pretty light. When holding this guitar, it will give you the feeling of a solid and yet maneuverable bass guitar that you can play great music on.
One thing to note though is that this is not suitable for players with fat fingers. If you have them, I recommend that you look at this article instead: best guitars for short and fat fingers. If you don’t have this issue, then moving your fingers around this guitar will feel so smooth as the action has been set pretty low. A fretless bass player will feel like he or she is in heaven with this set up. Again, only when you are good at it.
Benefits of a fretless bass guitar
For beginners who are unaware, a fretless guitar has some benefits over traditional guitars. One is the sound and tone produced. It is very different from what you usually hear and that itself is a main reason why some choose to play a fretless guitar. Some say it sounds like a human singing while being able to support the rhythm section of any plays.
Fretless guitar is also able of producing more complex tone. If you searched for “”MWAH” factor for fretlesse, it refers exactly to this complexity. In general, when you pluck, the harmonic tend to rise over time, compared to normal guitars whose harmonics tend to sound all at once.
Another benefit is that you can play songs without the traditional 12 notes limit. This is especially useful when it comes to non traditional Western songs. Of course, if you are not into it then this will not bring any benefits.
Finally, on a fretless guitar, you can do really cool slides. Being able to go from half step to the next without missing the notes can bring a big difference to the way you plays. And it really look as cool as hell to watch.
Fretless bass playing is not for everyone. If you are just starting, the Fender or Gold Tone will be my recommendation. For those with more experienced and have deeper pockets, the Schecter Stilleto Studio 4 fretless is the one you should get.