When it comes to cheap fretless basses, you want something that features good materials, decent build quality and proper hardware. Today, we are going to show you our top picks for this category and talk about what makes them a good choice. So without further ado . . .
Here are our reviews of the 4 best fretless bass guitars on the market:
Stagg BC300FL Fretless 4-String Fusion Electric Bass Guitar
Stagg’s BC300FL comes in as a very stylish ticket to the world of fretless bass guitars. They have used the standard Super Strat body shape, while the tonewood selection came down to alder. The neck is a solid maple piece with a rosewood fretboard on top.
All in all, the whole thing is built very well. In terms of electronics, you get a P/J passive configuration that has a decent output as well as dynamic range. Hardware is about as good as you can expect it to be in this price range. You have a standard fixed bridge with adjustable saddles on one side while the headstock houses four die cast tuning machines.
Interestingly enough, Stagg went with a true fretless design, meaning that there are no fret lines on the fretboard. Right out of the box, this bass might sound a bit raw. However, that is easily taken care of by taking it in for a proper setup. Actually, a good setup job is recommended no matter what kind of stringed instrument you are going for. At the end of the day, this Stagg is easily among the best cheap fretless bass models you can find.
Rogue LX200BF Fretless Series III Electric Bass Guitar
Next model in our lineup is Rogue LX200BF. Rogue is a brand known for offering decent solutions to the budget-oriented crowds, which is exactly what we are looking at here.
The bass features a Basswood body joined to a maple neck. The fretboard comes in form of a rosewood piece and features a completely clean design. Moving on, we got a set of passive P/J pickups that feature plastic covers for added appeal. In terms of build quality, this bass is rock solid. Some are going to be quick to complain about its basswood body, but it works great in this particular setup.
Performance-wise, Rogue LX200BF sounds good out of the box. The only thing you might want to replace right away are those stock strings with better ones (check some out here). This isn’t necessary, but it can definitely allow LX200BF to reach its true potential. Considering its price, you can’t really find a model that is more cost effective than this.
Kapok Fretless 5 String Electric Bass
Kapok is definitely is a brand that rarely gets any exposure. With that said, they have a lot to offer. When it comes to fretless bass guitars, their five-string model is definitely worth checking out. On a first glance, it is a rather basic guitar; however, there are some details that give it an edge over its competition. The body is made of basswood and features a solid, bright yellow finish.
Neck comes in form of a standard maple piece with a marked rosewood fretboard. We say marked because frets are drawn out. This makes it a great transition bass for those who are not comfortable going true fretless. One of the most interesting details about this model is the choice of electronics. You get two soapbar pickups, which have a rather decent tone. Lastly, hardware they have chosen for this build is pretty solid. This is easily of the best cheap fretless bass guitars for the money.
Fender Squier Vintage Modified Precision Fretless Bass
If none of the models above were quite up to your satisfaction, this Squier might be what you’re looking for. It is a bit more expensive than the guitars we have shown you so far, but it is definitely worth it. For all intents and purposes, this is a copy of Fender’s Vintage Precision bass. It features that classic Precision body shape as well as precision pickups. Build quality is impressive for the price, especially if you look into subtle detailing.
Squier used an Ebonol fretboard over a standard C profile maple neck (see full specs). In other words, you are getting a classic Fender feel at a bargain price. It is worth mentioning that this bass comes with drawn out frets. If you want something a bit more refined, but still affordable, this is the model to go for.
Cheap Fretless Bass Conclusion
Shopping for a cheap bass guitar, especially something as exotic as the fretless variety, requires a bit of caution. You are going to be run into compromises, which are absolutely normal. However, there are some things you don’t want to compromise on.
The most important ones are hardware and build quality. Hardware is essential because maintaining a key is far more important than sound. This is also ties into overall build quality. In this segment of the market, electronics are going to be more or less similar in terms of performance. You generally won’t find top-tier sound, but most modern affordable bass guitars sound rather decent.
The models we have listed above represent what we thing are the best choices on the market. This particular niche isn’t that forgiving to begin with, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t find good solutions out there.
Just keep in mind that most of these guitars come out of the factory with a questionable setup. A change of strings, some work on the action and neck alignment can exponentially improve the way these bass guitars sound and perform. Either way, you definitely don’t have to nuke your bank account in order to get the best cheap fretless bass guitar. This is especially convenient for those who want something to practice on before going all in on a high end model. Good luck!