ESP LTD B-205SM Fretless Electric Bass, 5-String

The LTD B-205SM from ESP features an ash body with a spalted maple top. ABQ-3 active electronics and SB pickups help round out its huge 5-string tone.
What's special about this item?
Feature: What it does:
Ash body Strong, snappy responsive tone
Spalted maple top Incredible looks and tone
Rosewood fretboard Open, warm tone and smooth playing feel
Three-band active EQ Cut or boost bass, middle and treble frequencies
Pick up the ESP LTD B-205SM fretless electric bass, and let your fingers experience the fretless tonal advantage! This 5-string beauty's spalted maple-topped-ash body provides plenty of well-balanced resonance, with a pair of ESP SB-5 pickups to craft a sweet, articulate signal. Enjoy the comfortable feel of the B205's five-piece maple/rosewood neck -- the smooth roasted jatoba fretless fingerboard spans two octaves for each string.

The Tonal Reach of Fretless Necks

Chosing to go the fretless route for guitars is a serious choice to make. The advantages, however, will undoubtedly set your sound apart from the norm. You'll be able to take advantage of microtones that you can only achieve with a slide or string bends on fretted guitars. You'll have plenty of room to slide notes up and down the fretboard with ease. Many players will argue that the sustain works to your advantage as well, on a fretless instrument. You'll achieve intonation when you aim to be as accurate as possible while traversing the fingerboard.

Maple and Ash Body

You'll love the look and feel of your ESP LTD B205 fretless electric bass's maple-topped ash body. Maple is a tough wood, and stands up well to the tests of time, while adding a nice touch of brightness to your sound. Ash is a slightly heavier and denser wood, and it yields a well-balanced resonance with careful attention to the lows, mids, and highs. The ESP LTD B205's spalted maple top features intriguing grain patterns that are an absolute pleasure to look read more at.

Two ESP SB-5 Pickups

Capturing the full-bodied tone of this fretless bass are its pair of ESP SB-5 pickups at the bridge and neck. Your low notes and high notes will all achieve a warm articulation anywhere your fingers travel along the fretboard. You have two independent volume controls to find the right blend of each pickup, and ESP ABQ-3 three-band active EQ controls to help shape your output's middle, high, and low frequencies to your personal liking.

String-Through-Body ESP DB-5 Bridge

The ESP DB-5 bridge anchors your five strings down securely -- helping maintain intonation for long playing sessions, and keeping each string's sustain ringing longer. This bridge features a string-through-body design, which brings in even more sustain, and provides a more seamless transfer of sound as you play.

Features:

- ESP LTD B205 5-string fretless electric bass
- Spalted maple top
- Ash body
- Comfortable five-piece maple/rosewood neck
- Smooth fretless roasted jatoba fingerboard
- 24 fret position lines
- Scale length of 34"
- ESP SB-5 pickup at the neck
- ESP SB-5 pickup at the bridge
- Two independent volume controls
- ESP ABQ-3 three band active EQ
- Black nickel hardware
- ESP tuners
- ESP DB-5 bridge -- string-thru-body design
WARNING: Cancer and Reproductive Harm - www.p65Warnings.ca.gov.
read less
- Construction: Bolt-On
- Scale: 34 in.

- Body: Ash
- Top: Spalted Maple
- Neck: 5 Piece Maple/Rosewood Neck
- Fingerboard: Roasted Jatoba
- Nut: 45mm Standard
- Contour: Thin U Neck
- Hardware: Black Nickel
- Tuners: ESP Tuners
- Bridge: ESP DB-5 Bridge with String-Thru-Body
- Pickups: ESP SB-5 (Bridge and Neck)
- Active Electronics: ESP ABQ-3 3-Band Active EQ
Dimensions and Weight in Packaging
Natural Satin
Shipping Weight: 17 lbs
Shipping Dimensions: 53 x 19 x 5 in
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): LB205SMFLNS
If you have additional warranty questions, please contact the manufacturer at 800-423-8388

ESP LTD B-205SM Fretless Electric Bass

5-string bassists rejoice! the ESP B205 introduces amazing features like an Ash body coupled with a Spalted Maple top giving you that low grind you deserve. A 5-piece maple/rosewood neck has been paired with a sumptuous roasted jatoba fretboard for quick fret maneuverability. ESP ABQ-3 active electronics perfectly round out ESP SB pickups.
(9 ratings)
Submitted October 13, 2012 by T B
"A Good Fretless Bass at a Suprisingly LOW Price"
Verified Customer zZounds has verified that this reviewer made a purchase from us.
I'm on a tight budget. I need a 5-string fretless bass for recording demos, and a matching fretted bass. I don't need a "prestige" name on the headstock, nor do I need "stunningly good looks". I just need a solid, VERSATILE bass that's easy to play and sounds good.

Sound
The stock strings are SIT roundwounds. They're far too "zingy" for my taste (it's a BASS, not a baritone lead guitar) and the B-string is junk. Also, the fingerboard is rosewood, which is less hard than traditional ebony. The roundwounds might help you sound like Jaco P, but I'm pretty sure they'll chew into that rosewood after a while. I replaced the SITs right away with D'Addario Black Nylon Tapewounds and am SHOCKED at how bright and articulate and versatile they are. Those strings plus the onboard 3-band EQ let me get any tone I want, from Dark Thump to more high-mid Jaco "mwah" than I can stand. And I can imitate an upright bass pretty convincingly, too. VERY IMPORTANT: The black tapewound stings appear to do ZERO damage to the fingerboard! I could not be more pleased with the sound.

Features
Good tone woods. Very attractive spalted maple face veneer over swamp ash body. Amazingly thin neck (measuring from back to front). I'm no expert, but the pickups seem well suited and the 3-band EQ provides a LOT of tonal adjustment. So does the pickup pan pot. The SIT roundwound strings are the only thing I didn't like (and they've been replaced)

Ease of read more Use
I thought FRETLESS bass was going to hugely difficult. Not so. It does take more finesse than playing fretted (you have to hit each note at exactly the right point on the string/fingerboard rather than simply play behind the intended fret), but after a month, I'm very pleased at how similar playing this fretless is to playing its fretted twin. And the fretless can make sounds the fretted bass never will. Very expressive. The neck appears to be set completely flat, so there is some string buzzing. But it's such a joy to play it this way that I haven't been able to force myself to make the necessary adjustments. I think raising several saddles slightly will remedy the buzzing, or I might have to introduce a bit of neck relief (bow). Either way, I doubt it will alter the excellent playability much. BTW, these adjustments have been necessary for EVERY guitar I've ever bought. - so no criticism of these LTD basses intended.

Quality
Appears to be VERY well built. The finish is excellent and the neck-to-body fit is very precise (6-bolt neck, too). Even though the neck is very thin (back to front) it's made of five laminated strips and has a reputation for being very stable. In my case: so far, so good. Small issue with the knobs: Some knobs were mounted too low, so the underside of the knob wanted to scrape the face finish. I caught this early on, and remounted all knobs higher on the pot shaft. Other issue with knobs/pots: A set screw holds the knobs onto their shafts. Two of my setscrews were overtightened at the factory - so they deformed the split pot shafts. This results in a knob that does not sit straight on the shaft. The knob appears to wobble when turned. I corrected this by forcing a knife blade between the split-shaft's halves and reforming them straight. Remounted the knob and applied less pressure to the set screw. Seems okay now, but seems to indicate too much focus on SPEED and not enough on quality during production. I would also say that the fretted B-205sm purchased several months earlier looks and feels slightly better built... perhaps less rushed during production...

Value
EXCELLENT VALUE. I searched and searched and search some more, and found NOTHING to compare with this instrument in its price range. A very nice 5-string fretless bass for under $400 is surprising. The fact that I could obtain MATCHING fretless and fretted basses in this price range DOUBLES or TRIPLES the value to me. This is "The Smart Choice"

Manufacturer Support
NA relative to this purchase. But I've spoken with Tim in ESP/LTD Customer Service several times regarding other instruments, and he's always very helpful.

The Wow Factor
I think it looks, plays and feels GREAT. It does EVERYTHING I want it to, and I have a matching pair of fretted and fretless 5-string basses for far less than many spend on one single bass. For me, that spells W-O-W .

Musical Background:
Multiple instruments for a long time. I write/compose and record.

Musical Style:
All genres. No limits.
read less
58 of 60 people (97%) people found this review helpful. Did you?
Thanks for your opinion!