Kind of a bear to play with its' heavy gauge flatwound strings and necessarily high action, but man- this cheap Epiphone acoustic bass guitar sounds amazing!
Sort of "uprighty", but with a very focused bottom end and exhibiting a little bit of the classic fretless 'mwahhhh', it's a rather versatile instrument. I've used it on a bunch of recordings, but it travels well so I've used it live quite a bit too. Unplugged, the El Capitan actually has decent volume. It's enough to practice with, mic up and even be audible with another guitarist. The stock Epi/Shadow electronics sound great and balanced with a very effective 5-band eq.
This is easily the largest-bodied bass I own. It can be a bear to get your right arm around! Luckily, I've got long limbs! I went through a bunch of strings with this bass, but ultimately really like the tone of the D'Addario Chromes flats that I have on it. The Chromes are higher tension than typical bass guitar strings, but they help the instrument 'speak' a little better. I had been gradually lowering the action at the bridge saddle to help playability, but some tone and volume started to suffer, so I shimmed it up a bit with a hard plastic shim Epiphone provided. It's a bit of a tradeoff of tone vs. playability, but worth it.
This is actually the 2nd identical El Capitan fretless I've had. The original that I purchased in '97 had the neck broken off by airline baggage handlers. I had an Epiphone deal at the time of the 'airline incident' & they were more than happy to swap out a whole new instrument for me. Remarkably after over 15 years on the road, millions of miles and hundreds of flights - I've only had 2 instruments damaged during travel. Not bad!
While not an expensive or rare instrument, this El Capitan is one of the few instruments I'd never part with. I've recorded some great music with it and played some memorable shows on it. Here's hoping that the airlines have mercy on it!
Epiphone El Capitan Fretless still available from Epiphone
Strung with D'Addario ECB81 Chromes Flatwounds at D'Addario