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Old 12-18-2012, 01:01 AM   #1
mattrusso
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Fretless Guitar!

Hey all! I couldn't find a thread about this, so I thought I'd start my own.

The idea of this thread is to discuss the different aspects of fretless guitar. This includes gear, playing, music, and anything else related.

So who plays fretless? What attracted you to it? What music do you play? What gear do you use?

I'll start:

I'm fairly new to playing fretless (I started about two months ago). I got into it for the microtonality! My guitar teacher that I've been studying with for the past 6 or 7 months is "kind of a big deal" on the fretless/microtonal guitar scene. Recently, I decided to delve into microtonality with him. After using bending for a while to get the microtonal pitches, I decided to buy a fretless guitar to further explore the concept and to be able to play microtonal harmonies.

Most of what I've been learning (given to me by my teacher) is Turkish, Arabic, Indian, and Chinese melodies, techniques, and inflections , as well as my teacher's own more modern avant-garde jazz/fusion/rock/third stream stuff, which is usually where the harmonies come in. I also use it to play the "regular" western music I would normally play with a different flavor. It's almost like using a slide, except you have as many slides as you have fingers!

Since I'm just starting out going fretless, I opted for a budget guitar. I found a very small company called Smoothboard guitars (http://www.smoothboard.com/) that make affordable fretless guitars. I decided to go with the Classic (fat strat copy) partly because of the low price and partly because when it comes to solid body guitars, I'm a "strat guy". It's obviously a cheap guitar, and to be honest it kinda looks the part; the burst finish looks very amateurish. However, aside from looks, it's a pretty well made guitar, and, to my surprise, actually has a great sound. However, out of the box, it wasn't set up well at all. It needed a lot of adjustment to play well, but I really like it after messing around with it a bit. Later this week I'm gonna take it to a tech who'll do a professional set up, draw fret lines on it, and, if it's not too expensive, potentially coat the fretboard with epoxy, which will make it much easier to play.
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Old 12-18-2012, 01:14 AM   #2
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Guthrie Govan plays fretless >.>

I'll play a fretless (but marked) bass, but not guitar.
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Old 12-18-2012, 01:32 AM   #3
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My first instrument- cello- was fretless. I also have a fretless AE bass.

I SO want a fretless guitar. Been wanting one- specifically the Vigier Surfreter- since I first heard Shawn Lane use one.

Alas, haven't gotten around to that yet...
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Old 12-18-2012, 02:11 AM   #4
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Last edited by jeleopard : 12-18-2012 at 02:13 AM.
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Old 12-18-2012, 03:02 AM   #5
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i wanted a fretless to utilize the smooth sound and such. Ripped the frets out filled them and tried to do the epoxy resin on the fretboard. maybe it was human error but the epoxy really just made it sticky and gross feeling. if you can do it and get it down cool beans but yeah man do what you do. fretless is a fun place to go
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Old 12-18-2012, 03:03 AM   #6
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I want a fretless piano.
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Old 12-18-2012, 03:35 AM   #7
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i have a very cheap classical guitar that the fret work on it was horrible i tried to fix it but it turned out easier for me too just rip the frets of and lower the nut some

not its a very cheap fretles clasical guitar

its fun to play with but had pretty crappy sustain
i do want a fretless electric guitar maybe add a sustainer to it and have some violin like playing to it at least how i imagine it
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Old 12-18-2012, 04:33 AM   #8
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If the fretboard is rosewood then why just not rip out those frets and fill it with maple/bright coloured wood for the reference where the notes are?!
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Old 12-18-2012, 04:38 AM   #9
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I was thinking that myself.
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Old 12-18-2012, 04:40 AM   #10
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Bumblefoot is awesome, to me he is the pioneer of fretless
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Old 12-18-2012, 06:47 AM   #11
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^ That sounds ****ing terrible.

I play fretless bass, because I slide a lot on the bass and fretless gives it a very omnipresent sound, which I believe is an important quality of bass (I play prog/death metal).

I don't think that quality is really important for guitar, and more importantly microtones are just generally very unpleasant when used in western music.
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Old 12-18-2012, 01:04 PM   #12
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Bumblefoot HAS done better.

For my money, Shawn Lane was the best fretless guitar player I know of. But, as if to support your claim, much of what he played with his fretless was Eastern influenced.
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Old 12-18-2012, 01:18 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dannyalcatraz
Bumblefoot HAS done better.

I know, I am a huge fan, I actually just linked the first video I found

How bout this: (Offworld give it a chance )

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Old 12-18-2012, 01:20 PM   #14
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I recently removed the frets from my classical. it's really fun to play
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Old 12-19-2012, 03:30 PM   #15
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I've been playing fretless for about a year now and love it!

Here's a sample:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZMkuSc8v8Q


Cheers,

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Old 12-19-2012, 07:12 PM   #16
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There is a whole subculture of guitarists who specialize in the fretless guitar:

http://www.unfretted.com/loader.php...ofs/eddi_tuning

Ron Thal (a.k.a. Bumblefoot) is probably the best known fretless guitar player, but others have made their mark, too.
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Old 12-19-2012, 07:39 PM   #17
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Steve Vai, Shawn Lane, Michael "Atonal" Vick...
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Old 12-20-2012, 12:08 PM   #18
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Very hard to intonate jazz chords properly on a fretless guitar. For single notes, it has certain unique advantages. One of which is the capability to sound tooth-curling awful when you are ALMOST placing your fingers perfectly!
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Old 09-25-2013, 06:49 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VSLO@velocity.n
I've been playing fretless for about a year now and love it!

Here's a sample:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZMkuSc8v8Q


Cheers,

Vinny Stefanelli


Hey Vinny, that's awesome!

Also, I wanted to share this with everyone. It's a fretless classical guitar played in Middle Eastern style (well mostly Turkish style). It blows my mind.

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Old 09-25-2013, 07:57 PM   #20
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