mattrusso
Registered User
Join date: Jul 2012
615 IQ
#1
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.
jeleopard
Jackson Fanboy!
Join date: Apr 2011
1,720 IQ
#2
Guthrie Govan plays fretless >.>

I'll play a fretless (but marked) bass, but not guitar.
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dannyalcatraz
Black Cherry Jello
Join date: Dec 2008
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#3
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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alhaq369
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jeleopard
Jackson Fanboy!
Join date: Apr 2011
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#4
Legion!
Original 1969 Fender Jazzmaster
Ibanez RG8
Jackson JS32R Dinky "Curry"
Schecter KM7
83 Gibson Explorer "Kimmy"
MiM Fender Jazz Bass "Pancho"
Ibanez SR485
Peavey 6505+ 112
Line 6 POD HD500
Last edited by jeleopard at Dec 18, 2012,
cripple perc
Registered User
Join date: Jun 2010
23 IQ
#5
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
Eppicurt
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Join date: Aug 2008
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#6
I want a fretless piano.
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supersac
Tab Contributor
Join date: Aug 2009
630 IQ
#7
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
Elderer
UG Member
Join date: Dec 2011
1,208 IQ
#8
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?!
dannyalcatraz
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Join date: Dec 2008
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#9
I was thinking that myself.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!


alhaq369
It is very impotent to success a business.
Offworld92
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Join date: Nov 2009
7,563 IQ
#11
^ 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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dannyalcatraz
Black Cherry Jello
Join date: Dec 2008
3,265 IQ
#12
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.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!


alhaq369
It is very impotent to success a business.
Tempoe
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Join date: Oct 2008
2,511 IQ
#14
I recently removed the frets from my classical. it's really fun to play
FatalGear41
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Join date: Oct 2009
1,381 IQ
#16
There is a whole subculture of guitarists who specialize in the fretless guitar:

http://www.unfretted.com/loader.php?LINK=/profs/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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dannyalcatraz
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Join date: Dec 2008
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#17
Steve Vai, Shawn Lane, Michael "Atonal" Vick...
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!


alhaq369
It is very impotent to success a business.
phank
Registered User
Join date: Mar 2008
33 IQ
#18
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!