#1
Hey i was wondering a couple things about making a fretted guitar fretless.

1. How do you do it?

2. Does it affect playing, and how?

3. Does it change the sound?

4(like 2 extended). Is is harder to play?

5. Does it enable lower action and/or completely eradicate fret buzz?

please help by answering any of the 5 questions as i am looking into a transition from a fretted to a fretless. i cant google because atm im at a military boarding school and there are only a few sites allowed.
If a mortal stands before us
Strike him down with sleight of hand.
And if heaven rides against us
Then God himself must be damned.


Computer Science major! Apple enthusiast!
I wear Vibrams and type with Dvorak!
#3
1. Same scale length, no frets.
2. It's harder to figure out where to play, so your playing might not be in tune.
3. Not sure.
4. At first until you get used to having no frets.
5.If it's fretless, how can there be fret buzz?
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#4
I can't see any advantages to having a fretless guitar, I think it would be waaay harder to play as you only have wood and your finger for notes. You would have to buy a new fretless neck (try eBay)
#5
from Wikipedia (fretless guitar article, under "advantages and disadvantages")

"Fretless guitars are not constrained with particular musical tunings, tuning systems or temperaments, as is the case with fretted instruments. This facilitates the playing of music in other than 12-tone scales; these scales are typically found in non-Western or experimental music. Fretless guitars produce a different sound than their fretted counterparts as well, because the fingertip is relatively soft (compared to a fret) and absorbs energy from the vibrating string much faster. The result is that the pizzicato on a fretless guitar has a more damped sound.

However, playing a fretless instrument usually requires much more training of the fretting hand for exact positioning and shifts, and more ear training to discern the minute differences in intonation that fretless instruments permit. To make this easier, many fretless guitars and basses have lines in place of frets and side position markers (dots or lines), indicating half-tone increments.

Acoustic fretless guitars produce less volume than their fretted counterparts, which is usually addressed by the use of pickups and amplification. Fretless bass guitars, which have much heavier strings and a bigger body, are also typically amplified.

On fretless basses the fingerboard is usually made of a hard wood, such as ebony. To reduce fingerboard wear from round-wound strings a coat of epoxy may be applied. Other strings, such as flat-wound, ground wound or nylon tape-wound strings, can also be used to reduce fingerboard wear."
Quote by bi-ah!
this is UG
of course they're going to say
0H it'5 @ jAcK50l\l!??!?!
iT i5 TeH p\/\/naG3!!!

but yeah its fine
#6
Quote by black-sabbath
1. Same scale length, no frets.
2. It's harder to figure out where to play, so your playing might not be in tune.
3. Not sure.
4. At first until you get used to having no frets.
5.If it's fretless, how can there be fret buzz?


what about action?

and i mean if a fretless guitar is better once you get used to it how come not everyone does it?
If a mortal stands before us
Strike him down with sleight of hand.
And if heaven rides against us
Then God himself must be damned.


Computer Science major! Apple enthusiast!
I wear Vibrams and type with Dvorak!
#7
1. You take the frets out, pretty much. Epoxy is usually employed in covered the cracks left. Then you have to resin it so the fretboard wood becomes more resistant, since it's going to be in straight contact with the strings.

2. Well, the obvious thing is, you won't have frets. You'll have to watch your intonation tightly.

3. It becomes rather mellow.

5. You want fret buzz without even having frets?
#9
Quote by VertigodowN
watd u do to go to bording school bro?


i got caught with weed at my old school and the only way out of juvy was to get accepted to riverside military academy.

www.cadet.com if you want more details lol
If a mortal stands before us
Strike him down with sleight of hand.
And if heaven rides against us
Then God himself must be damned.


Computer Science major! Apple enthusiast!
I wear Vibrams and type with Dvorak!
#10
you do not have to buy a fretless neck. you can take some claw pliers and rip each fret out without and problems.

but you dont wanna do that. it sucks.
#11
Quote by CanCan
1. You take the frets out, pretty much. Epoxy is usually employed in covered the cracks left. Then you have to resin it so the fretboard wood becomes more resistant, since it's going to be in straight contact with the strings.

2. Well, the obvious thing is, you won't have frets. You'll have to watch your intonation tightly.

3. It becomes rather mellow.

5. You want fret buzz without even having frets?



no i hate fret buzz... mainly that question was about the action
If a mortal stands before us
Strike him down with sleight of hand.
And if heaven rides against us
Then God himself must be damned.


Computer Science major! Apple enthusiast!
I wear Vibrams and type with Dvorak!
#12
Quote by GODhimself37
Hey i was wondering a couple things about making a fretted guitar fretless.

1. How do you do it?

2. Does it affect playing, and how?

3. Does it change the sound?

4(like 2 extended). Is is harder to play?

5. Does it enable lower action and/or completely eradicate fret buzz?

please help by answering any of the 5 questions as i am looking into a transition from a fretted to a fretless. i cant google because atm im at a military boarding school and there are only a few sites allowed.


From my limited knowledge:

1. If it were me, I would heat each fret with a High Power soldering iron, then use flat faced nips to pull the fret out.
Then I would get some contrasting veneer (hard maple etc) and epoxy those into the fret slots and sand them flush while maintaining the correct radius.
Then I would either replace, or re-cut the nut, so that the strings just buzz when played open.

2. Yes it affects playing, though if you follow the steps above, then you will still have fret markers across the board.

3. Fretless guitars, buzz. But that is part of the sound, though I wouldn't choose to do it.

4. I should think so.

5. Yes low action. They buzz, but it isn't the same sound as it would be on metal frets.
Last edited by Skeet UK at Jan 20, 2009,
#13
Quote by GODhimself37
i got caught with weed at my old school and the only way out of juvy was to get accepted to riverside military academy.

www.cadet.com if you want more details lol



You're in there for some weed? Thats BS!
#14
Quote by DILtron3000
You're in there for some weed? Thats BS!


lol well it was good ****... and it was my second offense with the law
If a mortal stands before us
Strike him down with sleight of hand.
And if heaven rides against us
Then God himself must be damned.


Computer Science major! Apple enthusiast!
I wear Vibrams and type with Dvorak!
#15
1. I took the frets off of my crappy epi les paul(I have 7 guitars it's not like i needed another fretted les paul laying around).

I just took a pair of channel lock pliers to it and was careful not to hit the fretboard with the plyers and dent it.

I saved the one or two small pieces of fret board that came off and I put epoxy in the holes left by the frets(I put the small pices back on with epoxy too)

Then I sanded the whole fretboard so that it was all smooth(you may need a profile block for this I already had one laying around.)

I went to the local guitar store and bought some flat wound strings and put them on and then adjusted the action and truss rod just a little bit. With out the frets, the fretboard and neck shift a little bit which is why you need to adjust the truss rod.
YMMV


2. It does affect playing because you need to fret the note right on the line where the fret should be/used to be. If you don't you just sound out of tune. To play some open chords where you stack fingers on top of eachother E major or A minor(basic examples) you will need to relearn your fretting technique for. Barre chords are also really hard but not impossible, you're barre finger on your fretting hand will have to be able to fret exactly across all of the strings you need to barre and if you're a little bit off your chord will sound out of tune(if you want to know why i'll explain it in a little more detail)

3. Your notes will die out a little more quickly because the string is viberating against your soft finger and not the hard fret. There is a technique called the "nail stop" where you use your finger nail to fret the note and milk out just a little bit more sustain.
And as with any guitar if you put flat wounds on it it will sound a lot more mellow.

4. Yes most definatly it is harder to play. If you are good at ear training and have perfect pitch or close to perfect pitch you will be playing the fretless guitar just like a fretted in about a month, if you have niether of those traits it may take alot longer.

5. you can lower your action rediculously low because there are no frets but it depends on how your guitar body and neck are set up and adjusted.
There is no such thing as fret buzz on a fretless it's more like 'slapping against the neck buzz.' If wanting to get rid of fret buzz is your only reason for switching to a fretless then there are better and easier ways to get rid of it.

For more info on fretless guitars you may want to try unfretted.com you can try to get there on your schools internet, but there are no gurantees from me.
Last edited by pk1802 at Jan 20, 2009,
#16
I'd imagine it'd be like playing an electric cello, albeit a totally different tone.

It's much harder to play in tune with no frets.
#17
Quote by GODhimself37


and i mean if a fretless guitar is better once you get used to it how come not everyone does it?


Who said it was better? You get used to the lack of frets, that's about it.

It'll produce a tone that fretted guitars can't (and vice versa), it will initially be harder to play and you might not like the fretless tone.
#18
Yes you can have redicusly low action but it depends on how low your action will go in the first place.
Hearing about a pair of great boobs is like hearing about a really cool bug or lizard as a kid and you just gotta see it.
#19
oh, and on another thing, there are no tabs for fretless songs, so if your an avid tab used you may not be able to learn anything more than the songs you are learning already. And even in standard notation most songs that utalize half-tones or micro-tones will look pretty confusing.