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I can't seem to find any FRETLESS Guitars?

Postby DigDug » Thu Oct 15, 2020 12:45 am

If you google fretless guitars. There's not a lot that come up if any?
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Re: I can't seem to find any FRETLESS Guitars?

Postby zenguitar » Thu Oct 15, 2020 1:17 am

OK...

Clearly, you know what you have in mind, but it really would help if you gave us the same context.

Fretless bass guitars are quite common, I'm a few meters away from a very nice Wal. But when it come to guitars, fretless is rather niche. Difficult to play chords accurately, and bugger all sustain. With over 4 decades of experience I struggle to recall any acoustic fretless guitars, and only Vigier have a long track record with electrics. Although I do have a nagging memory of a boutique maker in the 90's with a fretless guitar with a brass fretboard.

The comparison is the violin, but it works well as a fretless instrument because bowing puts a LOT more energy into the string than picking/strumming.

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Re: I can't seem to find any FRETLESS Guitars?

Postby DigDug » Thu Oct 15, 2020 1:47 am

Sorry. Whenever i mean bass i usually say bass.
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Re: I can't seem to find any FRETLESS Guitars?

Postby ef37a » Thu Oct 15, 2020 6:09 am

There was a guy on telly (One Show? Look East?) a few weeks ago who had a fretless electric which was given to him by a member of a famous band. Stones?

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Re: I can't seem to find any FRETLESS Guitars?

Postby The Korff » Thu Oct 15, 2020 6:57 am

Funny you should ask; in the next issue of SOS our executive editor Paul White talks about how he made one. Here's the relevant bit:

One of my more successful lockdown experiments was to convert an old Epiphone Les Paul Junior into a  fretless guitar, specifically so I  could play it using an eBow without the limitations imposed by chromatic frets. It took about 10 minutes to remove the old frets, half an hour to replace them with slivers of plastic cut from a  plant pot marker, and five more minutes to run superglue either side of them to hold them in place. When the glue had hardened, I  sanded the whole fingerboard using abrasive paper fixed to the edge of a long spirit level so the plastic fret markers could be seen but not felt. I  restrung the guitar, recut the nut, and in a  little over an hour I was playing with my new toy.
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Re: I can't seem to find any FRETLESS Guitars?

Postby Music Wolf » Thu Oct 15, 2020 7:14 am

ef37a wrote:There was a guy on telly (One Show? Look East?) a few weeks ago who had a fretless electric which was given to him by a member of a famous band. Stones?

Dave.

Was it possible The Beatles?

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-sussex-54530839
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Re: I can't seem to find any FRETLESS Guitars?

Postby BJG145 » Thu Oct 15, 2020 9:20 am

Godin used to make some nice fretless acoustics...can't find them now, perhaps they're discontinued.

Aditya Balani is great with these.

https://youtu.be/LYm-npWH0kE
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Re: I can't seem to find any FRETLESS Guitars?

Postby CS70 » Thu Oct 15, 2020 10:21 am

There are a few, for example, Vigier has one

http://www.vigierguitars.com/catalog/in ... &id_lang=1

And they can be put to good use:

https://youtu.be/7BDgDoPwuy0?t=36
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Re: I can't seem to find any FRETLESS Guitars?

Postby shufflebeat » Thu Oct 15, 2020 11:40 am

I seem to remember a Steinberger 6 string with a stepped neck instead of frets which was going to be the future (spoiler - it wasn't).

...or was this some cheese induced nightmare?
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Re: I can't seem to find any FRETLESS Guitars?

Postby zenguitar » Thu Oct 15, 2020 11:59 am

Certainly not cheese related, but not Steinberger. You might be thinking of the Bond Electraglide.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bond_Electraglide

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Re: I can't seem to find any FRETLESS Guitars?

Postby desmond » Thu Oct 15, 2020 12:10 pm

zenguitar wrote:You might be thinking of the Bond Electraglide.

Well, that was "sort of" fretless. I have a few reviews of that up, and I think another is coming in the next few issues I'm processing. It had a weird zigzag type thing, so it still sort of had frets...

(Check me out on my vintage guitar knowledge!)
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Re: I can't seem to find any FRETLESS Guitars?

Postby Martin Walker » Thu Oct 15, 2020 4:14 pm

zenguitar wrote:But when it come to guitars, fretless is rather niche. Difficult to play chords accurately, and bugger all sustain.

Now it's very strange that this thread should start up today, as I was only playing this YouTube video of Matthias Eklund (of Freak Kitchen) a few minutes ago, where he takes a solo on a fretless guitar.

Jump in at 1:37 to hear him in action (personally I love it, although as expected there are no chords ;)):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3bauBwyjek


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Re: I can't seem to find any FRETLESS Guitars?

Postby SecretSam » Fri Oct 16, 2020 7:59 am

I have a fretless bass. You can quickly get to the point where you play it reliably in tune up to about the twelfth fret. For higher registers it takes a lot more work; possibly because a small positioning error has a relatively large effect.

A lot of fretless players use chorus or detune effects. Only a cynic (me, for example) would suggest that this is to cover up any approximate intonation.

Fretless guitar? Good luck! But it will be an interesting new texture if you can make it go.
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Re: I can't seem to find any FRETLESS Guitars?

Postby John Egan » Fri Oct 16, 2020 9:26 am

SecretSam wrote:I have a fretless bass. You can quickly get to the point where you play it reliably in tune up to about the twelfth fret. For higher registers it takes a lot more work; possibly because a small positioning error has a relatively large effect.

A lot of fretless players use chorus or detune effects. Only a cynic (me, for example) would suggest that this is to cover up any approximate intonation.

Fretless guitar? Good luck! But it will be an interesting new texture if you can make it go.

I did look very hard at a Godin Glissentar some time ago, but I didn't think I would find it sufficiently useful. I decided to make more use of slide playing instead. Though when I listen to players like Joey Landreth. I am almost ashamed of my efforts.
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Re: I can't seem to find any FRETLESS Guitars?

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri Oct 16, 2020 2:06 pm

SecretSam wrote:I have a fretless bass. You can quickly get to the point where you play it reliably in tune up to about the twelfth fret. For higher registers it takes a lot more work; possibly because a small positioning error has a relatively large effect.

A lot of fretless players use chorus or detune effects. Only a cynic (me, for example) would suggest that this is to cover up any approximate intonation.

I've often wondered if that's why opera singers effect such extreme vibrato :D

I find intonation on electric upright bass easier than fretless electric bass guitar for that reason
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